Video Interviews: How to Prepare, What to Wear & How to Stand Out

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Depending on the company you apply to, you may be asked to give a video interview. In many ways, video interviews are similar to in-person interviews, but there are a few key differences. In this article, we will discuss what a video interview is and how to prepare for one. 

What is a video interview?

A video interview is a remote interview. Most video interviews are live, which means you have a real-time conversation with the hiring manager, though some companies may use a recorded format. 

For a recorded video interview, the company sends a candidate a list of questions. The candidate can read the questions, film responses, and then send the video to the employer for review. In other situations, the candidate will record themselves reading the interview questions and responding with a limited amount of time in between. 

In some situations, you may have a video interview in an office. If the company has multiple locations, you may have an in-person interview with an on-site employee, then a video interview with a manager in another office. 

Many companies conduct video interviews because they are convenient. If a candidate lives across the country, an employer can perform a video interview instead of spending money on transportation and accommodation. Video interviews also help candidates save on commute time.

Other companies conduct video interviews out of necessity. For example, online-based companies need to conduct remote interviews since there is no physical office. 

How to prepare for a video interview

Follow these four steps to prepare for a video interview:

  1. Select the right interview area
  2. Test your technology
  3. Dress appropriately
  4. Practice

1. Select the right interview area

There are four things you can do to prepare your interview space:

  • Choose a quiet area free from distractions. Try to find a room in which you can close the door so you can maintain focus during the interview. 
  • Make sure your interview area is tidy. The space should be free of clutter so the interviewer gathers a positive image of your environment. A clean space may make you feel more comfortable as well. 
  • Your lighting should be bright so the hiring manager can see you clearly. Try to avoid a glare on your screen. 
  • Find a chair you can sit in comfortably for at least an hour. 

2. Test your technology

Since it is a video interview, you will need to make sure your computer and internet function correctly. Follow this checklist to ensure your video interview is smooth:

  • Some businesses may require you to use videoconferencing software. Download or install any software you need well in advance, and test it to ensure it works correctly. 
  • If you are using a tablet or laptop, you should charge it fully prior to the interview. You can also keep the charging cord plugged in if it’s convenient. 
  • Situate your webcam so you can make eye contact with the interviewer. Your webcam needs to be at or slightly above eye level so you can look directly into it instead of at the person on your screen.
  • Perform some basic pre-interview technology checks. Make sure your camera and microphone work properly and that your internet connection is strong. You can video call a trusted friend or family member to ensure everything is functioning. 
  • Turn off your phone and any computer notification systems. This will ensure that no distracting noises happen in the middle of the interview. 

3. Dress appropriately

Your appearance can make an impression on the hiring manager regardless of the setting. When choosing an outfit, you should select one that you would wear to an in-person interview. It is best if you feel comfortable in your clothing so you can focus on forming effective responses to interview questions. 

4. Practice

Like you would for an in-person interview, prepare for a video interview by reviewing common questions and planning answers. Consider questions the interviewer might ask about your resume, qualifications or work samples. If this is an initial interview, they may ask about your available start date and salary requirements. 

You can keep a notebook beside you with an outline of your talking points. It can also be useful to take notes during the interview for future reference. When you send a thank you note, you can reference a specific point from the interview to help you stand out. 

Video interview tips

When preparing for your video interview, consider these tips to make the experience successful:

  • Your body language can make a positive impression on the hiring manager. During your video interview, make sure you sit up straight and keep your shoulders back. Keep your feet flat on the floor or cross your legs.  
  • Maintain eye contact with your interviewer to show you’re interested in the conversation. If you’re using video software that has a self-view window, try to turn off the feature as it could cause a distraction. 
  • You should try to demonstrate your personality. You can use real examples in your interview answers to show how you interact in different situations. This can help the interviewer determine whether you’re a good fit for the company culture. 
  • Remember to smile. When you smile, you show that you are confident and engaged in the discussion. 

A video interview might happen at any point during the hiring process, and you should treat it the same as you would an in-person interview. By preparing your interview space and testing all the electronic elements, you can focus on delivering thorough and thoughtful answers that impress the hiring manager.