Common Interview Questions for a Video Editing Position

by Matt McKay

Common interview questions for a video editing position will vary based on your company needs, equipment, scope of work and the level of experience required. While identifying a prospect's video editing skills is vital to the job, questions common to any job applicant are just as important to ensure satisfactory overall performance. Sample questions use the "behavioral" interview style, based on the theory that past performance is an indicator of how employees will behave in the future. Behavioral questions allow candidates to cite anecdotes based on experience, enabling the interviewer to decide whether the situation was handled in an acceptable manner.

Deadlines and Pressure

Deadlines in the video industry are inevitable and the video editor sometimes labors under pressure to get the job done. Asking the applicant questions such as: "Tell me about a time when you were up against a tight deadline." will elicit a specific response in story form. Use an interviewer's "drill-down" technique to gain further information in similar but less positive scenarios. "Tell me about a time when you did not make a deadline. How was it handled and what would prevent it from happening in the future?" By asking open-ended questions, applicants may divulge technical and interpersonal skill-sets without further prompting.

Video Editing Hardware Questions

Asking questions about an applicant's experience with your company's present or future editing systems will give you an idea of the candidate's comfort level in the editing room. "I see from your resume that you've worked with XYZ brand MiniDV editing workstations. What do you like or dislike about that product?" will elicit a technical response from the applicant, which the interviewer can then use to assess the prospective employee's knowledge. Of course, the interviewer must be technically proficient, or choose to have a knowledgeable employee present for technical questions.

Video Editing Software Questions

Because most modern video companies edit with software, questions similar to those asked about hardware will apply. "What are your favorite features of ABC brand Video Edit Software?" will encourage an applicant to share specific experience and expertise with the product. Simply asking "Do you know how to use ABC brand Edit Software and how long have you used it?" can produce a "yes, for this number of years" response -- especially if the applicant wants the job -- leaving the true skill level and product familiarity unknown unless further discussion ensues.

Artistic Questions

Video editing is a technical skill as well as an art. Video editor applicants must share your company's artistic viewpoint without imposing their own unless it's desired. View the candidate's demo reel before the interview if possible and make notes on transitions, effects, filters and other artistic add-ons you find unnecessary or interesting. View the reel during the interview and ask "Why did you decide to add this transition here?" and similar questions. Adding artistic elements to videos takes extra time and may not be suitable for all work, depending on your company philosophy, product type and style. Unless full artistic freedom is granted, video editors must follow instructions in the interest of time, cost savings and product integrity.

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