Top tips for preparing for a video interview

Video interviews are becoming more and more common. But as Coronavirus begins to affect businesses on a wider scale, it is now becoming an essential part of the recruitment process. 

The Coronavirus continues to affect the way we conduct ourselves in a professional capacity. More and more companies are adopting remote working practices and putting social distancing measures in place. This, in turn, means they are reassessing the way they are conducting their recruitment processes. Many companies are now choosing to make virtual interviews a necessary part of their recruitment process and will continue to do so until they can go back to operating as normal. It may not even be a stretch to think that video interviewing might be adopted by many businesses as best practice once the pandemic is over. 

Although the interview itself, the questions that are asked and the conversation that takes place will be exactly the same regardless of the conditions, face-to-face and virtual interviews are two completely different experiences, with many candidates never having experienced the latter. The key thing is to be as prepared as possible. Technology isn’t always straightforward and ensuring you have the correct set up can be vital in giving the best first impression that you can and would normally do if you were taking part in a face-to-face interview.

To help ensure that your interview process goes as smoothly as possible, we have put together some key tips to help you prepare, and ensure you are confident, relaxed and fully focussed on making sure that you give the best interview you possibly can.

Practice is key!

Technology isn’t always reliable at the best of times – and last-minute panic is not what you need when preparing for an interview. Take the time to prepare the day before. Ensure that all cameras and microphones are working properly and that your internet connection is sound. 

If you are using Skype, FaceTime or WhatsApp video, try a test run with a friend, or your recruitment consultant if you are using one. This will ensure you are familiar with what to expect and that you are confident everything will work well on the day. 

If you are using a remote conferencing website such as Zoom, GoToMeeting, or something similar, use the link you have been sent to investigate what you will need. It will again be important for you to ensure that your microphone and camera are enabled. Try using Skype, FaceTime or something similar from your device and video call a friend to check these are enabled before you dial into the actual interview. Some of these sites offer the additional option of logging in with your camera and dialling in with your phone at the same time. If the audio on your device is poor, this might be a good option to ensure you can clearly be heard on the day. Or consider using a good pair of headphones with a built-in microphone. 

Prepare as you would for any normal interview

The setting may be different, but you should still prepare in the same way. Ensure you have read through your CV and have a copy with you to refer to. Practice your interview questions beforehand and ensure you have a list of questions ready to ask the interviewer. 

Ensure you have an appropriate set up

This point is crucial for ensuring you are focussed. Find a quiet room indoors. Ensure all pets are kept out of the room and cannot be heard scratching, barking, meowing etc. 

It is also important to ensure that you won’t be disturbed. Ensure other people in your household know that they are not to enter the room you are in during this time and that they need to keep noise to a minimum. 

Make sure the camera is set up properly

Again, a trial run will be key in making sure that this is done correctly. You need to ensure that the interviewer(s) can clearly see your face and the background isn’t too visible, or it is at least either plain or free from anything inappropriate!

Dress appropriately

Dress precisely as you would for a face-to-face interview. This is no different than if you were having an interview in an office environment – ensure that you are dressed and appropriately groomed!

Be ready for the interview in plenty of time

In any normal interview, we would advise arriving 10 minutes beforehand. The same is true of a video interview. Make sure you are logged in and/or set up with plenty of time to spare.

Ensure you look at the interviewer(s) throughout

Virtual interviewing can feel awkward but try to maintain eye contact and communicate with confidence. This bit can be tricky when using video technology. Looking into the camera, rather than directly at the interviewer is more likely to give them the impression that you are looking directly at them. When you are listening to them, look back at the screen so that you are fully focussed on them and what they are saying. 

Don’t get distracted by the picture of yourself on the screen. If needs be, place a piece of paper over it – practice this beforehand though to ensure you don’t cover the camera!

Above all, don’t forget to conduct yourself as you would in any normal interview to make a great first impression. Be professional and upbeat and ensure you thank the interviewer for their time at the end. 

For expert guidance on the next step in your career, contact one of our consultants today. We have lots of opportunities across all our divisions – Accountancy and Finance, Business Support, Engineering and Manufacturing, Human Resources, Marketing and Procurement and Supply Chain, Sales and our Executive Search arm Parkinson Lee Executive Search. See all of our current vacancies here -


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