How to prepare for a video job application

Cv expert Emma Alkirwi advises on how to make the most of a video application.

Video call communication leader talk to colleagues work from home office wear headphones


In an increasingly digital world, employers are starting to use innovative ways to find the best candidates for their position.

Alongside or instead of sending a traditional CV or Cover Letter, you may be asked to submit a video job application. Video applications help employers get a more dynamic sense of who you are and how you will fit into their team.

There are many benefits for applicants too. Video applications allow you to demonstrate your personality, communication skills and creativity in an engaging way and help you pitch yourself for a role in a more unique manner. You can record your videos in a location of your choosing and practise to get them right.

Types of video applications

Video job application requirements will depend on the position you are applying for. For example, you could be asked to:

  • Deliver a summary of your experience and your motivations behind applying for the role
  • Answer pre-recorded questions relating to the company or position
  • Prepare slides and a presentation on a topic relevant to the role
  • Record a video that demonstrates creative skillsets, such as editing

No matter which of the above you need to prepare, feeling confident on camera will help you to make a great first impression.

Here are our top tips for acing a video job application.

Show your personality

Video applications help employers get to know you. They would much rather you show your personality than give a slick answer with no character.

Keep this in mind when preparing to record your videos – act professional, but don’t be overly formal unless the situation calls for it.

Employers want to understand how you will fit into the wider team, and whether you match the company culture and values. So don’t act like something you’re not.

Briefly introduce yourself before beginning your answer, and don’t forget to smile and use open body language. Look at the camera, as this gives the impression of making eye contact with the viewer. You want to appear personable and warm, not robotic and stiff!

Study the job description

As with any other application, you need to study the job description. In advance of recording your video, make sure you understand what the employer is looking for to determine your most relevant experience, then filter this into the context of the questions.

Make sure you use specific examples and share tangible results, as these will help you stand out in a sea of applicants.

Location, Location, Location

When recording your videos, choose somewhere you feel comfortable. This will help with your nerves!
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Pick somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed
  • Have a neutral background without distractions behind you
  • Ensure the room has a natural light source

You also need to position yourself correctly. Your head and shoulders must be in the frame of the video. Otherwise, you are sitting too close to the camera. Make sure at least your top half is dressed as you normally would for a job interview!

You should also check that the audio isn’t muffled and can be heard clearly in your location.

Practise and prepare

The beauty of a video application is that you can record yourself in advance and watch your answers before submitting them. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare, and you will determine what is working and what isn’t, and you can refine your answer. Check how you sound too, as you may find that nerves are causing you to speak too quickly.

If you are struggling, imagine you are talking to a person to make the situation feel more natural. You could even get someone to record you if having another person in the room makes you feel more confident.

Don’t say too much

With pre-recorded questions, you will usually have a few minutes, at most, to answer the question. Keep your answers focused so you don’t go overboard and get cut off. This is where practice becomes invaluable!

Equally, don’t just fill the space if you feel like you have run out of things to say. Stop talking when your answer is finished. This will appear much more polished than rambling just to run out the timer.

Don’t recite from a script

When on camera, it’s tempting to have your full answer sitting in front of you; that way you’ll remember to say everything and won’t make mistakes.

However, we recommend avoiding this. You will sound mechanical and over-prepared. Looking at your answers means you won’t be looking at the camera, which breaks your connection with the employer.

Keep bullet points close by if needed and use them as a springboard for your talking points. But practice makes perfect, so trust yourself – your answers will flow more naturally as a result.

We hope this blog has helped you feel more confident about submitting a video job application! Job hunting can feel intimidating and trying something new is scary. Our advice is to embrace this as an exciting challenge. You never know what opportunities could come your way as a result.

If you would like some additional help to feel your most confident on camera, we have partnered with award-winning public speaker and presentation skills trainer Kyle Murtagh, to offer you 1:1 coaching to nail your next video submission or online presentation. You can find out more about Kyle’s services here.

*Emma Alkirwi is the Managing Director of the CV Guru which is the leading service provider of professionally written CVs, LinkedIn Profiles, cover letters in the UK and they also provide specialist consultancy services.  

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