Video interviews

Video interviews take place over the internet using video chat or recording software. They are either used when you are not available to attend a face-to-face interview, or as a standard part of the early screening process, when you usually record answers to pre-set questions.

Preparing

You should prepare for the interview questions the same as for a regular face-to-face or panel interview. Below are some of the areas which require extra preparation.

Using notes

One advantage of a video interview is that you can make use of notes during the interview. Make sure you:

  • keep them brief so you don't need to rustle them too much during the interview
  • make them clear for you to scan so you don't need to look at them too often or for too long

Choosing a location

Think about the following when choosing the location for your video interview:

  • it must be free from distractions and interruptions
  • it should be somewhere very quiet; try to avoid interviewing in public places
  • make sure what the employer sees behind you isn't distracting in any way; a plain wall is best
  • the room should be well lit but try to avoid having bright light source behind you

Setting up your computer

Remember to check the following when setting up the technology for your interview:

  • make sure you have a reliable internet connection
  • check you have a working webcam and microphone (most laptops will have these built-in) and test everything before you sit the interview
  • position and focus the camera so only your head and shoulders are in the view
  • close any programmes that might distract you or create sounds and notifications on the screen

Practising

This is very important preparation for video interviews, especially if you haven't experienced speaking over a video connection or seeing a recording of yourself before.

Start by recording yourself talking to a webcam and note down anything that seems distracting or unclear from the point of view of an employer listening to your answers. This can be a really eye-opening task.

You can also record and share answers to real interview questions on the following sites:

We also offer the option of a practice video interview appointment with a careers consultant. Book a practice interview and then contact us to let us know you would like the appointment to take place over Skype.

During the interview

  • Dress appropriately for the role; smart business-wear is usually the safest option if you are unsure.

  • Look at the camera (rather than the screen) as much as possible as this creates an illusion of eye contact for the employer.

  • Try to minimise gesturing with your arms and moving around; it can be distracting and you may move out of shot.

  • Make sure your phone is silent and that you won't be interrupted by anyone.

  • Speak loudly, clearly and more slowly than you usually would.

  • Be positive, and try to smile and seem enthusiastic about the role and organisation; it can be harder to do this when you're not speaking to someone in person.

Types of video interview

Recorded video interviews

For these interviews you normally have to record answers for between five and ten pre-set interview questions and send your recordings back to the employer. Employers are increasingly using these video interviews to replace telephone interviews at the screening stage of recruitment.

The answers you record are usually limited to 30-90 seconds with a few seconds before each one to prepare. You can normally control when you start recording each answer but once you have started there is normally no way to restart the recording.

Because you have a limited time to prepare and give your answers it's important you relax and make sure you manage to say something for each question. With these timed interviews, the employer is interested to see how you present yourself and communicate, as well as in the content of your answers.

Finally make sure you keep an eye on the time for each answer (it is usually displayed while you are recording) but try not to look at it too much.

Live video interviews

These take place when you are not available to go to the interview in person. The recruiter will ask you the same questions as other candidates having face-to-face interviews.

You should prepare for the interview questions the same way as you would for a face-to-face interview.

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