Video interviews: Advice & Tips


Given the current circumstances, we know that the number of people asked to do a video interview will increase, so here are our top tips!

There has been a surge in the number of organisations who have asked their employees to work remotely from home due to the Government advice regarding Covid-19. As there aren’t many organisations working in the office and social distancing means ‘traditional’ interviews aren’t really feasible, video interviews are quickly becoming the norm.

You’ll be pleased to know that video interviews aren’t anything new and most organisations would have used it in the past. It’s important to know that a video interview is nothing to worry about, it’s almost exactly the same as a normal interview! The only difference is rather than it being face to face, you’ll have it via video instead.

We know that not everyone is comfortable being on camera, and we don’t want this to be a problem for you. We also know that with technology comes connectivity problems and time delays. That’s why we’ve put together some advice to help you put your mind at ease and prepare for your video interview.

What types of video interview are there?

Before your interview, make sure that you know what kind of format it will be, as there are two types of video interview.

Live video interviews are similar to a face-to-face interview and you’ll be speaking to an interviewer (or panel of interviewers) in real-time. This means you can talk to someone as you would in an employer’s office and build a relationship with the interviewer.

Pre-recorded video interviews are a little different as you won’t be talking to a real person. The screen will have a list of questions on and then you’ll have to record your answer, often to a time limit.

What platforms are used?

Video interviews can take place on many platforms including Skype, Facetime, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, our GetMyFirstJob video platform or an employer’s own platform. Before the day of your interview, make sure you know what platform the interview will be on so you can test the software that you will be using. Some platforms such as Skype will require you to download the app before joining the call.

What device should I use to do a video interview?

We would advise that you do your best to use a laptop or computer with either a built-in camera, or one that you can attach. This is because it will be easier for you to look at the screen and make it feel more formal. If you don’t have a laptop or computer, you can use a mobile or tablet instead. Although this isn’t the best option for a video interview, it won’t put you at any disadvantage. If you are going to use a mobile or tablet, make sure that you don’t hold your phone throughout the interview; put it on a stand or set it upright.

How can I prepare for any technical issues?

This is difficult to answer, as there are many technical issues that could occur. Before your interview, test your device, camera and the software we have just mentioned. Check that the video and sound quality is good, so the interviewer will be able to see and hear you!

Make sure your device is fully charged (or your computer is plugged in)! Get everything ready about half an hour before, so you’re not flustered just before the interview if you’ve had to run around the house looking for your charger!

Don’t be afraid to let the interviewer know if you’re having technical issues. The interviewer may be able to help you solve the problem, rearrange the call or redial.

Where should I do my video interview?

Make sure that wherever you choose to do your video interview that you are comfortable. You should do your best to find somewhere that is very quiet and you’re not likely to be interrupted or have people walking behind you. If you can, make sure that the background behind you is quite plain, or if it isn’t, make sure it is tidy! You’ll need to make sure the interviewer can see you, so try and make sure you aren’t somewhere dark. Try sitting near to a window, a well-lit room, or set up a lamp near your camera.

What should I wear?

Although you’ll be at home, you shouldn’t be wearing pyjamas. You should wear what you would wear to a normal interview (just not the coat)! As always, you need to give a good first impression, so wear something appropriate and think about how you will look on screen. If you wear something a little too jazzy, the interviewer may not focus on you.

How should I do my video interview?

You should try to sit somewhere, preferable at a desk or table and the camera and screen should be at eye-level. Make sure that you’re comfortable and avoid moving too much. Make sure you try and make good eye contact; you smile listen and take an interest in what the interviewer is saying.

If you’re nervous, try not to rush what you’re saying. Take a deep breath and speak clearly. It can be quite easy to interrupt someone on a video call, especially if there is a slight delay. If you do, just apologise and ask them to repeat what they were saying.

Nothing is working for me, help!

If technology really isn’t working for you, try not to get anxious, employers know that people can have technical issues. As soon as you can, email or phone the contact that you have and let them know that you are experiencing problems. They will be able to advise you on what to do next.

Here are some other tips for you:

  • Let your family or housemates know that you have a video interview and ask them not to interrupt you
  • Turn your phone off or put it on silent
  • Turn off the notifications on the device you are using
  • Try and keep pets out of the room
  • Although you may be nervous, try not to touch your face, bite your nails or play with your hair
  • Be on time, punctuality still matters!
  • Avoid slouching and smile!
  • Have you been invited to a phone interview by an employer or training provider? Click here to check out our blog full of advice and tips to help you excel in that interview!

    Further reading around Covid-19 and early careers:

  • Will Covid-19 change the application process?
  • Will Covid-19 change the format of job interviews?
  • Coming soon on the GetMyFirstJob blog:

  • Managing your stress & anxiety
  • Simple steps to improve your profile
  • interview Apprenticeships Advice & Tips