Disability and video interviews

Catherine Alexander, careers adviser here at the Careers Service, shares her best advice on video interviews and adjustments

Video interviews happen in two main formats:

• One way (sometimes called asynchronous) – you record your answers to pre-set questions and they can be evaluated later
• Two way – there is a person at the other end asking the questions and your responses are recorded on video for later evaluation

Increasingly they are used as part of an early screening process in some sectors and only shortlisted candidates are invited to travel to an assessment centre. This is cost and time effective for both organisation and student.

However, for students with some disabilities video interviews can be particularly difficult and you might want to ask for adjustments.

Positives of video interviews

• Reduces the stress of organising logistics and travelling to an organisation until you have got through to a face to face interview
• You can put notes prompting you around your screen – obviously keep these out of the video and don’t shuffle them or look at them too much
• Some people with disability prefer communicating via phone or video rather than face to face.

However, for people with some disabilities video interviewing can add difficulties above and beyond the usual interview nerves that everyone feels.

Adjustments for video interviews

Most pre-recorded interviews give a limited amount of time to answer (30-90 seconds), the time counts down visibly in front of you and you will be cut off at the allotted time.

Additional time – If your disability means you need additional time to process information, think it through and answer this is something that is generally just naturally absorbed in a face to face interview. In a time limited video interview the extra time you need has to be more formally provided as a adjustment. If an organisation cannot adjust the time on the video software then ask to be interviewed by phone or in a two way video with extra time factored in.

If you have a stammer again you may need extra time built into the video technology.

Visible difference – some people with a visible difference have heightened anxiety about being video recorded. Before you complete a video interview, the organisation should have made you aware of what will happen to the recording, how it will be stored, who in the organisation will see it and when it will be deleted. If knowing these processes and being comfortable with them isn’t enough to reduce such anxiety you can ask to be interviewed by phone instead.

Video interviews are sometimes assessed by computer algorithm which assesses things like facial movements as well as what you say. Some disabilities mean that you may not move your face as much as other people and would therefore be at a disadvantage. Find out in advance how a video will be assessed, if you believe this will discriminate against you discuss it with the organisation.

Access Shortlist.Me via the Careers Service website, anytime

But I don’t know what I need?

If you haven’t experienced a video interview before you might not be aware of what adjustments you need. Have a practice with Shortlist.Me on the Careers Service website. Make notes of anything you find difficult specifically because of your disability. Are there adjustments that could be made to negate these extra issues? You can talk to a Careers Adviser about this if you need to.

The more you practice the more comfortable you will become with this format of interviewing.

Your first go at a video interview shouldn’t be the real thing!

Preparing for the video interview

There are lots of tips about how to interact with a computer screen: where to look, what’s in the background etc. that will help you come across as more confident and engaging:

  • Catch up with an employer led session on Tips and Techniques for video interviews
  • Read our blog post of preparing for video interview
  • Shortlist me video interview practice
  • Advice on setting up your video or skype interview
  • Careers Service resources on preparing for interviews generally

Help us find out more…

Video interviewing is a fairly new development in recruitment. If you have an experience of a video interview and had a technique or adjustment that really worked for you please let us know, as it may help us advise others in the future. Good luck in your interviews – video or otherwise!

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