Retail video interviews: what to expect and how to succeed
Video interviews can be daunting but our tips will help you to prepare most effectively and present yourself in the best light.
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.
Many retailers are replacing in-person assessment centres (which often include a further interview) with virtual versions while the pandemic continues, so practising speaking into a laptop and setting up your tech at the earlier video interview stage should ease your nerves during this later stage.
You can practise interviews using the resources available from our partners Shortlist.Me.
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. 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.
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.
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.
For more examples of different questions and advice on how to answer them, read our article on the questions to expect in retail graduate interviews.
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 might help get you into a professional mindset. You should also think about how your body language and facial expressions come across to recruiters. For a position in retail, it's important to come across as friendly and confident to customers and colleagues, so start with a smile, look directly into the webcam and sit up straight.
- 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.