Five tips for nailing that video interview

December 8, 2015

Read time 4 min

A video interview can be a daunting experience. Talking to a computer is nothing like speaking with a live person. This, coupled with the fact that, even in today’s age of selfies, few of us are used to seeing a recording of ourselves, can make the whole interview session seem like a harrowing ordeal. That’s why I decided put together a list of a few things to focus on that can make the whole interview a much more pleasant experience.

It’s good to also bear in mind why video interviews are used: professional recruiters can receive a greater amount of applications and, at peak times, scheduling face-to-face meetings can require a significant amount of work. Video interviews allow the recruiter to kick-start the recruitment pipeline process. This means that if you’ve received an invite to a video interview, you can already pat yourself on the back – obviously the recruiter is interested in hearing more about you! Now all you need to do is remember these five tips for how to nail a video interview, and you’re sure to make a good impression!

1. Check your gear

Before starting, take a quick glance over your shoulder: how will those dirty dishes behind you contribute to your overall appearance? It should be pretty easy to find a solid-colored wall in any ordinary home or office – use that as backdrop instead. Next, make sure there’s enough light in the space you’re recording. Turn on as many lights as necessary to achieve good overall lighting.

Once you’re satisfied with the visuals, record a short test clip with your computer or smartphone. Is the audio okay? Adjust levels if necessary, or find a different room if there’s too much echo or background noise. It is imperative that your speech is intelligible. If you’re experiencing any technical issues at this point, make sure to contact your recruiter. They’ll help you sort out any issues or suggest a workaround.

2. Relax, take it nice and slow

A live broadcast can be extremely difficult, even for seasoned veterans. Thankfully, all video interview platforms allow an unlimited amount of retakes. A good technique is to first listen all the way through the question, then draft your answer using pen and paper or a text editor. Pick three or four key points to highlight. This’ll help you focus and stick to the point in your answer. It’s a good idea to place your notes next to the webcam while recording, so you’re not relying on memory alone.

3. Keep it concise

At this point, it should already be quite clear to you what you’re going to say. Go ahead, press that red button and record your answer! This shouldn’t take more than 1 to 2 minutes. If you’re way past this length, double-check your answers with an eye for detail. Are all the details relevant in conveying your message? It only takes six words to tell a story, so there’s really no reason you can’t get your point across in fewer words as well!

4. Do a retake if needed

Now take a good look at the video you just recorded. Forgot what you were trying to say? A sudden cough took you by surprise? No problem, you can always do as many retakes as you like. This really is the best feature of video interviews, and you should take full advantage of it.

5. Don’t forget to smile

While it’s never a good idea to flat-out lie to your interviewer, you can certainly do that to yourself. Focus on having good posture, and flex those cheek muscles! This is a way of telling your body you’re enjoying the situation, and that’s something that will definitely come across in your video. Let’s make this an enjoyable experience together!

Don’t forget to bring your own personality into play. Even though this isn’t Comedy Central, there’s no reason to be too serious. I’ve seen my share of juggling, guitar wizardry, cats and Rubik speedcubing, and they always manage to put a smile on my face!

With these five tips, you should now be ready for your video interview. Once again, you’ve already made your way past that first step. Now focus on your presentation, and the position is yours!

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