Even before the pandemic and lockdown restrictions made them all but essential, many notable property employers made the shift to using video interviews as some point during their application process. These include: BNP Paribas Real Estate, Cushman & Wakefield and JLL.
Across the wider world of recruitment, a 2020 survey carried out by the Institute of Student Employers found that 61% of employers stopped face-to-face interviews as a result of the pandemic, and 19% of employers used automated interviews in the first stage of recruitment and 23% used online video interviews for a final stage in the graduate recruitment process.
What can you expect from a graduate property video interview?
Video interviews can fall into one of two categories:
1. A live video call-style interview, where you will be talking to a recruiter over a system such as Skype or Zoom. Cushman & Wakefield offers the option to conduct the initial face-to-face interview over Skype (as well as in person or over the phone).
2. A video interview using an automated online system that records candidates’ responses to pre-set questions. After being asked a question, you will often be given a short period of time to prepare. Your answers will also have to fit within a time limit. This system has been previously used by BNP Paribas Real Estate and JLL.
Recruiters are keen to point out that candidates should not treat video interviews differently to a face-to-face interview. Kim Charles, head of recruitment at BNP Paribas Real Estate, told TARGETjobs: ‘Recruiters don’t glean any more or less about a candidate’s appearance, skills or personality from doing the video interview compared to a face-to-face interview.’
Property video interview questions: what do they assess?
Video interviews can be used to assess a candidate’s interest in the property industry and their motivations for applying to a particular property firm. Motivation questions have previously been asked during BNP Paribas Real Estate’s video interview.
The best answers to motivation questions are supported by evidence of your knowledge of the firm. You may choose to talk about the firm’s structure, its graduate scheme or its culture, as well as any recent projects or industry news stories the firm has been involved in. Elaborate on why these interest you to provide concrete pieces of evidence to build your answer around.
Other employers use video interviews to assess your strengths, your behaviours and how well you are likely to do in the job. JLL does this by assessing how you would react to a certain scenario. A recruiter at JLL told TARGETjobs previously: ‘The candidates have three minutes to answer each question. The questions assess how they would respond to a problem in a workplace scenario and what they would do to get a desired result.’
Employers are looking to see whether your responses convey the firm’s corporate values. Research the specific values of the employer in question and consider how you would be able to demonstrate them. For example, what action could you take that would show you to be trustworthy and trusted to give ethical advice to client?
Your presentation skills
Video interviews also give recruiters the chance to see your communication and presentation skills in action. As surveyors will frequently need to communicate with clients, who may not be knowledgeable of the property profession, being able to speak with confidence, clarity and authority is important. Make sure your answers follow a clear structure, succinctly answers the questions being asked and are delivered in an engaging manner.
- Hone your video interview skills with these expert performance tips.
- For more tips on preparing for, and presenting yourself during, live video interviews, read our dos and don’ts here.
Why do employers use video interviews?
Recruiters aren’t just switching to video out of necessity because of the pandemic.
It is also convenient, both for the candidates and recruiters.
- Candidates are able to save time and money by not having to travel to a firm’s offices for a face-to-face interview. ‘Candidates have got this tool where they can get as much as out of a face-to-face interview without actually leaving the library or their accommodation,’ says Kim. You may also be able to complete the interview on a tablet or phone. With a pre-recorded video interview you will also be able to choose when to conduct the interview, which can be especially useful if you have to fit the interview around exams and assessments. Kim adds that: ‘Students and graduates tend to be more au fait with technology. I don’t think they are put off by video interviews; they understand that technology is moving on and companies are utilising that.’
- The recruiter we spoke to at JLL explained the recruiters’ perspective: ‘Using video interviews makes sense as our previous application process could be quite time consuming. The process has been streamlined to make it quicker for us and for candidates to hear back from us and receive feedback.’
The JLL recruiter elaborated on a further reason for employers using pre-recorded interviews: ‘The pre-recorded questions give us another way to judge all the candidates fairly. Previously you could never be 100% sure that everybody would be asked the same questions.’