Tips For Preparing for a Video Interview

Tips For Preparing for a Video Interview

Using technology to remotely participate in a video interview, a virtual interview, or a job interview is becoming commonplace. Instead of an in-person meeting, the candidate and hiring manager will connect online with the help of video software. 

You will need a computer for this meeting that comes with an external or built-in microphone or video camera. You will also require a reliable internet connection and may wish to include headphones. 

The video interview format follows the style of a regular in-person interview however, there are some simple things to consider. Here are some tips to help you prepare in advance for your video interview.       `

Test your Technology in Advance

Since technical skills are one of the most sought-after competencies that employers are seeking in new hires, your hiring manager will be able to assess your capabilities easily during a virtual interview setup.

Test your equipment before the call begins to avoid any embarrassing glitches. If there is muffled audio or grainy visuals, you may use this opportunity to invest in a microphone or an external webcam. Ensure your internet connection is secure too. Dropping your interview midway or having your conversation freeze is not going to work in your favor. 

Steps for Mastering the Virtual Interview

You will likely have to navigate video meetings as a professional in the job market at some point. Taking the proper steps to prepare can make all the difference in your success and enhance your chance to secure the job. Some helpful tips inlcude:

Arrive Dressed for Success

Projecting professionalism goes beyond your email address and username.

Your first impression is made within the first few seconds. Ensure that you project your best self by wearing something appropriate and dressy. Even though this is a virtual meeting, you want to appear as though you are ready to step into a live meeting. 

Choose your top business attire. Experts say that picking jewel tones offers the ideal saturation for every skin tone. This will help you look your best and avoid being washed out if you are within less than desirable lighting.

Skip the flashy patterns and bold accessories. You don't want to divert attention to your wardrobe. Your interviewer should be focusing on your skills and what you have to offer, not your wardrobe. 

Maintain A Professional Virtual Identity

Your first impression nowadays is often your username or your email address. Don't be applying to jobs with your silly high-school nickname or an unprofessional handle. You don't want to give the wrong idea to your hiring manager, no matter how hilarious the name might be. 

Choose simple usernames and email addresses. Think of a variety of combinations with your first, middle and last names. You may want to consider industry names and add your favorite numbers. Avoid using the number zero and one since they look like letters and can create unintentional confusion. 

Remove Distractions & Be Focused

Virtual interviews come with a slew of distractions you wouldn’t normally have to deal with when you travel into an employer’s office. Be sure to do what you can to eliminate these potential interruptions on your end before beginning the video call.

In-person interviews are typically conducted in a manager's office. Virtual interviews can host a variety of new distractions to be aware of. Avoid these problems ahead of time by having your cell phone in another room and letting anyone else in the house know you will be online and busy for a bit. 

You don't want to be distracted by other people or pets while you are attending your interview. Keep the TV turned off and consider closing your window if you live on a busy street so that sirens and helicopters are not creating unwelcome background noise. 

Create a Background Set

Your background needs to be professional for your virtual interview. Try to establish yourself in front of a plain background to ensure that you are the focal point. If you don't have any empty walls at your disposal, try moving your laptop to your living room or your office if you want to establish a more professional atmosphere. 

Check your webcam view to ensure that your space is refreshing and clean behind you. If you have a disheveled background or a messy coffee table in view, your hiring manager may notice. Alternatively, if your background is sparkling and tidy, they will surely appreciate how detail-oriented and uncluttered you are. 

Consider your lighting needs. If possible, choose to sit beside a window to keep the light in front of you. This will help you look less washed out. If your interview is taking place at night, try different lamps to create the right ambiance that is still bright and professional. 

Be Aware Of Your Body Language

Obviously, there will be no strong handshake to greet your employer with during a virtual interview. Be sure to use your body language to showcase your enthusiasm and confidence. Smile, sit up straight and don't slouch. Have your camera situated at eye level so that you are not looking up or down. 

If you maintain eye contact during your interview, you will be more memorable to the employer. Focus your eyes on the camera instead of the hiring manager's screen while you are speaking. 

A helpful tip is to utilize Post-it notes to have your talking points ready. Post them on your computer to prevent you from looking down at your notes or clicking online while you are on the call. 

Practice Answering Popular Interview Questions 

Of course, there is no crystal ball regarding which questions your hiring manager will ask. However, many follow a common list and it is easy to prepare in advance. Check out the following questions to practice:

What Are Your Salary Requirements? 

Speaking about the financial details can feel daunting and intimidating for some. Any salary negotiation takes preparation. Rely on websites like, PayScale and Glassdoor to determine the average wage for the position you are applying for. Match that salary with your experience, education and skills to figure out a pay range that you are comfortable with. 

It is always easier to negotiate lower so use the higher end of the pay scale to start. If the amount they offer is not feasible, but you really want this job, ask what kinds of flexibility they offer with healthcare, professional development growth, vacation time, benefits and retirement. 

Tell Me Why You Are Leaving Your Current Job? 

Be sure to answer this question thoughtfully and respectfully. This isn't the time to bash your employer or speak badly about people. Focus on the positive aspects that the position you are interviewing for will provide and list some of the skills that were mentioned in the job description that you are hoping to develop.

Give Reasons Why We Should We Hire You? 

It is easy to become intimidated by this answer. Utilize this as a chance to emphasize your strengths and the experience that you will be bringing to the job. Share the results you have proven you can offer. Keep some Post-It notes handy to help you smoothly answer these questions concisely. This will allow you to feel better prepared in case the interviewer brings up these questions. 

Allow the conversation to flow naturally and try not to sound like a robot. If you have been rehearsing your answers, they may come across as forced. 

Lastly, have some questions of your own prepared to ask the hiring manager. 

Describe Your Weaknesses

Employers want you to offer a true self-assessment here. This is the chance for you to share a negative problem that you turned around into something positive. For instance, if you are not great at delegating items and tend to take on all the work yourself, share this experience while adding what ideas you have put into place to become a better leader. 

Learning how to ask for help when you need it and to stop micromanaging details are things that every successful leader needs to learn. Don't waste your time telling them your biggest fault is that "I care too much about my job." 

Remember To Follow Up After Your Interview

Think of your video interview the same as an in-person interview. Be sure to follow up within 24 hours of your meeting by sending an email to the person you spoke with. Take the time to thank them for speaking with you. 

If there is anything you preferred to elaborate on or answer differently during the interview, you can use this chance to clarify. However, keep the email professional and concise.