Top tips for video interview success

Written by: Imogen Hartley
Published on: 12 Oct 2020

Ensure your next video interview is a success by following these 7 easy steps.

Video interview tips

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly had an effect on recruitment, a number of companies are now picking up their employment drives. However, it is not completely ‘business as usual’, with localised lockdowns and social distancing advice meaning that many employers have moved the interview process online.

With an increasing number of agencies and employers making crucial hiring decisions based on the impression that interviewees make via Zoom or Skype, we felt it would be useful to provide some best practice tips for video interviews.

If you are currently seeking new roles, it’s possible that your interviews - and even your onboarding - will happen remotely. If this is your first video interview, the prospect may seem a little daunting. However, your success hinges on many of the same things that contribute to the success of a face-to-face or phone interview, and the small differences are easy to be ready for.

Follow these 7 straightforward steps to get a step ahead in your next video interview.

7 steps to a successful video interview

  • Dress to impress in your usual interview attire
  • Choose an appropriate location with good lighting and an uncluttered, neutral background
  • Ensure you won’t be disturbed and remove distractions
  • Plan ahead and test to avoid technical issues
  • If they arise, handle tech problems professionally to impress your interviewer
  • Smile, nod and stay engaged to build rapport with your interviewer
  • Wrap it up and say thank you


Dress to impress

Before struggling at the first hurdle, take a step back and remind yourself you already know what to wear for a video interview – it’s exactly the same as what you would wear to an in-person interview.

It’s important that your potential employer sees you as prepared, professional and serious about the job. Dress appropriately for the role to which you’ve applied, and if you’re uncertain of the level of formality, remember it is always better to be overdressed.

What you wear for your interview not only impresses your interviewer, but it will also help to get you in the right mind-set, which can be tricky to achieve when sat in your own living room!


Choose the right location

Even if you’ve dressed to the nines, this could go unnoticed if you’re sat in a disorganised, messy location. Set up your computer in a space with a neutral, tidy background, away from anything that could divert your interviewer’s attention – you want to be the main event! A blank wall is best.

Prior to the interview, play with the lighting in the room to make sure you can be seen properly by your interviewer. Ideally, you don’t want light directly behind you, but it also shouldn’t be too close to your face.


Eliminate distractions

So that you don’t get distracted or disrupt the flow of your interview, it’s vital to prevent any potential interruptions as soon as possible.

Begin by letting those you live with (housemates, partners or family members) know that you have an important video call and can’t be disturbed. Then, ensure your phone is on silent and any notifications from your computer not related to the call are muted. For audio of the best quality, use a pair of headphones with a built-in microphone to eliminate any potential background noise.


Avoid technical glitches

Well in advance of the interview, install and set up Zoom, Skype or any other necessary software on your computer. As you may have been partaking in quizzes or such with friends, double check that the username and email address associated with your account are professional and appropriate.

Alternately, if the interview is to take place on FaceTime or another mobile based application, make sure the app is downloaded and you have chosen a location with reliable phone reception or Wi-Fi.

It would be a great idea to have a practice call with a friend or family member ahead of the scheduled interview to make sure your camera and microphone are working properly. 


Handle tech issues with grace

If, in spite of your careful preparation, you encounter any technical issues, glitches or mishaps during the interview, make sure you handle them promptly and professionally.

For example, if you’re struggling to hear the interviewer due to a weak Wi-Fi connection, immediately alert them and resolve the issue in a calm manner. Don’t allow yourself to get worked up by the glitch, no matter how frustrated you may feel. You have to show you can handle unexpected situations – it’s a key attribute employers seek. If you prove yourself in a stressful situation, you’ll be ticking at least one of their boxes.


Build rapport with the interviewer

As in a face-to-face interview, a video is a fantastic chance to show off your interpersonal skills and ability to build rapport. From the start, make sure you are maintaining eye contact, smiling and using affirmative movements. This will quickly develop a relationship with the interviewer, and show them you are engaged and interested in the conversation.

Even if you’re saying all the right things, if you’re slouched with your arms crossed, looking away from the camera, you’ll be sending out all the wrong signals. Make an effort to hold good posture and use positive body language throughout the interview to ensure your movements send the same message as your words.


Wrap it up

As in a usual situation, thanking your interviewer for their time at the end of the appointment is vital. Ask any final questions you may have, restate your interest in the role and, if it has not already been covered, ask about the next steps in the hiring process and when you can expect to hear back about your performance.

Good luck with your next video interview!