How to prepare for a video interview

It’s been a trend for a couple of years both now since the outbreak of Covid-19 digital meetings is the way to go. There’s no doubt facing a job interview via video can be nerve racking – especially if it’s something you haven’t experienced before.

But there are ways to set yourself up as best you can and boost your confidence for your time on screen.

Here’s how you can prepare for a video interview, step by step.

Step 1: Do your research

As soon as you’ve been selected for an interview – or even before – it’s a good idea to jump right into your interview research. Think of this the same way you would for any job interview. Here are the basics to cover:

  • Read up on the company and how it operates, plus any recent achievements.
  • Familiarise yourself with the role and its requirements by reviewing the job description again.
  • Start compiling a list of questions that you might be asked in the interview and plan how you could answer them. This practice interview builder is a good place to start.

Step 2: Sort your technology

Once your video interview is scheduled, focus on preparing the tech you need to use while there’s still time to sort any issues that pop up.

  • Find out which program or app you’ll be using. There’s a range of video options out there so check with the employer if they haven’t told you. If you need to, download the app or program. You may need to set up a profile. Video calls can be done on most devices – for example a laptop, tablet or smartphone – so if you can, choose whichever you feel most comfortable with. If you’re using your phone or a tablet, try to position it in front of you rather than holding it as your hands could be shaky in the interview.
  • Set up your camera, whether it’s a webcam or a camera built into your device. Check out how it works and clean the lens. For your interview you’ll want to be roughly in the middle of the screen, facing front on and not too close to it – far enough for at least your head and shoulders to be in view.
  • Set up the microphone, whether it’s built into your device or separate, and test it to see that it’s sounding clear. Our advice is to use a separate microphone to get optimal sound.
  • Do a trial run by calling a friend or a professional company that can help you prepare and train before the real interview. Can they hear you easily? Does your internet connection hold up? Identify any issues now while you can fix them.

Step 3: Set up your location

Next, find a suitable spot for your interview and get it ready.

  • Pick a quiet space where you’re unlikely to be interrupted by loud noises or other people.
  • Use a good light setting and make sure there’s enough light for the interviewer to see you clearly. Place a light source above your device facing your face. Use lights with white cold lights. Here´s some examples of lights to use
  • Check your background to make sure there’ll be nothing distracting behind you during the interview, or anything you wouldn’t want an employer to see. You can also blur your background in the video interview tool.

Step 4. Make sure your account is professional.

The first thing your interviewer does is seeing you digital video interview tool´s profile photo and username. So make sure both give a professional impression. If you already have a personal account, you may want to consider creating a separate account that you can use specifically for job interviews.

You can even create a username that is linked to your profession, for example “LianWyangFinance”.

Step 5: Practice presenting yourself

At this point it’s a good idea to get as familiar with video calling as you can, and to think about how you can present yourself confidently.

  • Prepare your candidate sales pitch outfit for the interview. Choose something professional to wear. Do some practice video interviewing. Ideally, you’ll have been going over your list of practice questions and answers – now try putting them to the test. You could record yourself answering questions then watch it back. This will give you an idea of how you look on screen, what it’s like to speak to the camera and whether you can be heard properly. Even better, get a friend or a contact in Europe to “interview” you through a video call then give you feedback on how it went.

Step 6: Be aware of time lag

During the video interview, you may encounter a time lag between what the interviewer says and what you hear. If a time delay occurs, be careful not to talk over your interviewer and avoid talking in long blocks. This helps the conversation feel more natural.

Step 7: Focus on the conversation

On the day of your interview, do one final check of your technology and make sure your battery is charged. Sit down in your chosen location with 10 minutes to spare before you start the interview. Have a glass of water at hand, and a notepad. Now turn your focus to the interview. Even though you’ll be answering questions through a screen, it’s important to think of your video interview as a conversation with another person. It can help to:

  • Look at the camera when you can. Unlike a face-to-face conversation it can be hard to know where to look. If you direct your gaze at the camera, rather than the interviewer’s face on screen, it’s more likely to appear that you’re making eye contact. Try to do this when you’re listening and answering questions.
  • Think about your body language like you would normally – sit up straight, and nod to show that you’re listening and engaged.

If things go wrong, it’s good to have a second device ready. So if you´re using your phone, have another phone or a laptop ready to use if you primary gadget fails.

In Europe the most common tools for video interviews are: Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and Zoom. To be able to use Google Meet or WhatsApp you need to go via a VPN solution so we don’t recommend those. If possible use Microsoft Teams or Zoom since it´is more reliable dialing in from China. Less common is Skype. WeChat and Pinggle are very rarely used when conducting work video interviews.