Video Interview Tips

November 26, 2019

Wonder what a pre-recorded interview answer should look like and how you can put your best foot forward? Aidan, Penn State Campus Ambassador at Showcase, will show you how it's done by answering the most common question of all - "tell me about yourself".

Below is an actionable list of things to keep in mind when recording your own answers:

Introduce yourself!

  • To form a connection with the viewer, start by stating your first name, school, major and class, for example: “Hi, I’m Amay, and I’m a junior at The University of Chicago studying Economics”

Restate the question if applicable

  • Companies are able to see the question text prior to and while viewing your video answer. However, we’ve found that referencing the question before diving into your answer helps cement the context.

Speak to the camera, not the screen (this one is hard!)

  • Maintain eye contact with the camera to the best of your ability
  • This may feel awkward - you’ll be naturally inclined to watch yourself speak on screen.
  • To get in the zone, start with the practice question and repeat until you’ve nailed this
  • Eye contact conveys confidence and a greater grasp of the subject matter being tested

Slow down; enunciate

  • Most questions on Showcase can be convincingly answered in fewer than 90 seconds - it’s unlikely that you’ll be forced to speak more quickly than natural.
  • Use the preparation time to think about how you’d like to structure your answer and address key points

Don’t feel pressured to use all of the allotted time

  • Stop recording once you feel that you’ve provided a convincing response
  • Average answer length is question dependent and will eventually be optimized by question
  • However, most strong answers are not shorter than 30 seconds, since you’ll need time to dig into the “why”

Dress for success (in your desired job type)

  • Choose attire that you’d wear your first day on the job. If you’re unsure, err on the side of slightly more formal.
  • You wouldn’t wear a t-shirt to a law firm. Similarly, you wouldn’t wear a suit and tie to a startup.

Record in a quiet place with good lighting and a solid, plain background

  • We recommend finding a library or student center conference room and knocking out all of your answers in one go

Avoid any and all distractions

  • You want companies to focus on the quality of your answers, not the unmade bed in the background or your ringing cell phone

Test your audio via the practice question

  • We often receive high-quality submissions that we cannot approve because they’re barely audible. Take advantage of the practice question and play back your answer to gut check before diving into real questions.

Use our iPhone app to record video answers if possible

  • Front-facing cameras and microphones on newer iPhones are far better than those on laptops. Don’t have an iPhone? Borrow a friend’s! You can buy them a coffee once you have that shiny new job.

Convey enthusiasm!

  • Excitement and charisma are a huge asset - show off that personality!

This may feel unnatural and that's totally expected!

  • During in-person interviews, we get cues from the interviewer that indicate how we should proceed, for example their facial expressions, a nod or their prompting you to elaborate. However, pre-recorded interviews can’t provide this real-time feedback.
  • Own this! Everyone will be on the same footing as you, so no need to worry. Candidates are assessed apples-to-apples.

And yes, you can wear your pajama bottoms to the interview if you like. You got this.