Preparing for video interviews

Posted 8/1/2021 by Simon Burton

In 2020 video calling and interviewing became one of the main options for potential hirers. It may sound obvious, but it is amazing how differently people can treat a video call/interview to a face-to-face interview. Follow these best practices to make the most of your chance when engaging with your potential new team:

  • Prepare written examples of how your experience meets the job specification that you can refer to to avoid being put on the spot.
  • Make sure you’ve researched the company thoroughly and have some answers for common questions like ‘why do you want to work there’ as well as any company news that may have been in the press.
  • Make sure you are presentable - Ditch the home clothes and make sure that you dress up in the same fashion that you would have dressed for a face-to-face interview. A first impression here is just as important as it would be if you were meeting in person, but it's also proven to get you in the right mental state to perform at your best.
  • Don't set up in your laundry room (or anywhere messy) - Okay, I know you probably won't set yourself up in the laundry room, but this is important. Make sure that the surrounding area - the room that you're in - is tidy and kept free from any unnecessary props. 
  • Cafes are great for working in... but not great for an interview. Avoid anywhere that has noise if possible. Think about the environment you'll be video interviewing in. Choosing an inappropriate environment says a lot about how serious you are about making the right impression.
  • “I can hear you; can you hear me?” - I've started a video call saying (and seeing someone say) those words on more than one occasion and it's such a frustrating way to start a call. It just kicks everything off on the wrong foot. Don't get me wrong, it's not the end of the world and the call can definitely be brought back from that awkward start, but why take the risk? Check your audio settings. Make sure your 'Output' settings are mid-to-high and that your 'Input' settings are low-to-mid (to limit outside sound). Also, whether you are using the speakers and mic on your computer or headset, make sure they are connected properly. Check it once, test it with a friend, and you'll be off to a smooth start.
  • “Hello? You've frozen again…” - That leads me nicely onto my next big frustration - internet connection. If you know that your internet at home is a little dodgy then go somewhere where it's not. It only takes two or three interrupted connections before both sides start feeling exasperated. 
  • Where are you looking? - When you're sitting in front of a person on a screen in a room, it's sometimes easy to forget the face-to-face etiquette. It's easy to start looking to the side when you're thinking, or distracting yourself when they're talking, particularly when they aren't focusing on the screen either! But don't fall into that trap. Look at the screen, as if you're keeping eye contact, or look into the camera. Just make sure your gaze is focused.

The phone

The phone is still an important bit of kit and you will find that first stage interviews, or even final confirmations, might be done over the phone. A lot of the rules from above actually apply to the phone as well: get dressed up (you will feel sharper), stay away from noisy places, and go somewhere you know has good signal. But there is another golden rule:

  • Get across your enthusiasm - A video call can bridge the gap between that and a face-to-face interview, as you can still show your enthusiasm with on-screen demeanour, but that's a little harder to get across on the phone. Some people can be genuinely excited and interested in an opportunity, but without seeing them you would never know. It is easy for your voice to get a little flat and monotone, especially if you've been talking a lot when answering questions. Be mindful of this. Try a little harder to get across your enthusiasm and positive energy at the exciting opportunity you have in front of you.
  • Prepare good questions for the interviewer. Nothing shows enthusiasm like some well researched/prepared questions around the company.

You may also want to review our Interview Tips or Register as a candidate.


Ready to find your next big challenge? Let's Go!
Cookies on this website
We to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you wish you can restrict or block cookies by changing your browser setting. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website.