How to succeed in the INSEAD video interview

INSEAD (the European Institute of Administration), the #1 ranked business school in the world,  added a video interview to its admission requirements for the class of 2018. 

If you're a non-native English speaker applying to INSEAD, what can you do to prepare for the video interview?

10 tips for preparing for the INSEAD video interview

1. Learn all you can about the interview

This isn't a normal face-to-face interview and it's not a normal Skype interview either, because you won't be talking to a person, just a camera.

You'll be asked a question and then the camera will record you giving your answer, but there won't be a person behind the camera.

The format of the INSEAD video interview

The interview has four questions. For each question, you get 45 seconds to prepare your answer and then 1 minute to record it. 

The questions are picked randomly from a bank of 70 questions.

You'll get a link to the interview about an hour after you submit your application and you must submit it no later than 48 hours after the deadline to which you are applying.

Your application will be considered complete and ready to be reviewed only once the video interview is finished.

Will I be able to practice my questions?

Yes, you can practice. There is something called a "practice session" available. It has several questions and you can do as many sessions as you wish.

These questions aren't saved, so the Admissions Committee won't see them. You can replay them to see how you did, and also check the sound and image. 

The difficulty level of the INSEAD video interview

I just had a student do this interview and he said the questions were common business school questions. 

These are three questions he got asked (he couldn't remember the fourth). (1) What are three things you consider important for entrepreneurs? (2) If you had a company, what would be its top three priorities? (3) What do you want to improve about INSEAD?

These are typical business school interview questions, so if you've prepared for your in-person interview you will also be prepared for the video one. 

The purpose of the INSEAD video interview

  • Shows your spoken English skills

  • Shows your appearance

  • Shows how fast you can think

  • Shows your body language skills

These are the same things that the regular interview does. The difference is that they've moved the interview into the application itself, which makes it even more important than it was before. 

I don't understand – how is this different? It's still an interview, and it's only four questions. Doesn't that make it easier?

Yes, it's an interview, but it's being evaluated by the admissions staff and not by alumni interviewers (who aren't professional admissions people). This means the standards are tougher.

Ok, now I know the basics of the interview. What else can I do?

2. Practice with the technology

Before you start, check and double-check your Internet connection, webcam, and microphone.

Shut down other software programs that aren't needed so you have fewer technical problems.

You should do a practice session to check your sound and image quality.

Speak clearly and slowly. Pay attention to pronunciation - you need to be very clear because the sound quality will not be as good as face-to-face.

3. Use strong lighting

Check the lighting. Is your face well lit? 

If not, add a lamp or move your computer to a better place.

There shouldn't be shadows on your face and the room behind you should be well lit.

4. Show a clean background

Look at the space behind you. What do you see?

The person watching your video should see a clean, neat space.  

This will make you seem organized and professional.

5. Wear professional clothing

Dress the same way you would for a regular interview – in business clothes.

Test your outfit. Do you look pale or tired? Sometimes the lighting on webcams doesn't make you look good, so you may want to choose a brighter color shirt or wear more makeup than usual.

***Don't wear any bracelets that make noise. The noise will sound twice as loud over the computer.

6. Sit in a quiet place

Turn off the tv. Turn off your phone. 

If there is loud traffic noise outside of your house go somewhere else or sit away from the window.

7. Make eye contact

Look into the webcam (the eyes of the interviewer).

Please test this – I teach online and many of my students never look into my eyes because they are not looking into the camera. 

8. Use proper body language

Don't talk with your hands - it's distracting and can block the camera.

Don't cross your arms.

Sit up straight; don't lean toward the camera.

Here's more information about interview body language for you.

9. Be careful with your English

The sound isn't perfect on video so you have to be more careful than usual if your English isn't perfect. Slow down, speak clearly, and pause between words.

Practice key words you'll need, such as vocabulary about your field.

10. Practice answers to questions

Last but not least, you should practice answering common questions, just like you would do for any interview. 

Use the STAR format to answer behavioral questions – the ones where you need to give an example or tell a story. 

S: situation

T: task

A: action

R: result

Some common business school questions:

What kind of skills do you want to learn at INSEAD?

Please state why INSEAD should give you a seat.

Why do you want an MBA?

Why did you choose INSEAD?

What according to you is required to start and run a successful business?

Give me an example of how you convinced your other team members.

How did you build your international experience?

How do you promote sensitivity and inclusion in the workplace?

What do you do when someone comes to you with a problem?

Are you comfortable working in another culture?

What was the most interesting project you've worked on? Why was it interesting to you?

How would your colleagues describe your leadership style?


I hope this post will help you prepare for your INSEAD video interview. If you want to practice, ask me for some one-on-one interview prep. You can email me at to schedule a consultation.

Interview Genie is an interview prep company.