Property video interviews: what you need to know
Video interviews are an increasingly common fixture in property employers’ recruitment processes. Students and graduates looking to enter the property industry may not have encountered video interviews before; get up to speed by finding out what to expect, what recruiters are looking for and what type of questions you may be asked.
Notable property employers that use video interviews include:
Across the wider world of recruitment, a recent survey carried out by the Institute of Student Employers (formerly the Association of Graduate Recruiters) found that 53% of its members used video interviews, compared to just 6% five years ago.
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. Cushman & Wakefield offer 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 is 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 Brumley, resourcing manager 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 are 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 do this by to assessing how you would react to a certain scenario. Luke Lavery, emerging talent acquisition manager at JLL, explains: ‘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. For example, JLL’s values are: courage, trust and agility. 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. Luke says: ‘For us, at all times and across the board, what we look for in particular is structure, content and delivery.’ Make sure your answers follow a clear structure, succinctly answers the questions being asked and are delivered in an engaging manner.
Why do employers use video interviews?
A major reason why recruiters are switching to video interviews is convenience, both from the recruiters’ and the candidates’ perspective.
- 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.
- Luke explains 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.’
Luke elaborates 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.’
Are video interviews here to stay?
Video interviews are being used by many employers and are not solely used for graduate recruitment. As such, your experience of video interviews at this stage may stand you in good stead for the future.
‘BNP Paribas Real Estate didn’t see a decrease in the number or quality of applications at all after introducing video interviews,’ reveals Kim. She adds: ‘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.’