Video Interviews: Tips and Tricks

Booked an interview with your dream company and come to find out the interview will be conducted over video conferencing?  Not to worry – with a little bit of preparation and tech savvy, you can ace your interview and stand out from the crowd.

As of 2012, 42 percent of companies were using video conferencing suites to interview potential employees – up from 10 percent just two years ago. That’s a huge increase, and there’s no reason to think that trend will change anytime soon, especially as forward-thinking companies continue to hire remote employees.  Job seekers are increasingly likely to be asked to interview over a video conferencing solution, and a recent survey of more than 500 HR professionals found that, of companies with at least 20 employees, six out of ten are now conducting video interviews. So if you haven’t already encountered a video interview, chances are good that you will soon.

While it’s natural to be nervous about the unknown, one of the big advantages of video interviews is that they’re far better at replicating the experience of an in-person conversation than phone interviews are.  So with that in mind, here are a few things that you, the prospective video interviewee, should do:

  • Dress for success. Unlike with phone interviews, interviews conducted over video obviously have a strong visual element.  Treat this meeting like you would a face-to-face one, and dress professionally.  Depending on the position, this could mean a suit, or it could mean a dress shirt and slacks or a skirt.
  • Speak clearly and maintain eye contact. Looking the interviewer in the eye isn’t just a sign of respect and attentiveness – it helps bridge the physical distance between you.  And speaking slowly and enunciating clearly ensures that your ideas are confidently communicated and carry appropriate weight. Try to look at the web cam when “making eye contact” rather than looking at yourself on the video screen. It may seem funny to you, but trust us – it works.
  • Create an office-appropriate environment. Conveying maturity is important when being interviewed for a job, and unlike in-office interviews, those conducted online might take place in your home.  So take down that movie poster and move the pile of laundry in the corner. Give your room a makeover that ensures you’re taken seriously.
  • Pause after questions to compensate for any audio delay. Oftentimes, it takes a second for the person on the other end of the call to hear your complete statement. When you finish answering a question, pause so that the person on other end knows you have completed your thought.
  • Lighting. Make sure that your office is well-lit so the interviewer can see you clearly. If needed, move a floor lamp near your computer/web cam to provide an adequate amount of light.
  • Eliminate distractions. If you are doing the interview from your home, tell your spouse or roommates about the call so they do not disrupt you. Additionally, make arrangements for your pet to be out of the room, so they do not cause any noise. All televisions and cell phones should be off.
  • Be mindful of noise caused by paper shuffling. You may want to use a few notes, or have a copy of your resume in front of you during the call, but know that video conferencing microphones are very sensitive and can pick up paper shuffling quite easily. This can be extremely distracting to your interviewer. Try to leave your notes flat on the table and move them only when necessary.
  • Test your video conferencing solution before the call. Ask to do a test call with the HR representative before the interview, just to make sure there are no technical problems. Or, if you are using a free, consumer-grade VC solution, do a test call with a friend or relative.

At the end of the day, you’re looking to communicate the same things to a prospective employer over video as you would be in-person: intelligence, diligence, respectfulness and friendliness.  So act accordingly, and you’re sure to do just fine.

– Dan Lothringer
Dan is a contributing writer for

One Response to “Video Interviews: Tips and Tricks”

  1. John Lenox

    Good advice. Also remember important rules about distractions for the interviewer; i.e. no movement of anything (aside yourself) in their field of view.

    John Lenox


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