December 2, 2023

9 Tips for a Successful Video Interview

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Video interview is here to stay and has become a standard part of the recruitment process. For some jobs, it has replaced the initial phone interview. For others, it is how hiring is now done.

It’s 11 a.m., and John races home from the grocery store for his upcoming video job interview. At first, he thought there would be ample time for a quick errand run before returning home for the call. But life had other plans for him.

With just 10 minutes to spare, John scurried around his living room, dragging extension cords over coffee tables to power up his laptop, all while trying to keep a wailing toddler and a hungry dog at bay. Donning his half-crumpled ‘winning’ work shirt, he joined the video call five minutes late, preluding his introduction with rounds of profuse apologies. The interview was nothing short of a disaster.

Now, you might be thinking, ‘How can one prepare for a Video Job Interview?’

Evolution of Video Interviews

Prior to COVID-19, most job interviews were face-to-face meetings and for good reasons. First, initial interviews were conducted over the phone. But after some basic shortlisting, you would meet the candidate in person. You get to read more into a person’s non-verbal communication.

The pandemic pushed different facets of business operations into the online world, especially meetings. Quickly, all interviews were conducted online too… first and subsequent interviews. 

Prioritise Professionalism

In the digital age where most of our waking hours are spent on screens, video job interview offers convenience, save time, and allow both employers and job seekers to connect without geographical constraints. 

However, ensuring a successful video job interview goes beyond having the right technical equipment. It involves preparing your environment to project professionalism and build a strong emotional connection with the potential employer. 

It’s about making that first impression count every second you have the chance to whether online or offline. Here are some essential steps on how to prepare for a video interview. You will find most tips for a Zoom job interview are very similar to the tips for a recorded video interview. 

Point to Remember: Preparation is the Key to Your Success!

Here are 9 video interview tips:

1. Picking the Right Space

Preparing for a video interview must start with your choice of location. It plays a pivotal role in setting the tone for the interaction. Here is what you should consider:

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Quiet and Well-Lit Room: Choose a quiet, well-lit room that provides you with minimal distractions. Natural light is the best choice, as it presents a warm and professional appearance. Ensure that your background is clean and clutter-free. Place your front facing the light source, not the back.  

Professional-Looking Background: The background behind you should be neat and professional. Avoid busy, distracting backgrounds or personal items that might reveal too much about your life. A plain wall, bookshelves, or a virtual background can work well. But do avoid distracting filters that might just filter out the professionalism from your first impression!

Ensure that your background is clean and clutter-free. Place your front facing the light source, not the back.
Ensure that your background is clean and clutter-free. Place your front facing the light source, not the back.

2. Dress the Part

Dressing appropriately for a video interview is just as crucial as for an in-person one. Here is how to make sure you are presenting yourself in the best possible way:

Professional Attire: Dress as you would for an in-person interview. Choose professional clothing that is appropriate for the role for which you are interviewing. Solid, muted colours work well on camera and avoid patterns that might be distracting.

Grooming: Pay attention to your grooming, ensuring your hair, makeup, or facial hair is well-kempt. This conveys mindfulness and professionalism. If you speak using hand gestures, pay attention to your fingernails too!

Your grooming conveys mindfulness and professionalism.
Your grooming conveys mindfulness and professionalism.

3. Testing & Setup

Technical issues can derail a video interview, making a bad first impression. To avoid these problems, follow these steps:

Equipment Check: Test your equipment, including your camera, microphone, and speakers, beforehand. Ensure that your internet connection is stable. Use a trusted platform such as Zoom, Skype, Google Meets, or Microsoft Teams, and update the software if necessary.

Camera Placement: Position your camera at eye level or slightly above. This angle is more flattering and creates a more engaging visual connection. Use a tripod, stack of books, or any stable surface to achieve the right height.

Sound Quality: Use headphones with a built-in microphone to reduce background noise and ensure clear communication. Find a quiet room where you will not be interrupted by household noises.

Lighting: Invest in good lighting. Position yourself facing a natural light source, or use soft, diffuse artificial lighting. Avoid strong backlighting that might cast you in shadows.

Backup equipment: Good tips for a successful virtual interview must include having backup equipment. Things can go wrong even with all that testing. If possible, have a backup laptop, tablet, or smartphone.  

4. Non-Verbal Communication

Video interviews can sometimes feel disconnected, so it is essential to convey warmth and engagement through your body language:

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Maintain Eye Contact: Look directly into the camera when speaking to simulate eye contact with the interviewer. Avoid looking at your video feed or your notes for extended periods.

Posture: Sit up straight with your shoulders back, conveying confidence and professionalism. Be aware of any distracting habits such as fidgeting or excessive hand movements.

Facial Expressions: Smile when appropriate, and maintain a friendly, approachable demeanour throughout the interview.

5. Prepare Your Notes

Unlike in-person interviews, you can have your notes and information handy during a video interview. Use this advantage to your benefit:

Prepare a Cheat Sheet: Create a list of key points, experiences, and examples that you want to mention during the interview. Keep it concise, so you do not appear to be reading off a script.

Research the Company: Have information about the company and the role you are applying for readily available. This will help you answer questions more confidently and show your genuine interest.

Have your notes and information handy during a video interview
Have your notes and information handy during a video interview

6. Practice Makes Perfect

Before the actual interview, practice with a friend or family member to get comfortable with the format. Pay attention to your speaking pace, clarity, and content. Enunciate and avoid rambling on. Be concise in your replies. Carefully craft your sentences if you have challenges extemporising fluidly. And finally, ask for feedback on your video and audio quality.

Also, practice in front of a mirror. Try to pick up idiosyncratic mannerisms that would be “unnatural”, annoying or depict a lack of confidence. You could be waving your hands or frowning subconsciously. 

7. Be Emotionally Intelligent

Emotional intelligence (EI) is vital during any interview. Your ability to understand and manage your own emotions while empathising with the interviewer’s needs can set you apart. Here are a few tips:

Active Listening

Show that you are actively listening by nodding and providing verbal cues. Encourage the interviewer to share more by asking open-ended questions. Mirror what the interviewer said by repeating the last 3 words (or the critical one to three words). 

For instance, “We’re the largest manufacturer in the world”

“In the world?”

 It shows that you are paying attention


Be empathetic to the interviewer’s situation. Understand that they might be conducting multiple interviews and may have their stressors. Be patient and considerate.

Try to label what you think the interviewer might be feeling with “It seems like…” statements.

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“It seems like you’ve had a long day

“It seems like you value active feedback for this role


Display enthusiasm for the role and the company by smiling. Employers want to hire individuals who are genuinely excited to contribute to the organization. Smiling puts all parties at ease and also makes the interview experience pleasant for the interviewer. Give a natural smile to create a positive rapport.

A natural smile creates positive rapport
A natural smile creates positive rapport

Be Authentic

All candidates are vying for the job position and will be putting their best foot forward in the interviews. Employers know that. They have their authenticity radars turned on to sieve through the candidates who are being their true selves, from the ones who aren’t.

Think of it this way, a good job is worth staying for many years. Be the best version of yourself and present yourself honestly and authentically. It’s better to know early on than to work there for 6 months and find out you don’t fit in the culture.

8. Minimise Distractions

During the interview, ensure minimal interruptions:

Silence Notifications: Turn off any notification sounds on your computer or mobile device to avoid distractions.

Family and Pets: Inform family members or housemates of your interview time, and if possible, keep pets in another room to prevent unexpected disruptions.

Turn off your phone during an interview
Turn off your phone during an interview

9. A Thank-You Email

Our video interview tips would not be complete without mentioning a follow-up email.

After the interview, send a thank-you email expressing your gratitude for the opportunity. Mention specific points discussed during the interview to reinforce your interest and engagement. You can also answer difficult interview questions if you feel it needs further emphasis. 

Be sure to also provide alternative contact details. 

In Summary

There you have it, 9 tips for a successful video interview. Video job interviews have become an integral part of the modern job search process. To increase your chances of success, it is crucial to prepare your environment, both physically and emotionally. By selecting the right space, dressing professionally, and using the right technical setup, you can make a positive first impression. Additionally, practising your communication skills, maintaining emotional intelligence, and following up with a thank-you email can set you apart from other candidates. 

With the right preparation, you can make your video interview a successful stepping stone toward your dream job. If you need help, feel free to reach out here. Good luck!