How to Prepare for a Virtual Interview?

Find out here how to prepare for a virtual interview.

Have you applied for a job where you’ll be taking part in a virtual job interview? In this blog post, we will look at what to expect from a virtual interview and what preparation you can do to showcase the best side of yourself.

Virtual interviews are typically where a candidate is sent a link to a set of online questions, which they need to record themselves giving the answers. These answers are then sent to the recruiter to watch. This is referred to as a one-way video interview.

Or you may be even asked to do a Google Hangouts virtual interview, skype, or a FaceTime interview with a recruiter. These are slightly different versions of virtual interviewing, usually referred to as live or two-way video interviews. This is where the recruiter is online with you, communicating through a video call.

You’ll be able to apply the tips we provide in this blog post to any platform of virtual interviewing you’ve been asked to use.

Why are companies using virtual interviews?

You may initially find the prospect of a video interview daunting, but as a candidate, it can, in actual fact, work very well in your favour.

This is because a video interview allows recruiters to get to know who you are earlier in the process. Then when you’re selected through to the face-to-face interviews, they feel they already know you and a rapport can be built early on.

In our post, ‘How to reduce recruitment costs',  we discussed some of the reasons why candidates may be a bad fit and leave the organisation within the first year. One of the reasons for this was not getting to know the candidate early enough in the hiring process. This is essential to determine a good fit into company culture for both candidate and company.

Along with this, there are many more reasons to include virtual interviewing in the recruitment process. We outline in detail in our list the benefits of virtual interviewing, which you can view via this link.

How to prepare for a virtual interview?

Whether you’re preparing for a live or a pre-recorded interview, it can feel awkward and strange talking to a screen. But it would help if you internalised that there will be people at the other end, either talking back with you via your live video or watching your pre-recorded video.

Below we’ve answered the most commonly asked questions regarding virtual interviewing. Let’s begin.

How to do well in a virtual interview?

Determining successful candidates in video interviews is so much more than just how each question is answered. Recruiters will take note of many small details. Ones that you may not initially think of. The background of your video, clothes you wear, the camera set up could influence a recruiters’ decision.

How to prepare for a recorded video interview?

The best way to record video interviews is to follow all instructions provided by the recruiter very carefully to demonstrate your ability to take instruction.

Usually, the recruiter will send step-by-step instructions on how to set up your interview recording. Ensure you follow these instructions carefully. Right off the bat, candidates who fail to set up the audio or the quality of the picture will not only be judged upon lack of effort to make the video successful, but also they may not be able even to hear your answers to interview questions.

Best setup for a video interview

The best setup for your video interview will be to use a good quality camera or webcam. When it comes to video calling platforms, your laptop or computer is probably best.

Many people ask, “Can I do a zoom interview on my phone”, as long as you have a decent camera, prerecorded app, zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, or FaceTime video call will be fine.

Just ensure your phone is held steady in place and the whole of you is visible on the screen. The best way to do this is to use the screen facing camera to see the questions or the recruiter. 

Introduce yourself

First impressions count in a recorded video interview too. Start the recording off positively with a confident smile which communicates warmth and openness.

Your voice

Ensure you speak at a good volume, that your voice is clear, and your pace of talk is not too slow or too fast. A good way to determine how you sound is to practice a video recording beforehand. This is also a good way to test your equipment too.

You may not see anyone at the other end of your interview, but it’s important to talk with tone and pitch like you’re having a natural conversation. The advantage of this being a video recording is that you can use your body language to convey what you’re saying if it feels natural.

Control potential interruptions

Get a babysitter, switch off your phone, put a note on your door, tell friends and family not to disturb you. If you were in a normal face-to-face interview, none of these disruptions would get in your way. Treat a video interview the same. This will demonstrate that you’re serious about the interview and the role.

2.   Where to have the video interview?

Next you may be wondering where to do an online interview?

Your video interview location is important as you want to have minimal distractions while maximizing focus on yourself. Be in your own home, in your own room alone, where you can control your surroundings.

Set up in a brightly lit room. A white background is ideal facing towards a light source. Don’t sit with your back to a bright window as this will cast a dark shadow on the front of you, which will block out all view on you on the camera.

Look through your camera and see what is because of the shot. Remove anything unprofessional and distracting. A blank wall is ideal as all focus needs to be on you. Look to see how you look through the camera also. You also should take this opportunity to check your audio and ensure that they can hear you. A quiet room is ideal. Any background noise or traffic from the road outside can be a huge distraction and even disrupt you're being heard.

Sit far enough away that you can be seen from the waist up, and ensure you can see space above your head.

3.   Where to look in a video interview?

When recording your video interview, you want the interviewer to feel like they’re there with you. To achieve this, ensure you look into the camera. This will feel like you’re making eye contact when the video is being viewed.

Looking away from the camera can make you come across as insecure and disinterested.

How to set up a Skype interview?

Setting up a Skype interview is just the same as your set-up for a recorded interview. A recruiter may not send you instructions to follow with Skype, Google Hangouts or FaceTime video calls. So ensure you are:

  1.  Facing the light not to cast a shadow on your face.
  2. Go into a quiet room with minimal distractions
  3. Inform your family or roommates that you have a scheduled interview not to interrupt you.
  4. Test your microphone and lighting before the video starts.
  5. Ensure your room is clean and presentable.

How to start a conversation in Skype interview?

A live video interview such as Skype will differ from a pre-recorded video as you’ll need to introduce yourself without following visual prompts.

So look at the camera, confidently smile and introduce yourself by saying, “Hello, my name is …..”, “How are you?”

You’ve introduced yourself to the recruiters clearly and confidently, following this up with a friendly conversation starter. This not only will build good rapport, but it demonstrates to the interviewers that you’re able to lead conversation confidently. This is a great skill to have, especially if you’re applying for a customer-centric or people-focused role.

4.   How should I dress for a video interview?

How you should dress for your video interview depends entirely on the company and industry you’re applying to. Follow any instruction the company gives.

If you’re not sure, it’s always good practice to dress to impress with a suit or office dress as if you were going for a face-to-face interview. Dressing well will give the recruiters a good impression of you and enable them to see if you’re a good company fit for them.

5.   Best colors to wear for online interview?

The colours you wear has a huge effect on people’s perception of you more than you may realise. Opt for solid colors not patterns as patterns can become a distraction.

Consider the below effects of colours and apply appropriately to the desired job role.

Black is a high-power colour representing leadership- great for managerial positions. Not so great for jobs where you need to be approachable by customers.

White is a safe colour and will look good in a video interview. It won’t distract from what you’re saying and will look neutral. Typically, a color associated with being organized.

Grey says you’re logical and analytical. It conveys an innovative thinker when worn with confidence.

Blue is good for indicating a team player. It’s an approachable color which indicates friendliness and dissipates threat.

Brown communicates that you’re reliable, but it can also come across as old fashioned.

6.   Should I wear a tie for a video interview?

If this interview were face-to-face, would you wear a tie? If so, then wear a tie!

7.   What questions are asked in a video interview?

Video interview questions are no different from face-to-face or even phone interview questions. Questions will differ across industries and seniority of job positions. The good news with video interviews is you can keep a note list next to your screen and subtly check your notes to help you along with your answers if you need reminding or prompting.

Prepare yourself for the typical interview questions as well as some out of the box style. We’ve included a list of unorthodox interview questions that you can prepare for in this blog post here: Unique interview questions and answers.

8. How long are video interviews?

Video interview times can vary depending on the apps used, and in live interviews, the length of time recruiters give you to answer a question.

With the Reworking app, candidates are given unlimited time to answer, but the individual employer can set a timer that signals how long they want to answer. This timer doesn’t stop the candidate taking longer though.

With live video interviews, they can usually take between 30 minutes to 1 hour. Live videos will be similar to face-to-face where there is a lot of back and fore between candidate and recruiter, which will make the interview last longer.


If you have any more questions about virtual interviews, please comment below! If you liked this post and found it useful, please share it on your social media.

Good luck on your virtual interview!

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