Interviewing over video – how to make a good impression to a potential employer

COVID-19 has seen a surge in people using video conferencing technology to conduct meetings over the internet.  So much so that this has now extended to job interviews being held remotely during a period of lockdown.  As restrictions on our movement ease, the use of video interviewing is however unlikely to disappear.  Therefore, it is important to take some time to ensure you are fully prepared.

Why do employers use video interviews?

Now that most people have easy access to technology, video interviews can be a good way for employers to assess skills and qualities before inviting candidates to meet face-to-face. Speaking to someone who’s not in the same room as you can seem strange, but don’t feel daunted. Whether you’re interviewing in-person or remotely, the conversation is likely to follow the same format and you’ll be able to prepare in the same way. There are just a few things to bear in mind.

Preparing for a video interview 

Before you accept an invitation to attend a video interview, it’s worth checking what employers are looking for. You may be invited to a ‘live’ conversation with a company using software platforms like Zoom, Jitsi or Skype, or you might need to create a pre-recorded film. Graduate recruiters, for example, may ask candidates applying for competitive roles to record themselves answering set questions. With both of these types of interviews, you’ll need to consider how to present yourself on camera.

Think about what to wear 

Don’t be tempted to dress down, video interviews are just as important as interviews in-person, so even though you’re at home you should do everything you can to appear competent and qualified. It can feel strange to meet potential employers in your own environment, so selecting your outfit will help you to prepare mentally. If you’re wondering what to wear, do some research, find out the company dress code on their website and match yourself accordingly.

Consider where to position yourself 

Before your interview, you’ll need to find a quiet, business-like environment where you won’t be interrupted. It’s best to have a good office desk, where you can position your camera so that it’s pointing at a clean and tidy background. Make sure there’s nothing to distract your interviewer, from clutter and mess to bad lighting. Aim to have light pointing at you, instead of behind you, which could create a dark silhouette on-screen. You’ll also need to have your camera pointing at eye level – avoid sitting on a sofa or in a position that creates an unusual camera angle.

Be conscious of your body language 

Try to appear natural and remember to smile – it’s important to show your interviewer that you’re positive about the opportunity you’re applying for. Non-verbal communication can be key when it comes to creating a good impression, so position your camera to give a clear shot of your head and shoulders.

If you’re feeling nervous about appearing on-screen, schedule in some practice beforehand. Don’t be embarrassed to watch yourself back and look for ways that you can improve- you may be surprised to see how you appear. For example, some candidates tend to gesticulate more in order to emphasise certain points. You should keep gestures to a minimum as this can be distracting.

Adopt active listening techniques

If you’ve prepared well, there will be plenty of opportunity to shine. To achieve this, clear the room of distractions and make sure everyone in the house knows not to interrupt. With this type of interview, it can be easy to talk over people, so make sure you interject at the right times and keep your speech articulate. Show that you’ve listened to employers by using phrases like ‘yes’, ‘absolutely’ and ‘I understand’. This will help you avoid awkward silences and keep the conversation flowing.

At the same time, if you haven’t heard something properly, don’t be afraid to clarify. This will show that you’re confident enough to ask questions and respond to what you’ve learnt appropriately. It can be an advantage to have your notes and CV to hand, so try writing down some points to mention in conversation.

Be prepared for technological issues 

This can be the biggest danger with video interviews. For this reason, it’s best to interview at home where you’re able to guarantee a quick and speedy internet connection, rather than in a public space. It’s always good to have a back-up plan if something fails, so test your equipment beforehand and check the microphone. Find out who is making the call, sign in early, and if you have issues during the call, try redialling your interviewer to fix the problem. Finally, you should have a professional screen name, an appropriate photo and tighten your privacy settings.

Embrace technology

Video interviews are convenient for companies and potential employees alike. For job seekers, technology gives an opportunity to interview before or after work, so that vacancies are easily accessible.

At Winning Interviews, we help candidates prepare themselves for a video interview, ensuring that they are able to present themselves incredibly well to a potential employer.  For more information regarding how we can help you, please visit our website:

About the author

Iain Beaumont founded Winning Interviews to help people excel when it comes to pitching themselves for a job.  He has conducted over 200 job interviews and read over 1,000 CVs throughout his career, so knows how to spot talent when it comes along.  By passing on that experience and knowledge, Iain hopes to help other people succeed and get the job they really want

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