Tips for nailing a video interview

Tips for nailing a video interview

Our mass transition to remote working and projected slow return to ‘normal’ work, points to video interviewing becoming a standard part of the recruitment process.

This period of change has meant everyone has started to become more comfortable using the technology. It has also shown the time saving possibilities of jumping on a video call rather than jumping on public transport.  As the workplace becomes even more digitised, and the future of work we have talked about for more than a decade is starting to become a clearer reality, video will continue to play an integral part.

So, as video interviews become a core part of the hiring process, you will be expected to step up to the mark and meet certain standards. There are lots of tips around to help you shine at any interview (research, questions, engagement, etc), but here’s a few tips to help you nail the video component.

Hear me out

If the sound is bad then it will override how good you might look. So take the time to make sure you are going to sound your best.

Don’t go handsfree – you could end up sounding like you are in a shed or down a well. Wear a headset with a microphone – the earbud headset that came with you phone should work fine. Be careful on where the microphone sits, as it can pick up lots of rustling if it is against fabric on your shirt or jacket that is rough or crisp.

Be somewhere quiet – any noise can distract both you and the interviewer. You want people to focus on what you are saying and not on the background noise. 

Look me in the eye

Make sure the camera on your device – phone, tablet or laptop – is at eye level. No one really needs to look up your nose, and if the camera level is too high it will look like your being captured on CCTV.

If you don’t have an ergonomic desk setup that puts the camera at eye height, then you can use books, boxes or a stand to get the right position.

Your neck will be much happier and you will look more professional with your head upright and looking straight into the camera.

Frame it

The person on the other end of the video call is interviewing you, not your ceiling or your chest. Frame the shot so your eyes are are in the top third of the screen (without chopping the top of your head off).

Be aware of what is in the background of your “frame”. Is there an ornament growing out of your head? Or can the interviewer see your messy kitchen or, hopefully not, your unmade bed. If the only quiet place to do the call is your bedroom, frame the shot so it doesn’t look like a bedroom, and definitely don’t have your bed in the shot.

Do you have one of the ubiquitous bookcases you see in every TV interview and Zoom call these days? If so, make sure there are no books that might be taken the wrong way. Stay safe and make it appropriate.

Light me up

Make sure there are no bright lights behind you. A soft, preferably natural light should  highlight your face. If the light behind you is brighter than the light in front of you, then your face will be in the dark.

If you desk faces a wall, you can use a lamp pointed at the wall to bounce light back onto your face.

While you are looking at lighting, also look where the shadows fall and be careful of strange dark spots, particularly if the fall across your face or body.

This is a test

This might seem obvious but is often over looked – do a full test of your setup. Do a video call with a friend or trusted colleague and get honest feedback. You can’t just rely on what you see if you do a quick run through on your device.

For the past 25+ years Leah's professional roles have been at the axis of business operations, people development and technology. She possesses a wealth of experience in areas of people, process, communication, coaching and counselling.