Video interviews: how to do well

When you apply for a job, you may have a live video interview or a pre-recorded interview. Get advice on how to prepare.

Prepare for your video interview

Like all interviews you’ll need to prepare well. Make sure that you know the:

  • date and time of the interview
  • contact details

To help you prepare you should:

  • spend some time on practice questions you’re given
  • research the company and what’s involved in the job
  • look at the company website and get an understanding of their culture and values
  • read through any guidance notes from the recruiter and follow their instructions
  • go through your CV or application form and prepare examples to show you have the skills and experience
  • use the STAR method to help you structure your answers
  • prepare some answers to common interview questions
  • have some questions of your own ready to ask

You may also find it helpful to make notes and put them somewhere you can see them.

Technical preparation

Before you start you should test your microphone and make sure you know how to use the software. This includes how to:

  • start and end the session
  • mute your microphone or turn off your camera
  • share your screen – you may have to do a practical task during the interview

Make sure you plug in or charge your equipment and that your internet connection is good. Log in with at least half an hour to spare so that you can check everything is working well.

Get your location ready

Find a quiet space with no interruptions. If you live in a shared house, you may need to warn others to be quiet around the time of your interview.

Find somewhere you can sit that does not have anything distracting in the background. Make sure you have good natural light or use a lamp so that the interviewer can see you well.

If you can, use a computer or laptop rather than a tablet or mobile phone. Position it so the camera is at eye level. 

It may also help if you:

  • use headphones to improve your sound quality
  • split your screen and have your prompt cards on one half and the interview on the other
  • close down any other windows on your computer and turn off your mobile phone

How to present yourself

Wear smart clothes that look professional. Go for something plain that does not look distracting on camera.

Try not to wear a lot of jewellery. Avoid anything that could distract you and be noisy when you move.

You should do some practice runs. Record yourself and watch the recording back. Make sure you:

  • be clear when you speak
  • do not talk too fast
  • pause at the end of a question so that you don’t talk over the interviewer (there is a slight delay online)
  • smile and look interested
  • sit up straight and have good body language
  • keep up good eye contact – look at your camera rather than at the screen

At the interview

Take some deep breaths and try to stay calm.

Try to enjoy the experience and show the employer you are a good fit for their company.

After the interview, you should write down:

  • 2 or 3 things that you think went well
  • 2 or 3 that you think you could improve next time

You may feel you need help to build your confidence in video interviews. Talk to a careers adviser at school, college or university or speak to one of our advisers.

Live online interview tips

A live video interview is like a face-to-face interview. You'll have an interviewer or a panel of interviewers ask you questions in real time. It will be on a service like:

  • Skype
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Facetime
  • Google Hangouts
  • Zoom

In a live video interview, if you have any technical problems, let the interviewer know. It’s best to stop and restart if you need to.

Pre-recorded video interview tips

Pre-recorded interviews usually open at a set time and stay open for a few days. You record your answers during this time and send them back to the interviewer to watch later.

You usually watch a video and have a set amount of time to record your answers. The questions will either appear on the screen or the employer may have recorded them in advance.

In a pre-recorded interview you will not be speaking to anyone. You will not have any visual clues from an interviewer to encourage you. To help try to imagine you are talking to a real person. You could practice in front of a mirror or with a friend to help.

You should:

  • read the questions well before answering
  • use any practice questions to check out if you can stop or re-record any of your answers if something goes wrong

Related content

Interview tips

Phone interviews

Common interview questions

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