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Retail, buying and merchandising
A man recording his retail video interview

Retail video interviews: what to expect and how to succeed

Next, John Lewis, TK Maxx and Aldi all use video interviews as part of their recruitment process for graduate schemes. If you’ve got a retail video interview coming up, follow our advice on what to expect and how to give your best performance.
In retail, the majority of video interviews used for graduate schemes don’t involve talking directly to an interviewer.

Many retailers use video interviews when recruiting for graduate schemes and entry-level jobs. For graduate schemes, video interviews are normally the second or third stage in the selection process, following the online application and aptitude tests; however, this varies among retailers. Some may use a video interview instead of a telephone interview, but others in addition to one.

How do retailers’ video interviews work?

In retail, the majority of video interviews used for graduate schemes don’t involve talking directly to an interviewer. Instead, candidates typically answer a set of questions that appear on screen. Next, John Lewis and TK Maxx usually use this type of video interview. Candidates may be able to practise their answers before recording them, but during the interview itself there is normally a time limit for each question. Previous Arcadia candidates, for example, have reported having 30 seconds to read each question and then 60 or 90 seconds to give their answer.

What questions should I expect in a retail video interview for a graduate scheme?

A common piece of advice from retailers is that candidates should treat video interviews as they would a first round face-to-face interview. Expect to be asked a range of questions that help retailers find out more about your personality, skills and experience. Aldi, for example, refers to the video interview for their retail area management graduate scheme as the ‘Who am I?’ video. Meanwhile, one of the tips that Arcadia gives to candidates is that they be themselves.

Examples of retailers’ video interview questions

The following questions are examples of likely retail video interview questions. Use them to help you prepare, but don’t rely on these exact questions coming up:

  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • Why do you think you are suited to this role?
  • What challenges do you think our company is facing?
  • Tell us about a time when you demonstrated leadership skills.

Do’s and don’ts for succeeding in a retail video interview

  • DO know the job description.The job description outlines the most important skills required for the job, so you can use it to help you prepare for interview questions about the role. For example, if the job description specifies providing good customer service as a key responsibility, go into the interview with a bank of examples that demonstrate your experience in that area. Interviewers want to know that you understand what the job involves. If you don’t, it suggests a lack of commitment.
  • DON’T speak too quickly. In many retail video interviews your answers are timed, so the temptation may be to rush. However, in most cases you won’t be able to re-record your answers if you stumbled the first time. Rather than launching into a response, try pausing for a moment to slow yourself down. Speaking clearly and composedly will make your answers appear more confident and thoughtful.
  • DO be presentable. Although it’s unlikely that more than your head will be seen during a video interview, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and dress smartly unless told otherwise. This gives a good impression and will help get you into a professional mindset.
  • DON’T get distracted. Being interrupted or distracted during a video interview can really throw you off your stride and look unprofessional. Put all phones and other devices on silent, warn housemates or family not to disturb you and think carefully about what will be in view during the interview; a pile of dirty clothes or an embarrassing picture won’t do you any favours.
  • DO practise.The more you practise the more confident you’ll feel during the real interview. Draw up a list of possible questions and ask friends, family, or a member of your university’s careers service to listen to your answers and give constructive feedback. After that, practise giving your answers directly to your computer. Getting used to the lack of interaction will prevent it feeling strange when you come to the real thing. Look straight into the webcam and remember to smile.
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