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Tips on How to Perfect a Video Interview

Female at desk participating in an online interview

Right now, post-pandemic, if you are in the middle of the interview process or looking for a new job you’ll likely be asked to do a video interview.

It’s easy to think that the rules are different than they might be for a traditional face-to-face interview. After all, you don’t have to travel to the office, and you won’t really be sitting face to face.

A video job interview is in some ways even more demanding than an in-person interview and according to the research, 21% of people dislike video interviews because they are uncomfortable on camera.

The good news is the more you prep and practice you do the more relaxed you will be. So how can you prepare and make sure you perform to the best of your ability?

Here are our top tips for video interviewing.

Check your technology

Before any virtual interview, it’s important to check you have the right technology set up and do a trial run.

Download any apps you may need, your interviewer should send you a link or info on this, and make sure your laptop or phone is charged.

Whether you’re using Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or another video platform, set up a username that’s professional, just as you would with your email address or social media handle.

Then do a trial with a friend and check that your computer’s camera, microphone, and Wi-Fi are working properly.

Dress to impress

Dress like you would for a face-to-face interview and smile! Doing this will make you feel more confident and interview-ready. Don’t just wear a blazer with pyjama bottoms assuming you’ll only be seen from the waist up.

Funnily enough, experts advise against wearing orange and research suggests wearing shoes will make you feel more put together and confident. Whatever you choose make sure it looks neat while you’re sitting down. Again, do a test and record yourself on screen to see what the outfit would look like to others.

Prepare your interview space: 

Set up your interview in a quiet location with little or no distractions in the background. If you have a window in the background it may blur the picture, so avoid it if possible or put down your blind if you can.

Make sure the background is free from clutter and looks neat and tidy. Finally, have your phone and notifications on the computer turned off during the interview to avoid any distractions.

Set up early

Log on 10 minutes before the interview so you’re not panicked if anything goes wrong. Have your CV printed off along with the job description and any other notes you may have.

A glass of water can be a good idea too. If you are using notes keep them brief and don’t read them off a sheet, instead use them as prompts.

Maintain good eye contact and body language

One of the most important things to do when in a video interview is to keep good eye contact. It’s easier for your eyes to lose focus when the person you’re talking to isn’t in the room.

Look directly into the camera instead of at the screen to maintain good eye contact. Make sure your face is centered and don’t move around too much. Keep good posture, sitting with your back straight, feet on the ground, and arms resting in your lap or on the desk.

Speak clearly and slowly

When using technology for a video interview, there can be delays or the microphone mightn’t pick up your voice well. To prevent this from happening, take your time when speaking and enunciate your words when answering questions.

Make sure you have done your research:

Like any job interview, you should do your research on the company and the job description. Other important things to familiarise yourself with include the job itself, what the company does, the company culture, and values.

You should also practice competency-based interview questions with a friend or family member on the same video platform. While practicing these questions write down a few notes about the most critical points you want to get across.

Are there certain skills and experiences you want to emphasise? Do you have certain interests or passions you want your interviewer to know about? When you have these clear in your head it makes it much easier to answer questions and do a good interview.

If the right leading questions aren’t asked you can always bring these points up at the end of the interview when the interviewer asks if you have anything else to add.

Checklist for a stress-free video job interview

  • Practice beforehand with a friend using the video software you’ll be interviewing with

  • Test the platform you’ll be using before

  • Make sure your laptop/phone/tablet (whatever you are using for the interview) is charged

  • If using a computer/laptop close any other tabs so you’re not distracted

  • Dress as you would for a normal job interview

  • Look at the camera, not the screen

  • Don’t forget it’s a video. Speak clearly and use your body language – sit up straight, nod and smile, try not to fidget and make sure you’re in a well-lit, tidy room

  • Consider possible video delays

  • Use our interview handbook to gain some insights into questions they may ask

  • Study the job spec beforehand and be familiar with your own CV

  • Don’t panic if there’s a technical glitch or interruption – just apologise, explain and keep calm

What to do after the video job interview?

Like a regular interview follow-up after your video interview with a short email. In your email include anything you might have promised to pass on, reference details, examples of work, and a “thank you for your time” or something similar.

Finally, try to focus on the positives of doing a video interview. If you’ve been asked to do a video interview your interviewer is interested in learning more about you.

Unlike a phone interview, you get to see an interviewer’s reaction and use that body language feedback to have a much more natural conversation.

Overall, remember the most important things are to prepare and relax and try not to let your nerves get the best of you. If you do make a mistake, or if your connection breaks, take a breath, apologise and resume the interview if possible.

All of our consultants are currently working remotely. Please get in touch if you have any job queries or questions about an upcoming interview.

This article was originally published in 2015. It has since been updated and republished.