Candidate 101: How Long Should Video Answers Be? | Toggl Hire
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Candidate 101: How Long Should Video Answers Be?

Post Author - Juste Semetaite Juste Semetaite Last Updated:

As digital technology becomes more powerful and the world continues to adapt to remote working, the use of video interviews has increased by 67%.

Whether preparing for a 1-2-1 video interview or some pre-recorded questions, candidates often ask — how long should video answers be?

The truth is, there’s no clear answer, but let’s run through the type of questions you could be asked and how best to respond to them in either 30, 60, or 90 seconds.

Haven’t caught up on how video interviews work? Learn how here. 👇

Learn more about pre-recorded video interviews

What are employers looking for from video interview answers?

Video interviewing is a pretty tricky task. Not only is it tough to gauge the personality of the interviewers, but video calls are always at risk of connection issues making communication a challenge. 

More and more, we see interview processes include a pre-recorded video assessment too. These add another level of difficulty as you don’t have any live interaction to feed off and instead have to record an answer against a static, on-screen question. 

But in truth, recruiters want to see the same characteristics from an interviewee, whether they’re face-to-face or interacting over video. Be sure to focus on the following when delivering your video answers.

  • Clear communication. Communication is one of the core skills any individual needs to be successful in their role. See your interview as one big opportunity to showcase your communication skills. When delivering answers over video, it’s even more important to communicate clearly to overcome any connection issues — remember to talk slowly and clearly and take a breath if you’re feeling nervous!
  • Evidence-based answers. Where possible, all of your answers should be backed up by evidence of previous experiences and achievements. Ensure your valuable answering time is full of high-impact examples of where you’ve made a difference to ensure you wow the interviewers.
  • Confidence. Even though interviews are nerve-wracking experiences, it’s important to answer with confidence and conviction. The best way to build confidence is to practice your answers before the interview so that your previous experience is at the front of your mind. Remember, you can also keep notes with you and refer to them during the interview or between recording answers as well. 

What’s the right length for video interview answers?

So, how long should video answers be? Ultimately, it all depends on the type of question. Some questions will require a quick, simple answer which should last no longer than 30 seconds, while other evidence-based questions will need over 90 seconds of detail.  

Take a look below at the type of questions you’ll see for each category. 

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Often, pre-recorded video interviews (where candidates have to record answers to questions) give you a maximum time limit. This is an excellent indication of the length of response a recruiter expects, so make sure you don’t run out of time and get cut off mid-sentence.

30-second answers

Expect any interview, video or not, to be littered with quick 30-second questions. Most recruiters start the interview with easy questions to get to know you, your background, and your previous experience. 

Initially, these questions can be answered quickly and easily with a straight-to-the-point answer. Interviewers will always ask you to expand on your answer if they don’t feel it’s enough. Let them prompt you to talk more rather than over-talking in the first instance. 

Examples of 30-second questions include:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • How did you hear about this position?
  • Why is there a gap in your employment?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Why are you leaving your current job?
  • What type of work environment do you prefer?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • Are you willing to relocate? 

As you’ll see, most of these questions are pretty tactical and can be answered in anywhere between one to five sentences. Keep your answer direct and to the point, as it shows confidence and conviction. 

60-second answers

With 60-second questions, you have the time to be a little more expansive with your answers. 

These types of answers require a little bit more justification, require you to give multiple answers or need you to compare multiple answers and explain them in more detail. Again, remember not to waffle and still try to be as direct as possible. 

For more complex questions where you may need to explain multiple individual answers, it always works best to first set out how you will answer. Again, this shows confidence and prepares the interviewer for a lengthy response whilst giving you a moment to compose yourself. 

For example:

💬 Interviewer: “What do you believe are your top three strengths and why?” 

💬 You: “I believe my top three strengths are leadership, communication, and organization. I feel leadership is a top strength because…I feel communication is a top strength because…Finally, I feel organization is a top strength because…”  

Other examples of 60-second questions include: 

  • What can you bring to the company?
  • What are your greatest strengths?
  • What do you consider to be your weaknesses?
  • Can you explain why you changed career paths?
  • What is your management style?
  • How would your boss and coworkers describe you? 

90-second answers

We finish off with the big hitters — the 90-second plus answers. These questions often strike fear into interviewees as they usually (and should) require a truly thought-out and structured response.

When interviewers ask these questions, they’re often expecting you to tell a story or recount a past experience. This might be asking you to explain how you’ve overcome a difficult situation or how you’ve implemented something new. 

The trick to answering these questions is to break them into three parts. Start by setting the scene, then detail what you did, and finish by explaining the impact/results your actions created. 

As always, it’s about weaving in as much evidence here as you can to show the value you brought to the situation. 

Examples of 90-second (or longer) questions include:

  • Tell me about a time you disagreed with a decision that was made at work?
  • Tell me about a time you demonstrated leadership skills.
  • Discuss a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work and how you dealt with it.
  • Explain a situation where you implemented something new.
  • What would your first 30, 60, or 90 days look like in this role?

Showcase your skills

As with all interview answers, it’s about communicating confidently and providing answers that are full of detail. When it comes to correctly timing your responses, make sure to break them down into 30, 60, and 90-second brackets and use those responses accordingly depending on each interview question.

Doing this ensures you strike a balance between confident and direct answering without boring the recruiter. Before you head for your next video interview, take some time to practice your answers to common questions and time yourself to ensure you’re right on the money. 

Where relevant, it’s also helpful to highlight your relevant skills. Unsure what those are? Create a free Toggl Hire Candidate account and start testing your skills today. Highlight your proficiency levels in your next interview to snag that job.

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Juste Semetaite

Juste loves investigating through writing. A copywriter by trade, she spent the last ten years in startups, telling stories and building marketing teams. She works at Toggl Hire and writes about how businesses can recruit really great people.

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