Lights, camera, action! How to prepare for a video interview

by Sirius People

Estimated Reading Time: minutes

Sometimes a face-to-face interview isn’t possible, but thankfully technology has blessed us with the next best thing: the video interview.

An interview you can go to without leaving the comfort of your own home!

Whilst it may appear that there’s less pressure, as it’s not in person, it’s still imperative that you make a good impression.

We had asked our recruitment consultants to share their top tips in our ‘10 Job Interview Tips That Will Help You Get Hired’ — which are worth a refresher — but video interviews are a whole other beast.

There’s a number of things that can go wrong behind the scenes:

The backdrop of your interview is messy. Your housemate comes home early. A delivery comes unexpectedly.

And of course, we’ve all seen that viral video of Professor Robert Kelly being interrupted by his kids mid-interview with the BBC. (If you’d like a laugh, check it out again here.)

Instead of leaving you exposed to all the things that could go wrong, we asked our recruitment consultants to share some of their top tips on how to land the job with a video interview.

Here’s what they had to say:


First impressions still matter

Even though you’re partially hidden behind a screen, it’s important to dress up for your interview. Not only will it help your confidence levels throughout, if you have to stand up for whatever reason, but it’s also good to not have pyjama pants on.


Keep it at home

Whilst it might be tempting to get out of the house and have the video interview somewhere else, such as a cafe, there are so many variables that could interrupt your interview. Loud coffee machines or voices in the background may be distracting to you and to the interviewer.

If you absolutely cannot do it at home, try to either reschedule the day so you can have some peace and quiet at home or scope out your local library to see if they have study or music rooms you can book out, or — only if absolutely necessary — cubicles that you can use for the day. With the cubicles though, be sure to get there at least 1-2 hours before your interview though to make sure you have one.


Check your Internet

It’s one of those logistical issues that can go wrong very quickly. Double-check your internet connection to make sure that the video won’t slow or there won’t be any interruptions in your video interview. You can access Google’s Internet speed test here.

Also, test your phone’s hotspot to ensure you have a back-up in case your video cuts out for whatever reason.


Check your devices

In the same vein as testing your Internet, make sure that:

  • You have enough battery for the interview;
  • Your airplane mode is on;
  • Your mic is working;
  • Your mute is working;
  • Your camera is working;
  • Your phone tripod/prop won’t fall over (although we recommend using a laptop);
  • All other tabs are closed (if you’re screen sharing); and
  • You have an professional username.

Clear the house of distractions

It’s easy to get distracted. That goes for you and your interviewer. So, take the time to get rid of the distraction.

This could mean: 

  • Hiring a babysitter or asking a friend to take your kids or dog out to the park,
  • Closing the windows to keep out street noise,
  • Posting a note to your door to ensure no neighbours or housemates disturb you, and
  • Putting your phone in another room (the typical mobile phone user touches their phone 2,617 times per day, according to dscout).


Lights, camera, action!

It may not be show biz, but make sure that you have good lighting and sound during your video interview. Your interviewer will want to see and hear you as clearly as possible.


All in-person interview advice still goes

Your body language, speech speed, research and interview question preparation are still what will get you the job. So, even if everything you do behind the scenes (as listed above) goes well, if you’re not well prepared, you won’t get the job.

Take the time to do your due diligence before going into the job interview and create rapport with your interviewer. Even though you’re not in a room together, doesn’t mean that you can’t humanise them.


Those are our tips on how to prepare for a video interview.

Be sure to read over our blog post about our recruiters’ top tips on how to nail a job interview and take the time to prepare with your recruitment consultant.


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