How to prepare for video interviews

In a world where video and telephone job interviews are becoming commonplace, it can be easy to forget that one’s preparations for such events should be different in some respects from in-person interviews. You won’t be physically attending a workplace, but first impressions will still count.

We’ve put together some simple tips to ensure you make that crucial good first impression and avoid some of the common pitfalls of this medium of job interviews.

Get your technology and environment right

It’s important to find a quiet, well-lit and private place in which to do the interview. Make sure you won’t be interrupted by errant children or blissfully unaware housemates sauntering through your backdrop. This will be distracting not only for you but for your interviewers too.

Use natural light to ensure you can be seen on screen and check your audio and webcam settings well in advance of the actual interview. Last-minute technical problems could leave you flustered and distracted during the time you should be making that all-important first impression.

Check your background before you join the interview. Remove any old coffee cups and underwear drying on the radiators if it can be seen on the camera – that’s a first impression that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons!


Think about your personal presentation

How would you dress to attend an in-person interview? Smart and professional? Then that’s how you should dress for a video interview too. OK, so perhaps the lower half doesn’t matter quite so much (just make sure you don’t get up in the middle of the interview and flash your Family Guy PJ bottoms!) but dress professionally to suit the situation from the waist, up.

Avoid bright colours or busy patterns, opting instead for muted colours and solid textures.

Oh, and brush your hair!


Be prepared

The first thing to check is that your phone is on silent mode, so it doesn’t ‘ding’ in the middle of a well-considered answer. Check you have a pen and notepad to make note of anything important and write down any questions you have.

Keep a copy of your job application or CV in front of you in case you need to remind yourself about any of the information you’ve provided.

Make sure you’ve thought carefully about the sort of questions the interviewer might ask – an experienced recruiter should be able to help you cover these off in your interview preparation, and prepare some relevant questions of your own which might not be addressed during the interview itself.


Watch your body language

It’s important to be mindful of your body language. Distraction can happen at any time so try to stay focused, place both feet solidly on the ground and sit in a positive and confident position. Ensure you can be seen properly on the webcam and avoid shifting in your seat too much.

Use hand gestures to illustrate your point when necessary but don’t overdo it. Don’t fold your arms – this can be seen as defensive – and smile and nod to show you understand what the interviewer is saying to you.

During the interview, do your best to look directly into the camera rather than at yourself or your interviewer on the screen. This is the closest you’ll get to real eye contact and you’ll come across as confident and in control.


Sign off with confidence

As with any interview, it’s polite to thank the interviewer for their time and remain upbeat however you feel the interview has gone. Ask when you’re likely to hear back about the job and leave on a positive note.