How to succeed in a video interview

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published On: 11 Mar 2020

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Video interviews have become a popular recruitment tool over the years, and they have various benefits to both jobseekers and the hiring company.  For example, location can sometimes be an issue for candidates and freelancers wanting to work for a certain company. If they are looking to work from home in the long-term having this tool available can really help determine if it is viable in the long run. Also, for some candidates it gives them the option of getting a feel for the company before they invest money and time into travelling to said company. Video interviews are often quick and easy but can worry some people if they are not familiar with them. Often, the idea itself is scarier that the actual interview. So being prepared will help calm your nerves if you are planning your first video interview.

How to succeed

Have a quiet and well-lit place ready and available – Ideally, you want to be thinking about a quiet place to hold the interview before the day actually arrives. You need to take a lot into consideration. Is the place going to be quiet? Is light going to reflect onto my computer screen, tablet or mobile? If you think about these factors before you answer the call, the process is likely to be a lot smoother.  

Test your technology – Another thing that is very important to check before the day is your technology. It’s important to check whether you have the right software on your device, not every recruiter will use the same apps so make sure you find out and make sure you have the right contact details before the call is supposed to take place. You also want to check the other features on the device you will be using. You want to ensure that your camera, microphone and internet connection are all working. These are so important in a video interview and without them it’s incredibly difficult to have a successful interview.

Prepare yourself – Just like any other interview, you want to be well prepared. Make sure you do your research. This will mean you have a good amount of knowledge on the company and you can use this to think of any questions that you might want to ask them. It can be easier to think of questions if you know a little more about the company. Like any interview, you can have your notes with you if needed, this could include your CV and any questions you have noted down. However, make sure that you have gone over your notes a few times before the interview, you don’t want to spend the entire time looking down at your notes, it will be very noticeable. Try and be discreet about it and keep eye contact, in the same way that you would in a face-to-face interview.

Dress professionally – I wouldn’t recommend going for the half-dressed look. Even though it is very unlikely that the person on your screen will see below your waist, having the half pyjama look isn’t always as good as it may seem. You wouldn’t turn up in person wearing your favourite fluffy slippers, so don’t do it in this situation. You want to feel confident as well as look confident, so it’s always best to get ready in the same way you would for a face to face interview. Get up, eat a good breakfast and dress for the job you want. You will see the positive benefits it can have on your performance.

Make sure there are no distractions – You want to try and prepare yourself for any situation. It’s always best if you can avoid any problems to make the interview go as smooth as possible. Try and make sure that you have a quiet room for yourself and make sure that if anyone else is going to be nearby, that they know you are busy. Make sure you keep windows shut, TV’s off and try and keep the room as quiet as possible. There are some factors you can’t control, like outside noise, but that shouldn’t have too much of an impact. Make sure all of your other tabs or apps have been shut down as well so you can just focus on the person you are talking too.


Have a practice run – Before you tackle the video interview, you may want to have a practice run to ensure that you are comfortable in front of the camera. Maybe try and record yourself sharing a work pitch and watch it back to see what you could improve. A little practice and even sharing it with friends can help you feel more comfortable when it comes to your interview.

Try not to interrupt – When you’re talking over the phone or via a video interview it can be hard to determine when someone has finished talking or not. Try and look for simple indicators to see if the interviewer is ready to talk or finished talking. You should also consider the lag. Try taking a small break after they have asked you a question before answering to ensure that you are not talking over them. It is something you will get the hang of it as the interview goes on.  

What I have described is a typical video interview, where you will be talking directly to an interviewer of some sort. However, not all video interviews will be exactly like this. They may ask you to send in a video where you answer their questions without them present, or automated interviews are becoming very popular. This is where you the questions will have been pre-recorded, so you won’t be talking to another person, simply an automated system. Which ever your situation, the advice can still be relevant.

In whichever situation you find yourself in, remember to stay calm and make sure you have everything you need in the room with you before you answer the call. It might be best to have a glass of water, your notes and anything else that may take some of the pressure off. However, there is only so much you can do to prepare for this, not everything is in your control, just do your best and treat it like any other interview.