Mastering Video Interviews: How To Prepare And Best Practices

Let’s face it, video interviews feel like having a first date while trying to sell a used car – awkward yet crucial. Gone are the days of firm handshakes and walking confidently into an impressive office; now, it’s you, your webcam, and the silent prayer that your internet doesn’t bail. This blog aims to equip you with the must-know tips and tricks to turn that video interview from a daunting hurdle to your personal stage.

By the end of this read, you’ll have a solid game plan on how to impress your future employers from the comfort of your home office. No fluff, just the good stuff.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Design a professional-looking interview space with good lighting to make a strong visual impression.
  • Dress fully and appropriately in business casual attire to convey seriousness about the opportunity.
  • Perform a technical run-through of your webcam, mic, and internet connection to avoid disruptive glitches.

What Can You Do to Prepare Your Space for a Video Interview?

Let’s cut to the chase—you want your video interview space to scream professionalism, not whisper chaos. A cluttered, busy background can be a visual distraction and subtly communicate disorganization. So, first things first, find yourself a calm, clutter-free zone. Think of a blank wall or a neatly-organized bookshelf. If you’re in a pinch, virtual backgrounds can save the day, but nothing beats authenticity.

Lighting deserves a moment in the spotlight here. Your face should be clearly visible, without any harsh shadows. Place a soft light source in front of you, ideally right behind your webcam. This setup avoids the dreaded silhouette effect that happens when you’re backlit. Natural light works wonders, but ensure it’s facing you. A cost-effective hack? YouTube DIYers swear by ring lights for an even, flattering illumination.

How Should You Dress for a Video Interview?

Ever heard the saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”? It’s golden advice, even for video interviews. This is not the time to sport your favorite “Netflix and Chill” outfit. Your attire sends a powerful message about how seriously you take the opportunity.

For men and women alike, aim for business casual as your safe bet. That means a neat blouse or shirt, possibly paired with a blazer. Solid colors look better on camera than busy patterns. Oh, and please, dress completely. You might think a professional top and pajama bottoms are fine (who’s going to see, right?), but if you need to stand up for any reason, you’re in for an embarrassing surprise.

What Are the Technical Check-Ups You Need Before the Interview?

You wouldn’t run a marathon without a few warm-up laps, so don’t dive into your video interview without a technical check-up. Here’s a quick run-through to ensure you’re not caught off guard:

  • Test Your Webcam and Microphone : Nothing’s worse than a pixelated face or choppy audio. Use tools like Skype’s Echo / Sound Test Service or Zoom’s test meeting ( to assess quality. And, if you find your laptop’s built-in cam or mic lacking, consider a USB plug-in webcam or headset microphone as an upgrade.

  • Internet Stability is Key : An unstable connection can turn your interview into an unintended game of “guess the word”. Conduct a speed test (e.g., Speedtest by Ookla) well before your interview. If your WiFi is unreliable, a direct ethernet connection might be your best bet.

  • Familiarize Yourself with the Video Conferencing Tool : Whether it’s Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or another platform, take it for a test drive. Know how to mute/unmute yourself, turn your camera on/off, and share your screen. A pro tip that most forget: Ensure your username is professional—first and last name or a variation thereof is about right.

By handling these logistics ahead of time, you’re paving the way for a smoother, more impressive interview experience. Remember, the devil is in the details, and overlooking these could cost you a shot at your dream job. So, gear up, get prepared, and knock that video interview out of the park!

How Can You Practice Your Responses to Common Interview Questions?

Mastering the art of responding to common interview questions doesn’t happen overnight. It’s about practice, and then more practice. First off, make yourself a list of questions that are frequently asked in interviews within your industry. Then, adopt a three-step process to refine your answers: jot down, rehearse, and refine.

  1. Jot Down: Write brief answers to each question to organize your thoughts.
  2. Rehearse: Practice saying your responses out loud. This could be in front of a mirror, recorded on your phone, or with a trusted friend acting as the interviewer.
  3. Refine: Adjust your answers based on feedback or self-evaluation for clarity and impact.

And here’s the kicker, focus on how you deliver your answers: – Speak Clearly and Measuredly: Ensure your pacing allows the interviewer to grasp each word. Avoid rushing. – Look at the Camera: It simulates eye contact, making the interaction feel more personal and engaged. – Show Active Listening: Nod and smile when appropriate. This indicates you’re fully engaged in the conversation.

A unique tip is to use storytelling in your responses. Not only does it make your answer memorable, but it also showcases your communication skills. For example, when asked about problem-solving, share a brief story about how you resolved a challenging issue at work, highlighting your thought process and the outcome.

What Tips Can Help You Stay Calm and Collected During the Interview?

Navigating the waves of nervousness in a video interview is a common challenge. Here’s how to maintain your composure:

  • Deep Breathing: Simple, yet effective. A deep breath can reset your nervous system and help calm your nerves.
  • Glass of Water: Keep it nearby. Taking a sip can give you a moment to collect your thoughts.
  • Mock Interviews: Practice with a friend. It’s a rehearsal that can help you anticipate questions and refine your answers under pressure.

Additionally, familiarize yourself with the technology in advance. Ensure your internet connection is stable, and the video and audio settings on your computer are properly configured. This reduces the panic of technical difficulties.

A less commonly suggested yet highly effective method is the power of visualization. Spend some time visualizing a successful interview, seeing yourself answering questions confidently, and engaging positively with the interviewer. This mental rehearsal can significantly impact your confidence level.

How to Follow Up After a Video Interview?

The follow-up is an integral part of the interview process that can set you apart:

  • Send a Thank-You Email: Ideally, within 24 hours post-interview. Keep it concise, express gratitude for the opportunity, and reiterate your interest in the position.
  • Personal Touch: Reference a specific moment or discussion point from the interview. It shows you were engaged and valued the conversation.
  • Feedback Request: If you’re not selected, politely asking for feedback demonstrates your commitment to professional growth.

Here’s a unique tip: In your thank-you email, include a brief “value statement”. Write a sentence or two about how your skills and experiences align with the company’s goals and how you can contribute to their success. It’s a courteous reminder of your worth and fit for the role.

Following these thoughtful strategies can amplify your chances of making a lasting impression, setting the stage for future opportunities. Remember, the goal is not only to land the job but also to build meaningful professional relationships along the way.

  • Alex Mitch

    Hi, I'm the founder of! Having been in finance and tech for 10+ years, I was surprised at how hard it can be to find answers to common questions in finance, tech and business in general. Because of this, I decided to create this website to help others!