Video Interview: A Complete, Step-By-Step Guide

Here’s a complete and comprehensive guide to conducting a video interview.

In our times today, more and more companies are conducting video interviews and practicing social distancing. We anticipate video interviews to be the norm even after we overcome this pandemic of COVID-19.

First and foremost, make sure your technology works!

Technology Checks

During a video interview, companies can see how well candidates can adapt to new technologies. Having poor connection, a slow device, or other technical problems can equate to disqualification.

Therefore, make sure the technology is up to date and fast as lightning. Here are some areas of technology that should be tested prior to video interviews.

The Device

Video Interviews Devices

No doubt, many of us have multiple devices to choose from when participating in video interviews. Devices can include computers, tablets and phones. Choose the device that is the most modern and works best with the video conferencing platform.

Although most will defer to a portable device, it’s recommended to use a device that has the option to connect via direct wire such as cat-5. By doing so, you will ensure you have solid internet connectivity at all times.

Internet Connection

Video Interview  Internet

The fact is, almost everyone has broadband Internet connection. However, be mindful of how you connect and how many other people are using the bandwidth.

For example, are you connected WiFi? How far is the Wifi router from your device? Have you had intermittent WiFi connections in the past? Most importantly, identify the locations of the house that have the strongest signals. If you decide to use WiFi, make sure you reserve this room as your interview location.

Finally, ask everyone in the house to limit internet usage during the interview so you have most of the bandwidth.

Audio & Video

Video Interview microphone

It’s an absolute must that you check the audio and the video of your preferred device. If it’s a computer, make sure the latest drivers are installed and have a test run to ensure everything works fine.

On the other hand, if it’s a mobile device, make sure you close all your apps and use a headset to test the device.

Finally, ensure that the video is working properly and the audio is clear and crisp.

Test The Software Platform

Video Interview Test

Above all, make sure to test and verify that all functions of the software works on your chosen device. Furthermore, it is a great idea to test out the platform with a friend or family member. 

Ask the other person to provide feedback on the quality and overall presentation. In other words, are there technical issues? How is the background and lighting?

Fully Charged 100% Device

Charged Phone

If you decide on a wireless device, make sure the device is 100% charged. Furthermore, it’s always a good idea to completely reboot your system 20 minutes before the interview.

After the reboot, don’t open any applications or programs.

Use A Headset

It is strongly recommended to use a headset for clear and quality audio. Some may think wearing a headset takes away from the professional appearance. In contrary, video conference members today are expected to have a headset in order to ensure proper quality.

On the other hand, if you have a professional microphone that can capture exceptional voice quality, then use it. In most cases, people don’t have professional microphones and it’s not recommended to use the “speakerphone” function of the device.

In summary, you want your voice to be crisp and clear. A headset will take care of this.

Plenty Of Lighting

Video Interview lighting

Whether the lighting is natural or indoor lighting, make sure there is plenty of it. Certainly, first impressions can make or break the interview. Therefore, don’t diminish the first impression with dim lighting.

Subsequently, lighting does a lot to set the professional tone in an interview. Therefore, make sure to have a light stand close by with a bright LED.

Center The Camera (don’t hold mobile devices)

Computer camera

If you decide to use a mobile device, make sure to set it on the table properly. Furthermore, ensure the camera appropriately captures you from chest and above. The key here is to make sure your face is in the center of the picture.

In summary this is not a selfie video interview where the camera is moving around a lot. The participants should have a professional experience during the process.

Choose A Good Location

Video Interview room

Above all, make sure the background looks very professional and not messy. Visit all of the possible rooms and look at each wall. Find one that looks neutral and professional. You’ll know when you see it.

Next, ensure there’s plenty of lighting as we discussed previously.

Furthermore, this place should have absolutely no interruptions from others. No kids, no pets, no distractions at all.

Finally, the Internet connection in this location should be very strong and consistent.

Before The Video Interview

Physically and mentally start preparing for the formal video interview. Take care of personal hygiene and get dressed.

Mentally, focus on the interview and being relaxed. You should be in your ideal location one hour prior to the video interview.

Dress Professionally

Professional male

Video interviews are just like in person interviews. Therefore, approach video interviews as serious as the in-person interviews.

Dressing professionally is an absolute must for these interviews. Regardless of the culture of the company, first impressions are very important.

Therefore, our recommendations are to always wear a suit and tie for men and professional business attire for women.

Most importantly, avoid bright colors that stand out and distracts others. In contrast, the safe approach is to where neutral colors.

Review The Job Description

Video Interview review

It is essential that you understand everything in the job description. Make sure to have a response for every bullet point of the job description.

Practice your response with someone else regarding those bullet points.

Make sure to have a printed copy of the job description handy.

Review Your Resume

Interviewers will ask you to expand on parts of your resume. By reviewing your resume, you will be ready to address any questions the interviewers may have. Similarly, have a printed copy of your resume handy as well.

Have A Notes Sheet

In addition to the job description and your resume, print a sheet with your personal notes about the position. By doing so, you can refer to the notes if needed during the interview.

Join The Call 5 Minutes Early

joining 5 min

A strong rule of thumb is to have the software platform up and ready, ten minutes before the interview. By doing so, you make sure everything is ready to go and there are no unexpected problems at the last minute.

Start logging in five minutes before the interview. This will ensure you’re on time and proficient. In some cases, other participants will already be in. If that’s the case, this would be a great opportunity to introduce yourself and meet the others. Try to have a topic in mind for a basic conversation.

During The Video Interview

Video Interview Durring Interview

Once the interview starts, it’s important to follow a few aspects of professionalism. Here are a few important ones to follow during the video interview.

Have Good Posture

Good posture is a show of professionalism and curiosity. During an interview, having a great posture shows others your attention to the conversation.

First Impressions

First impressions are important to the interview process. This is where everyone gets to meet each other and get exposure to your personality. Then, genuinely smile and greet everyone.

Your appearance and body language are the first impressions everyone will notice. Therefore, dress well, smile and have a good posture.

Maintain Eye Contact

Look directly into the camera and avoid looking away for long periods of time. The participants will be looking at you and you want to make a positive impression.

Eye contact is a form of body language that is very important during communication. To clarify, when someone makes eye contact during a conversation, it shows they are focused and paying attention.

Genuinely Smile

Smiling is another form of physical communication that shows you are a positive person. In general, people feel more welcoming to a person when they are smiling.

When others see you smile, they get a glimpse of your personality. Most importantly, make sure to smile genuinely and not overdo it.

Have A Pleasant Tone Of Voice

The video interview is to get to know you and your personality. Part of that includes the tone of your voice and how pleasant your communication skills are.

Always take time to listen to the speaker and don’t interrupt. When it is your time to speak, speak in a pleasant tone with clear and concise responses.

Sample Questions Asked In A Video Interview

Check our article on 28 winning interview questions to ask candidates for a more comprehensive list.

So, Tell Me About Yourself.

What’s Your Working Style?

Why Did You Leave Your Last Position?

What Interests You The Most About This Position?

What’s The Ideal Manager Like?

Tell Me About a Time You Made a Mistake.

How Do You Prioritize?

Tell Me About a Difficult Situation and What You Did to Solve It.

What Would You Do To Fit In With a New Team?

Can you look at notes during video interview?

It’s acceptable to look at your notes during an interview. However, you should do it in a subtle way when appropriate.

For example, if a questioner asked about something on your resume, you can look at your resume and respond to the questioner. 

On the other hand, if the questionnaire asks about a topic that you should know due to your background, you should not have to look at your notes to answer. For example, network engineers often get asked to name the OSI on model. Therefore, network engineers should have the OSI model memorized and not need to look at notes.

Closing The Video Interview

Video Interview Durring Interview

Close the interview smiling and thanking everyone for taking the time to interview with you. If they allow, ask follow-up questions only pertaining to the position and how you can be successful in it.

Avoid discussing pay and benefits at this stage of the hiring process. By following these tips, you will ensure you have an awesome interview and hopefully land your dream job!