VCV: what is a video interview and how to prepare for it?

A VCV video interview is becoming a crucial preliminary selection stage in many top companies. For example, Russia's largest bank, Sberbank, uses it as part of its recruitment process. But don't rush to google "VCV": it's still a very new tool, so you'll only find a couple of links. That's not the main point, however. It's hard even to find a guide on conducting the video interview, and that's why we offer this article, so that you can learn firsthand. We are here to share our expertise, give advice and answer the most popular questions. Let's start!
| HR Tips & Tools
Apr 5, 2020
What are we talking about?
More and more employers are starting to implement video interviews via VCV to their recruitment process. Each candidate receives an invitation to the platform, where he/she should answer the questions. This can be done anytime, from any place and any device. The answers are recorded and automatically sent to the HR manager.

Our service differs from a live online interview. During our video interview you do not directly communicate with a recruiter — it's a monologue. Think of it as recording your resume and sending it to a potential future employer.
Why do I need it?
To save time — you don't have to go to an office for a meeting. Also, it saves time for HR managers — they can select candidates faster. In case a telephone interview is needed it'll be short and to the point, because the recruiter has all the information and can already imagine your communication style.

Remember: a video interview is not a personal conversation.
How does it work?
The HR manager sends you a letter with a link that can be opened on a PC, tablet or mobile phone. By following the link, you'll go to the page with the job description and interview. At first, the platform will prompt you to check the camera and microphone. After that, you can answer the questions. The recording will start only at your command.

An employer can change the interview structure. Sometimes it allows you to get acquainted with the questions and only then record the answer. Usually, however, employers don't give you a chance to see the questions in advance, and there is limited preparation time, for example, 15 seconds. After you press "See the question," the recording will start when the slated time runs out. Response time for every question is also limited — from 1 to 3 minutes on average.
What does the HR manager want to see in my video?
HR managers know that any candidate can soon become their colleague. Thus, the first thing they'll pay attention to is your personality. They are also expecting that a candidate can think structurally, speak logically, as well as clearly and to the point.
What kind of questions should I expect?
Questions depend on the company and the job position. Most likely you'll have to tell about:

  • Motivation;
  • Reasons for wanting the position and department;
  • Skills and abilities.
How to answer each category of questions?
It is crucial to show strong interest in the position, the company and the industry. A suitable candidate knows what he/she can get from the job and contribute to a company. You should clearly understand the specifics of the chosen field: what the company does, its mission and what products and services it offers.

"X" is a prestigious company with a good office close to a metro station.
"X" is a leader in the FMCG field. Your products change people's lives for the better. I want to be a part of it.
Reasons for choosing the position and company
While answering questions about a chosen position, show that you know what the company and that particular department does. Study the details and differences from other departments in this company, as well as competitors. It's important that answers reflect reality and not your expectations.

Your company produces so many useful products that help people. I love what you do. I am sure that I can be great in marketing, internal communications or another department.
I want to work in pharmacy marketing. In order to promote this type of product, one needs to contact the heads of hospitals and present the products to them. My parents are doctors, I have been close to the medical sphere since childhood. This will help me to build effective communication with clients.
Skills and abilities
Tell the recruiter about the skills that are relevant for the job. Be as precise as possible, don't use clichés and do not mention things that you cannot do. Back up the story with examples of how you've in the past utilized these skills.

I'm dynamic, creative and passionate about my work. I'm experienced with Excel, and incredibly flexible.
I am an advanced Excel and pivot table user. I like working with numbers and finding correlations between them. I love challenging tasks and handle stressful situations easily. I implemented three projects for "X" company and will be happy to tell you about my work.
Is there a checklist for preparation?
Yes, here you go:
    • Go through all the questions above. You won't be able to give a structured answer in 15-40 seconds during an interview if you haven't done that beforehand.
    • Learn more about the company, its market segment, clients, services and products. Go through available statistics. You should clearly understand how the company differs from its competitors.
    • Figure out which job position you want. Learn what the department does. Think what skills you will have to develop to deal with the tasks and which you already have.
    • Rehearse your answers and record yourself. Go back and watch it, and then make some changes. Make your speech logical and confident. It's important that you like the way you talk and what you say.
    • Think about the outfit. Don't wear a full business suit, but don't relax too much.
    • Choose a nice background. The best option is a plain wall.
    • Show interest in the job, but don't overdo it. Don't put the company's product and posters with their logo in front of the camera.
    • Record the video when there is no one in the room. Children, parents or pets should not distract you or appear in the video.
    What does a perfect candidate look like?
    No one can answer this question except employers themselves. That's what Danone Employer Branding Manager Irina Shishkova says:

    "To successfully pass the VCV stage in Danone, a candidate must be sincere and open. For example, we were going through a video response from a candidate who studied all our financial reports and used a tablet with the Danone logo. This person did a great job, but it was a little too much. You don't have to do that.

    First of all, we pay attention to how a person thinks and presents his arguments. Banal responses like, 'I want to work in Danone because it's a big company', definitely annoy us. The same is applicable for the question 'Who inspires you?' Almost all candidates say it's Steve Jobs, but when an applicant says that it's his mom who inspires, then you start believing him.

    The main advice I'd give to applicants going through the VCV stage — be yourself. Don't think what an employer expects from you, especially while recording. 'What are they going to think? Am I saying the right things?' — your inside monologue is always apparent on video. And most of the time it becomes a reason for rejection."
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