7 tips to ace your video interviews



Video interviews are handy. Not only can you do one from the comfort of your own home, but you also save the money you would’ve spent on travel and a sausage roll.

Video interviews have been seriously useful for businesses during the pandemic, allowing them to continue hiring in spite of restrictions. However, they aren’t new. Video interviews have been around longer than you might think…

The first video conference call happened over 50 years ago. Using the Picturephone Mod I, the call took place on June 30th 1970 between Pittsburgh Mayor Peter Flaherty and Alcoa CEO John Harper.

We’ve put together seven tips and tricks to help you prepare for your video interviews and impress potential employers.

Take me straight to the tips!



How do video interviews work?

There are two types of video interviews, live and pre-recorded.

LIVE... You and your interviewer will see each other in real-time via a video platform like Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams.

The rules of an IRL interview still apply, the only difference is the location. 


PRE-RECORDED... Instead of having a two-way conversation, you’ll answer a set of pre-recorded questions. This might happen during the initial application process.


There’s usually a time limit, but most platforms allow you to have 2-3 practice goes and a couple of days before submitting your final answer.

FYI, pre-recorded interviews aren’t always a substitute for doing a live interview, and some companies will ask you to do both.


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Tips and tricks

The more prep you do pre-interview, the more focused you’ll be on the day.

1. Prepare as you would for a face-to-face interview

Remember, a video interview is still a professional interview. So you’ll want to make sure you prepare accordingly.

As always, you should…

  • Research the company.
  • Triple read the job description, noting all the keywords and skills.
  • Pick out key experiences and examples of your skills from your CV/cover letter.
  • Practice, practice, and practice some more!  Call a friend and get them to act as your interviewer. If you’re stuck, we have some examples of interview questions to get you started.
  • Come with questions to ask the employer.

2. Get your tech in order

In the days before your interview, make sure you have all the tech you need.

  • A laptop/desktop computer with a working webcam
  • Power cables for charging
  • A strong internet connection

If you’re doing a pre-recorded interview, you’ll be able to get a couple of practice rounds in before completing the actual interview. That’ll be your chance to make sure everything is in working order before you hit that record button.


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3. Pick your location 

Firstly, don’t do this on the day of your interview. You’ll end up rushing around, which will leave you flustered and distracted.

Instead, pick the location beforehand. Choose somewhere with no distractions, no extra noise, and a neutral background.

Avoid…

  • Locations with a distracting background. An employer wants to see you, not that floor to ceiling Carole Baskin poster…
  • Places where the WiFi doesn’t reach or is noticeably weaker.
  • Bad lighting. Find a place where you’re able to sit near a window. If not, a room with a strong light source will do.

4. Dress to impress

Completing an apprenticeship application form in your fave PJs? Absolutely. Wearing your fave PJs for a video interview? Absolutely never.

Choose something you would wear if the interview was face-to-face. A smart top and jogging bottoms won’t look good if you need to stand up, no matter how comfortable they are. 

Have you ever watched TV and seen the weird strobe effect that happens when someone wears stripes? It can happen with webcams too. So try and avoid stripes or patterns.


5. Be early and relaxed

Punctuality is an instant tick in any interviewer’s book.

Think about giving yourself a routine for the day. It’ll help your mind relax before the interview…

  • Wake up early
  • Shower and get dressed
  • Have breakfast and make your favourite hot drink
  • Log in at least 30 minutes before the interview - that way, if there are any issues, you have time to sort them out
  • Make sure your laptop is set up in your chosen location, fully charged, webcam-ready and connected to the internet
  • Join the meeting a few minutes before your interview starts

6. Stay engaged

Do everything you would do if the interview was in person. Generally, you should nod, smile and interact as much as possible to show you are present and listening.

  • Say hello to everyone there (you might have more than one interviewer)
  • Sit in a comfortable chair that supports your back
  • Be aware that any sound you make will likely get picked up by your microphone, so avoid any unnecessary paper rustling or pen clicking
  • Actively look at your webcam when answering questions to ensure you’re making eye contact
  • Finally, don’t be scared to ask the interviewer to repeat a question. If you can’t hear or miss something, just ask!

7. Take it in your stride

Sometimes the internet will internet, and things might go wrong. That’s okay. It’s expected. What matters most is how you react.

  • Firstly, let the interviewer know if you’re anticipating any potential interruptions. For example, the boiler person is round, or your next door neighbours are building a three-storey conservatory complete with jacuzzi. Either way, letting them know before you begin is courteous
  • Don't panic if you have a rubbish internet connection or the call cuts out! Instead, play it cool and treat it as a test of your adaptability
  • And if you’re interrupted by the doorbell, ignore it unless it seems urgent, and then simply ask to be excused

Remember, even if it is virtual, a video interview is your chance to get to know the company you might be working for. So take the opportunity to ask ALL the questions.