I submitted my application for round 1 for Yale SOM on September 23 (the deadline was September 25). On the 26th, I received an email from the admissions office telling me to look out for an email from Kira Talent, who they contracted with to conduct the video interviews. The next day on the 27th, I received an email from Kira prompting me to complete my interview within one week (by October 4).
Well, I just finished doing the interview, and I did poorly. I found the entire setup to be unnatural and uncomfortable. I really only know how to be myself, and talking to a black camera lens while a clock counts down the seconds felt completely artificial to me. Anyway, the process went like this:
- Clicked on the link in the email from Kira Talent–it was specific to my applicant account.
- Tested the mic/camera following the prompts on the website. I was on a Macbook Pro and using Chrome, and Flash was just not working for me (I always have problems with Flash and Chrome–get your shit together, Google!). I ended up using Safari and all was fine.
- They give you two optional generic questions to practice on so you can get a feel of the system. No one sees your answers to the practice question, but you can see the recordings of them.
- When you start the actual interview, a video of a Yale adcom member plays of them asking the first question. 20 seconds start immediately counting down when that video ends, giving you time to formulate an answer. Then your computer automatically starts recording you for 90 seconds. If you run out of things to say, you can hit a “Stop” button. If you’re not done with your answer, the recording will simply cut you off at 90 seconds.
- I received three questions–two interview-y questions and one thought question.
Despite practicing beforehand, I couldn’t get the pacing right for the questions I received (none of which were the ones I researched that people shared from round 3 last year). I ended my answer to one of the questions 20 seconds early and just hit the Stop button. I also think I probably said some controversial things for the thought question which I probably just shouldn’t have said at all. And I’m sure there were way too many “umm”s in there.
This is the first time in my life I’ve ever tried to impress a webcam, so I gathered together these tips about the process:
- Put a sticker or something right above your webcam lens so you remember to look at the camera and not the monitor
- Spend time beforehand creating a good backdrop/setup with flattering lighting and seating that will make you sit upright
- Put on lots of makeup (especially blush) so you don’t look washed out
- Elevate your computer with books or something so it’s eye level when you sit up straight. That way you won’t lose your posture or get the dreaded double chin.
- Stop blinking. I noticed that I blinked way too much when recording myself, and I think it’s from lack of direct eye contact with another person.
So, in the least, my application for Yale SOM is fully complete. All I can really do to console myself is to say that if Yale rejects me because of those few minutes of awkward video recording, maybe it’s not the best place for me (sour grapes!). Meanwhile, this experience isn’t completely over yet–Kellogg also requires a video interview, and that application deadline is coming up in just a couple weeks.