The One-Way Video Interview

Megan Saunders

Welcome to my blog compilation! My name is Eryn Cohen, and I’m currently a fourth-year student at UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce. I also work for the UVA Career Center as a Career Peer Educator (CPE), helping support other students through their professional development journeys. 

Over the past few years, we’ve started seeing more and more companies incorporate the one-way video interview in their interview process. This has only become more popular as the pandemic has limited face-to-face interaction. Also, with larger quantities of applicants applying every year, the one-way video interview allows companies to interview a greater portion of the applicant pool. While the one-way video interview is a different kind of assessment tool, there is nothing to fear. With the right preparation beforehand, you’ll be able to ace it just like any other interview.



What is a one-way video interview?

You can think of a one-way video interview as a pre-recorded interview. After you’ve submitted your application, companies that are interested in your candidacy may send you a link to complete a video interview, where there is no interviewer on the other side of the camera. These usually occur within the first round of interviews.

During a one-way video interview, you are prompted with a question. You usually get about 30 seconds to prepare what you’re going to say, and then you’ll have about 1-3 minutes to record your answer, depending on the question. Companies typically have you answer about 3-8 of these questions in one sitting. Depending on the company, you may be allowed to re-record an answer, but don’t bank on it!

How is the one-way video interview assessed?

You may have heard about the artificial intelligence (AI) technology a one-way video interview utilizes, but this is not always the case. Often, companies just want a basic recording, which they’ll assess just as they would an in-person interview. However, a company may employ AI technology, which could analyze things like facial expressions, tone of voice, eye movements, word choice, etc.

Although this adds an extra layer of algorithmic complexity, don’t be deterred! Below are some helpful tips and general benefits to the one-way video interview form of interview.

After submitting my one-way video interview, how long will it take until I hear back?

Because one-way videos are usually used during earlier rounds, it may take the employer more time to evaluate the entire candidate pool. Usually, the company will get back to you within a week or two, but it may take up to a month or longer. It’s recommended that you give the company about two weeks before following up with a recruiter to ask about your candidacy.

Top 8 Tips: How to Ace the One-Way Video Interview

  1. Practice Your Elevator Pitch

In almost every interview, you’ll be asked to introduce yourself by responding to questions such as “Tell me about yourself” and “Walk me through your resume.” This is your chance to provide some background information on yourself and start indicating how your experience would be a good fit for the company.

This type of question is challenging because it forces you to whittle down your story to only the most important details about yourself. In a one-way video interview, it’s even more imperative that you structure this in advance, since you will face a strict time limit.

You can practice your virtual interview skills with this Elevator Pitch Review Tool that uses VMock. You’ll be asked to record a practice Elevator Pitch, and then the program will provide you with instant feedback using its proprietary technology.


  1. Know the Company

Before recording the one-way video interview, you should research the company and the role. You may be asked some technical questions on the type of work they do or the product they sell, and you should be as prepared as possible. Also, you’ll likely get the “Why this company?” question, and you should be able to provide specific details that showcase your genuine interest.

Networking with people from the company beforehand will definitely help you understand the kind of culture the company has. You may even want to ask the people you network with if they have any advice on how to approach the one-way video interview. These insights will definitely help you in preparing for your one-way video interview.

The Virginia Alumni Mentoring Program is an excellent resource that you can use to find contacts that work in industries or at firms that interest you.

Also, you can check out the Hoos in your Network, Business & Technology series on Youtube to learn more strategies related to networking

  1. Look, Smile, Pause

Even if the company isn’t using AI technology, it’s important to present yourself well on camera. Look at the camera as often as you can; it will definitely be concerning if you’re staring at the floor the entire time. If there’s an option to, you may want to hide the picture of yourself on the screen. This will help you look directly at the camera instead of fixating on your appearance. Also, smile! If you’re excited about interviewing for this company, a smile—along with a positive attitude—will show it. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to take short pauses. It’s tempting to use filler words such as “um” and “like,” but if you can instead remember to simply pause, you’ll come off as confident, polished, and composed.

  1. Answer the Question at Hand

This can be challenging, especially when you get asked a question that you didn’t expect. However, the AI technology may look for you to say certain words or phrases in your answer if they are pertinent to addressing the question well. It may help to pause for a few seconds to collect your thoughts and consider what you want the main points of your answer to be beforehand.

  1. Find a Comfortable, Quiet Spot to Record

This may be an obvious one, but it’s important nonetheless. Plan in advance where and when you’re going to record so you can alert your roommates or anyone else who might interfere. It’s also crucial to find a spot with limited noise and good lighting (natural lighting if possible). You may want to invest in a microphone as well, but it’s definitely not required.

  1. Dress to Impress

Although you may not be going anywhere or meeting anyone directly, it’s still important to dress professionally. Depending on the company, you’ll likely need to wear either business casual or business professional attire. If the company you’re interviewing for doesn’t tell you the type of attire required, you can certainly reach out and ask your recruiter.

On top of any company requirements, wearing formal clothes can actually make you feel more confident! If you’re wearing pajamas and recording the one-way video interview in your bedroom, it’s likely that you’ll feel more lethargic. However, if you’re dressed formally, you’ll be reminded to present yourself professionally and exude the confidence that your outfit shows.

  1. Practice Your Answers and Time Yourself

You may be able to re-record your answers, but it’s equally possible that it’ll be a one-and-done kind of deal. What you do have control over, however, is the amount you practice ahead of time. 

Record yourself answering some practice questions, and then spend time self-critiquing the video. Take note of things such as how many filler words you use, whether you’re making eye contact with the camera, and if you’re speaking slowly and confidently. You may also want to send the video to your friends and ask them to provide constructive feedback. Do whatever it takes for you to become acclimated to this style of interview.

Additionally, make sure to be cognizant of the time. Most of your answers should fall around one to two minutes long, but the one-way video interview will impose even stricter time limits. Practice by answering the same question under different time limits. This will train you to be flexible and to understand the most important takeaways from your answer.

For a list of sample interview questions, the UVA Career Center provides them here.

  1. Be Yourself

Although the AI technology might be intimidating, definitely don’t let it deter you from being your genuine self. Looking directly at the camera and making sure you sound enthusiastic may not be things you’re quite used to, but you can incorporate this advice while still being authentically you. Channel your passion and enthusiasm about the company you’re interviewing for into all of your answers, and be excited about the story you’re telling. Even for companies that use AI technology, it’s likely that an actual employee will view your one-way video interview as well. Don’t just worry about impressing the technology; focus instead on capturing what makes you unique.