Video-based interviews can keep you job search moving, but how should you prepare?

Posted 17/3/2020 by Nick Rattray

With concerns over face-to-face meetings resulting from the Coronavirus then we believe that over the coming weeks and months that the use of video-based interviews will be a significantly more common part of the recruitment process. Such interviews have been utilised by businesses for some time but, up until this point, have remained the exception rather than the norm and as a result many of you out there would not have experienced staring into your laptop webcam and interacting with a screen as part of a recruitment process.

We have therefore provided below several hints and tips that should ensure that your video experience is both an enjoyable and effective one and goes a long way to helping you secure your next career opportunity.


As with a standard face-to-face interview, preparation is key to success. It is therefore essential that your preparation for your video-based interview is just as thorough, although with a video-based interview there are additional considerations.

As, with any interview, do your research:

Research the company:

What are the organisations values?

What is its recent history and strategy moving forward?

How has the company performed financially recently?

Research your interviewer:

LinkedIn can help you here!

Do you have any shared contacts/groups/qualifications?

What has their history been with their current company?

Familiarise yourself fully with the job specification:

What are your particular strengths in relation to it?

What are your weaknesses in relation to it and how will you overcome these if challenged?

Prepare questions that illustrate the preparation that you have done:

You will normally get an opportunity to ask questions yourself as part of the interview and preparing and asking relevant questions will illustrate your diligence, your engagement with the process and your interest in the positions. A good way to prepare such questions is to include an observation from you research and build a question from there. For example, “I saw from your latest annual report that the growth in the company’s annual profits over the past two years has increased from 10% to 25%. What have been the drivers for this and ins this sustainable moving forward?


For any interview then getting your presentation right is important. You need to be professionally presented clearly, but the definition of this will be very different depending on the culture and sector of the business that you are looking to join and the position for which you are applying. Your recruitment consultant should be able to help you with advice here based on their knowledge of the client. If you have made a direct application and don’t have a consultant to help you then take a look at the careers section of the company’s website. This will often contain work-based images of current employees that can help you as might the LinkedIn profile picture of your interviewer. If you remain unsure then it is probably a better bet to over-dressed than under-dressed.

Also consider how your selected outfit will look through the lens. Avoid bright and garish colours. Also check that your selected outfit looks right when you are in your sitting position.


For a face-to-face interview then the location piece is pretty much looked after for you. Yes, you need to make sure that you know where your going, how you are going to get there and crucially how long that is going to take you, but the venue is selected and prepared by the company. In the case of a video-based interview however, your interview room is your responsibility and will form an impression on your interviewer. So, what are the dos and don’ts?

Select a well-lit room in which you can avoid any interruptions (no cats or kids!). The lighting will work best if it comes form behind your camera to illuminate your face.

Ideally find a plain backdrop to avoid any distractions, this is about you getting admired, not your well-selected artwork.

A work-like environment works well so a desk and table and appropriate chair if possible.

Check your seat height in relation to your camera lens to ensure an appropriate angle.

Test your equipment, make sure that your video and audio are working and that your laptop is plugged in or well-charged.


Have a dress rehearsal in the outfit and location that you intend to wear for the actual interview and have a video-call with a friend. Ask them to ask you a couple of questions that you expect to be asked and get there feedback as to how everything comes across (your outfit, your location and, above all, you).


So, we’re ready to roll the camera. What now?

Log-in for you video-based interview a few minutes early to ensure that you are calm and composed when it begins.

Have a print-out of the job specification and you CV in front of you.

Remember your body language, it’s just as important on-line as in-person. Smile, use had gestures, although not too much, and sit upright.

Maintain good eye contact and remember that, to do this, you need to be looking at your camera and not your interviewer on your screen.

Allow a pause for a second or two before answering questions as there will often be a short online delay.

At the end of the interview thank your interviewer for their time and state that you hope to meet them in person moving forward.

The following day then it is always a good idea to send a follow-up e-mail once again thanking you interviewer and restating your interest in the company and position.






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