How to prepare for a video interview

Preparing for a video interview

Video interviews aren’t new. For senior level roles and positions where companies recruit from overseas they have been happening for years. More recently though the video interview has become the norm for all sorts of roles. Lockdown regulations, home working and the increased use of Zoom, Teams and other video conferencing have all contributed to a change of approach for many recruiters and employers. 

Whether you’ve experienced a video interview before or are new to the idea, if you are currently looking for a new job then chances are you’ll need to prepare for a video interview.  So what steps should you take? How will it be different to a traditional interview? What should you do to prepare and make sure you bring your A-game? 

Time and place

For a traditional interview you probably only need to think about your own availability but if you are having a video interview at home you might also want to consider the rest of your household.  You want the interview to take place when you will have peace and quiet to concentrate and focus. If you have children, pets or housemates give this some thought when agreeing to a date and time.

If other people will be at home at the time of your interview make sure they know not to disturb you unless absolutely necessary. 

It’s also worth thinking about where you will position yourself. We’ve all seen the interviews on tv with celebrities and politicians in front of carefully curated bookcases. We’re not suggesting you need to go that far but you probably don’t want an overflowing laundry basket in the background! Make sure your background isn’t distracting and the space where you’ll be is light enough too.

What should I wear?

You might be in your own living room but you still need to create a good first impression. The right outfit will vary depending on the company and the role you’re applying for but you should wear what you would wear if you were attending an in person interview. 

Be on time!

There’s no traffic or parking to worry about but it’s surprisingly easy to lose track of time at home. Set an alert on your phone and make sure you are ready. You don’t want to join the call late or flustered. 

Check your tech

Technology fails all the time and most people will be understanding about this but  you should always if you check your camera and mic beforehand. It helps if you have a reliable internet connection but make sure you could potentially switch to your mobile as a backup plan if necessary. 

Familiarise yourself with whichever platform is being used. If you use Zoom all day anyway and that’s what is being used then great but if the organisation is using software you haven’t used before then it’s definitely worth making sure you look at it beforehand. You don’t want to find you’ve just given your best answer while on mute! 

Be ready

Before you join the get yourself a glass or water or cup of tea or coffee and anything else you might need such as a notepad and pen or any notes you’ve already prepared. 

Remember to look at the web cam

It can sometimes  be more difficult to connect with the interviewer via video than in person specially if you aren’t used to it. Smile and  remember to look at the web cam when you are talking. 

One final piece of advice. 

Don’t worry or overthink the situation because it’s video. Any other candidates will be in the same position. The questions will be the same as a more traditional interview.  It is important to remember that the interview process is as much about you finding out about the role and company as them finding out about you. A job interview should be a two way process. Just do your research and prepare answers and questions exactly as you would for a face to face interview. Good luck!