Why video interviews suck | Graduate Diaries

Being a graduate is tough.

Really tough.

So far, over thirty applications have left my email inbox, be they for grad schemes, internships, or regular jobs. Nearly all have resulted in rejection. Rejection is awful – really awful – especially when you’ve been handed everything on a silver platter your entire academic life.

Thankfully, there has been some respite. Three of those thirty+ applications have led to interviews. That is a fantastic feeling, isn’t it? Your confidence begins to grow after learning that an employer actually kind of likes the sound of you. That is, until that moment of dread hits, and you realise it’s no regular interview. Oh no, that would be far too easy. You’ve been landed with a video interview.

photography of people graduating

Video interviews are horrible

I have nothing against a good old interview. Unlike most people, there’s a part of me (a small part, obviously) that actually likes them. Whereas the average Joe gets sweaty palms at the thought of speaking to an employer, I just see interviews as a chance to sell myself.

And when you’re already unbelievably egotistical, that’s no big ask.

Normal interviews are fine, because you can use more than just your lips to talk. Schools always encourage us to place our hands coupled on the desk, with a beaming smile across our faces. We meet the interviewer’s eyes with our own, and employ body language signals to indicate our genuine interest in their business.

That’s impossible on a video interview.

Instead, you’ll often be sent an amount of pre-recorded questions, and will be given thirty seconds to read each one. Candidates then receive a generous two minutes to answer in full. Clearly, waffling won’t work, as you’re expected to fill those two minutes with words suited entirely to the job. There’s no room for BS here. There will be no chance for you to employ the usual:

“That’s a really good question.”

“Let me think about that for a second.”

“If I had to choose between all of my achievements, I would say the strongest is…”

Every word must fit the question at-hand. And that’s tough.

adult blur boss business

Video interviews don’t let you do that. There is, however, one positive inherent to video interviews: the dress code. Of course, you’re expected to dress well – that’s a given – but remember: webcams only show the top 30% of your body. For guys, that means dressing in a pressed shirt, suit jacket and matching tie; preferably, one that brings out your best features. The remaining 70%? I challenge you to wear nothing at all. I spent my video interview in shorts, and my one regret was that I was still too hot.

Cut me a break: the heat wave was in full flow, okay?

Silver lining

There’s actually one positive of sending out over thirty applications, and receiving over thirty rejections: it encourages applicants to constantly refine their CVs – to the point where it becomes physically impossible to fit anything else on those two pages. When I started applying to jobs, I thought that my CV was the talk of the town. It was incredibly well-written, with beautifully-created designs that really made it pop. “This is the best CV in the world,” I probably proclaimed.

But with every application, I had to refine it so the document was tailored to the specific job requirements. I altered the skills I highlighted to match the new criteria, and then updated the master copy. It made me realise just how dire the first copy was. God, it was so generic. Now, my CV has never looked better, but I know that there’s still room for improvement.

The moral of the story? Keep working on yourself, your skills and your CV, and you’ll get there; I know I will.

But there’s no changing my stance on video interviews.

Video interviews will always suck.

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