Skip to main content

5 things you must do to prepare for a video job interview

Get ready for the interviewer to see a lot more than just your resume.

5 things you must do to prepare for a video job interview

Video interviews can be a great way to connect with a potential employer without having to travel, but they are full of potential pitfalls. So if you’re asked to participate in a video interview, you’ll want to make sure you’re ready.

Here are five things you must do to prepare for a video interview.

1. Check your tech

Familiarize yourself with your webcam and microphone so you know how they work. “Make sure that your audio and video come through clearly and that there are no technical issues on your end that would hinder your interview,” says Cheryl Palmer, owner of Call to Career.

“Also, the camera should be at eye-level so that you are looking directly into the camera,” she explains. “It won't make a good first impression if you are seen as looking down or looking up when speaking.”

2. Prep your surroundings

You may think the only thing the people on the other end of a video interview can see is your face, but they will see some of your surroundings too, Palmer says. “The room that you are in should look neat and attractive and not be visually distracting. You also need to avoid any auditory distractions such as a barking dog or a crying child.” Also be sure to turn off the ringers of all the phones in the area.

“Mistakes we've seen include video interviews recorded in a coffee shop with a very noisy background or in a bedroom with dirty laundry scattered on the floor,” says Michael Yinger, Aon Hewitt's global lead for recruitment process outsourcing delivery. “We've seen interviewees dressed in a robe and children playing in the vicinity. We've also seen a partially clad spouse running behind the person recording the interview.”

3. Look at your lighting

Put a light behind your computer so your face is illuminated, Palmer says, and avoid casting shadows on your face. “You should also keep in mind that the lighting can make your face shiny, so make sure that you powder your face lightly (even if you're a man),” she says.

4. Dress to impress

It may be tempting to go pantsless just to say you did, but it’s not a good idea. “Even though you are not interviewing for the position in person, appearance still matters,” Palmer says. “When interviewing for a professional position, you should still dress in a suit even though only your top will be seen.”

5. Sit where you can speak freely

Don’t try to do a video interview from your current job if they don’t know you’re looking at new opportunities. John Jakovenko, principal at the Jakovenko Group, says he had to sit through a video interview from a candidate who was hiding in a conference room and didn’t turn on the camera.

“This effectively turned the video interview into an awkward phone conversation where the interviewer was visible, but the candidate was not,” he says. “The candidate was whispering so their employer didn't find out they were interviewing. This demonstrated that candidate did not have the courtesy to interview for another job offsite, and seemed to lack the technological skills to operate a webcam.”