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Get ready for your video interview!

September 04, 2013

A teammate once told me that if you want to make someone feel awkward and self-conscious, make them watch a video of themselves doing pretty much anything. I can personally attest to sitting through hours of video, picking apart subtle mannerisms and body language that threatened my verbal message. Awkwardness was common, and occasionally turned to downright horror! It seems like there is nothing like video to bring out the self-critic in nearly everyone.

Kellogg's application this year requires a video interview. According to Poets and Quants, Kellogg requires you to read and think about your answer within 1-2 minutes, and respond with 1-2 minutes. You are given 3 attempts, but receive a new question each time. 

It’s not just Kellogg!  Video is becoming more common in the b-school application process. The University of Toronto already requires a video interview, and other schools are expected to follow as technology platforms become more robust. This trend is partly driven by changes in available technology, partly by schools seeking differentiation in their applicants, and partly because schools do want to see how candidates handle uncomfortable situations. It is a skill both MBA and job applicants will have to learn to handle, and even master.

Like any complex skill (i.e. sports, musical instruments, etc.) the key to gaining comfort with video is practice, practice, practice. Not just 2-3 times, but constantly. Video is easy to record and erase, so everyone can set up a “home studio” with even just their smartphone’s camera. Each time you review yourself, pick one thing to improve next time, and keep focused on that. While time intensive, this will remove unneeded mannerisms, and make your verbal presentation focused and efficient. The added benefit? It will also make you seem more competent and confident for the 99% of your waking hours when you are not in front of a video camera. Remember, video is only showing you what others already see. The only difference is it makes you aware of any problems.

To guide our clients through preparing for Kellogg and building these skills, we have provided sets of questions online for clients to get practice and build confidence with this format.  This practice will help with “regular” interviews too… indeed we have used this process in previous application cycles to make sure that people have a valuable way to prepare for interviews, get feedback and prepare some more! The sooner you start, and the more you practice, the sooner you can project a more competent and confident image!