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Top tips for successful video interviews


Video interviews are becoming more common place. If you haven’t had to do a video interview yet, know that you will probably encounter this method of interviewing sooner rather than later.  Don’t panic; get informed so that you are ready for when they eventually occur.

Why video interviews

While telephone interviews can give you a good sense if someone will be a cultural fit in your company, video interviews do an even better job. Video interviews also give hiring managers the opportunity to get the interview process started much faster. As companies hire more remote workers, or recruit globally, video interviews will start happening more frequently.

Types of video interviews

1. Skype interviews/Live video

With so many video conferencing tools available these days, it is incredibly easy for video interviews to be scheduled. All a company needs to do is send you a link or call your user id/screenname.  Not only are these video conferencing tools affordable for a company to use; but with most people using them in their personal lives, candidates are often already set up to participate in video interviews.

2. Pre-recorded video interviews

In this situation you will be given a link to a page where you are able to record your answers to pre-recorded interview questions. Generally, you will be given a set time in which to answer the question, and you may get a 1 or 2 tries before your answer is submitted. This type of video interview is often used more as a pre-screen than a full interview.

Present yourself in the best light

Dress appropriately

You need to dress the same for video interviews as you would for in-person interviews. First impressions matter – what you wear is nearly as important as what you say. If in doubt always dress up, never down. Know that if you are interviewing with one of the Big 5 accounting firms, a tie will be expected – so wear a tie! Dress professionally.

Body language

Even though the interviewer will only be seeing the top half of your body, you still need to be aware of your body language. Sit up straight in your chair with your feet on the ground.

Keep the fidgeting down to a minimum. If you find you get nervous, hid your hands below your desk and tap your finger tips together. It will give you something to concentrate on that isn’t visible during your interview.

Check list pre video interviews

Check your tech

Do a trial run with a friend or family member. Make sure your webcam and microphone are working correctly. If the sound quality is bad and you can’t hear each other, invest in a good headset that you can use. Remember that if you can’t hear the questions being asked, you will very likely answer incorrectly.

Make sure you have a good internet connection. If you know your internet is likely to cut out, ask a friend if you can do video interviews at their house, or look at co-working spaces that rent an office by the hour. Don’t let your internet connection let you down.

Backgrounds are important

Look at the background that will be in your video interviews. Is it a direct line to a busy playground or your bathroom? Both of those are distractions in different ways. Avoid that by making sure your background is a clear wall, free of anything that could cause unconscious bias in your recruiter.

Webcam positioning

Position your webcam slightly higher than eye level. This way you will be looking directly into the camera and not down, and it will look more natural. Look directly into the camera, but do so naturally and confidently.  If this means you need to stack your laptop on some books, do it. Just make sure your laptop isn’t balanced precariously, you wouldn’t want it to fall over mid-interview.

Turn on the lights

In an ideal world, the best room in your house to conduct video interviews will also have exceptional lighting. Failing that, cheat. Get two lamps and position them on either side of your desk. That way, your face will be illuminated from both sides and you will avoid unnatural shadows. Video quality is not always the best, so every trick will help you make a good impression.

Keep clear of distractions

As with phone interviews, clear the room you are in of everything that will distract you. Turn off the radio and TV. Close the door so family/roommates and pets don’t interrupt you mid-call.

Final thoughts

If you are really uncomfortable on camera, then practise, practise, practise. The more you practise, the more you will be comfortable with this kind of interview. Even though it may be awkward at first, with a couple of practise rounds you can become a consummate professional.

Energy Resourcing often facilitates video interviews for our clients and candidates. As we recruit both locally and internationally, we know that an “one size fits all” interview mentality is unrealistic. We help our candidates be as prepared as possible for all types of interviews. Be it telephone interviews, video interviews, panel interviews, behavioural interviews or case interviews – we have you covered!

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