Video interviews are the new normal.  Your video interview skills have never been more important, and the use of video interviews is only going to increase. But do you know how to prepare for a video interview so you can make the best impression? In this article, I’m going to share with you the most important things to remember when it comes to preparing for a video job interview so you can be ready to impress the next time you have one.

Types of video interview

Before we get into how to prepare for a video interview, it’s important to point out that the term video interview can refer to two different types of interviews. 

Pre-recorded video interview:

The first type of video interview is the pre-recorded video interview. 

In this video interview format, there are pre-recorded interview questions. You are then required to record a video clip of yourself answering each question and when the interview is complete the recorded video clip with your answers is made available to the hiring manager or recruiter to review as a first stage.

This type of video interview does have its own challenges. For example, there’s often a time limit given for each question so you would need to be sure to make your answers clear and succinct. 

Live video interview

There are many things to consider in a pre-recorded video interview. In this article, however, I’ll be sharing video interview preparation tips for the live video interview. This is an interview conducted over Skype video, Zoom, Microsoft teams or some other video communication platform. 

In a live video interview, there are no do-overs. Just like the in-person face to face interview, you can’t re-record so the first impression needs to be a good one. 

Here are 7 tips on how to prepare for a video interview so you can make the best impression. 

1. Test technology beforehand

Where technology is concerned, it’s always worth testing that things are working as they should. When it comes to a video interview, this might  involve testing that the link you have been sent is working, checking that your webcam and audio are working properly. 

As simple as it sounds, you want to avoid having any additional things to do the moment before your interview. 

Something as minor as getting a different browser set up could throw you off your game or cause unnecessary nerves. 

2. Dress for the occasion

Dressing for the occasion is very dependent on the company you have an interview with. 

While you won’t actually be going to the office face to face, some companies may still expect to see you in something fairly smart. 

If in doubt, it’s always best to er on the side of caution. Don’t be afraid to ask what the typical dress code is either since this could give you a steer. 

Ultimately, since this is an interview and not a video call with colleagues, if you wouldn’t feel comfortable for them to see you in it in person it’s best to avoid wearing it on the video interview. 

When it comes to dressing for video interview remember:

  • Avoid things that are extremely bright 
  • Avoid clothing that has too many patterns since you want the interview to focus on what you’re saying not what you’re wearing. 
  • Opt for simple colors
  • No matter what you decide to wear, make sure it’s something you feel comfortable and confident!

3. Prepare the environment 

Finding the right place for a video interview is critical. 

The most important things to think out when it comes to your environment are:

Quiet surroundings. 

Sometimes there are unavoidable sounds. You can’t help it if a neighbor decided to start drilling the minute the interview starts, but manage any sounds that are in your control. 

No distractions 

Remember to turn off your phone or put it on silent face down or away in a draw. Clear clutter from the table as this could also distract you and cause you to look around 

Comfortable seating 

Just like you wouldn’t want to keep fidgeting in a face to face interview, make sure you don’t do it on a video interview. More importantly, being in a comfortable seating position means you can more easily relax into the interview and make more natural gestures without feeling uncomfortable. What’s more, if the interview does overrun, at least you won’t be suffering from a bad back at the whole time leaving your mind free to focus on the interview and not on your pain and discomfort

Set the Temperature 

So I’m probably biased on this one since I absolutely can’t stand to be cold. But make no mistake, nerves can do funny things to your body temperature. For some people, all your blood will go to your heart leaving your hands frozen and for others, you might break out in a terrible sweat at the sign of trouble. Either way, you know what temperature is comfortable for you under interview circumstances. 

When you go to an interview at the company office, you can’t plan for the temperature of the room, in this case, the ball’s in your court, so why not make the most of it.

4. Check the lighting and backdrop 

While this isn’t a photoshoot, background, and lighting still matter. 

When it comes to lighting, 3 things are important-

  1. Avoid sitting with a bright light behind you as this will cause the silhouette effect 
  2. Don’t sit with the sun in your eyes, making you squint the whole time 
  3. Ideally go for natural light where you will be seen clearly.

When it comes to backdrop: 

No-one’s expecting a stunning studio- and everyone understands some of the challenges of working from home, especially if you don’t have much space to play with. 

Whatever you do just don’t have the call in a bedroom set up as this is not professional. Apart from that, wherever you are, make sure it’s as clean and tidy as possible. 

Living rooms, dining rooms, and kitchens are all perfectly fine,  just as long as you’ve followed the key points above regarding the rest of the environment like noise and distraction checks. 

You can avoid having to worry about your background altogether by having the call with your back to a wall. Simple yet effective.

5. Prepare for the interview questions

Being prepared for the interview format is important, but don’t forget to prepare for the actual questions themselves. 

[Related: How To Prepare For Your Next Interview So You Can Leave A Lasting Impression]

[Related: 5 Most Common Interpersonal Skills Interview Questions And How To Answer Them]

6. Be ready for anything 

As much as you can prepare and do all the right things, sometimes things will still crop up. Whether it’s a technical issue or a child running in unexpected… :-)

The most common technical challenges when it comes to video interviews are bad connections causing delays, poor picture or sound quality or losing connection altogether. 

Whatever happens, the most important thing to remember is that these things happen and all you can do is remain calm. You’ve got this. 

Here are a few tips to help you minimize the chances of running into these video interview challenges: 

  • Make sure you don’t have too many applications running in the background during the interview as these will slow things down.
  • Ideally shut down everything but what you need and are using. 
  • Be close to your internet connection. 

7. Relax and be yourself 

You’ve done the hard work. You’ve prepared  for the interview questions, you’ve checked on all the technical elements and you’re in a quiet place with no distractions.

Remember to relax and be yourself. Try and look at the webcam when you’re talking instead of the interviewer. You can look back at the interviewer when they are talking. This will give a better sense of eye contact. 

If you follow these guidelines on how to prepare for a video interview, your sure to ace your next video interview!