Top 10 Video Interview Tips


So, your resume got you in the door with the recruiter, you had an initial phone screening, and you made a killer first impression. Next, you receive an invite for a video interview with the hiring manager (you made it to the next step!). Questions are running through your head, including the big one: how to prepare.  

In the days of coronavirus, video interviewing is more important than ever. We’re one of many companies that have shifted to a virtual hiring process. If you’re looking for a new job opportunity, most of your interviews will likely be held on video platforms, such as Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom.  

Video interviews can be intimidating. This type of interview oftentimes requires a higher level of thought and intentionality to stay focused on the conversation, with no distractions. We talked with our Haystack recruiters and gathered their top 10 tips on how to prepare and impress during a video interview (this is your first “virtual,” in-person impression, after all)! 

1. Research the company and position. 

Research is like checking out your first date’s online profiles before meeting them in person; it’s just smart to know a little bit about the person or company you’ll be talking with. Ensure that you have reviewed the company’s website and read the job description in its entirety. Jot down key points from your previous professional experience that matches up well with the company or job description (you might forget to bring points up once you’re live for the video interview; notes to reference will jog your memory). Doing research ahead of time also shows your interest and excitement for the role and give you the tools to shape your interview responses. 

2. Research the interviewer on LinkedIn. 

Look up the hiring manager who you’ll be interviewing with on LinkedIn so you’re familiar with their background and professional experience. For example, perhaps the interviewer is an alumnus of the university you attended or is from your hometown. It’s great to form connections that aren’t always directly related to the company or job description. It creates candidness and authenticity. The interviewer will appreciate the effort. 

3. Choose the perfect spot.  

A video interview is a bit different from an in-person interview as you ultimately decide the location. It’s ideal to choose an area that has no distractions. Also, consider any natural light that might come in from the windows (here’s a great tutorial on finding the perfect spot in your home). If you choose a location with a window, sit in front of the window to avoid large shadow casts. Test out your camera to see what the view will look like with the room’s lighting, natural or not. Along with a distraction-free, well-lit environment, ensure the location has a strong Wi-Fi signal. 

4. Fully-charge your device and test your technology. 

Before the interview begins, ensure your laptop, tablet, or phone has a full battery. The last thing you want is to be on a low battery in the middle of a video interview. It’s also important to ensure you have the correct video application downloaded and ready to go before the interview begins. Familiarize yourself with application features if you’ve not previously used the video service. You could do a quick test video call with your mom or a friend to ensure everything is set up and working properly. 

5. Cut down on background noise. 

Use microphone-embedded headphones to cut down on background noise and leave your hands free. The sound will be much louder and closer to your ears. Bonus: reduced echo when you use headphones as well.  

6. Print a copy of your resume ahead of time. 

Have a copy of your resume for quick reference and know exactly what the interviewer is referring to during the video interview. If you have your resume handy, you can emphasize professional experiences, challenges, and achievements more easily. You can also take quick notes next to specific sections referenced during the interview. 

7. Keep a glass of water nearby. 

Sometimes after a lot of talking, your mouth becomes dry, or you might get a tickle in your throat. Besides, an interviewer won’t think anything of it if you pause to take a sip of water before answering or while listening to an answer. 

8. Dress in for success (at least from the waist up). 

We understand that while you’re at home, you may want to wear your most comfy clothes for a video interview. However, you want to present yourself in the best light possible during a video interview. We recommend dressing in business casual or professional for a video interview (you would dress nice for a first date, right?). Researching the company beforehand will give you an idea of what’s appropriate. 

9. Listen to the whole question. 

Listening during a video interview is so important. Since you can’t rely on visual cues, listen to the whole question before answering. Be detailed yet concise with your answers. At the same rate, recruiters and hiring managers are typically on a time crunch, so try not to be too wordy when answering questions. 

10. Prepare questions to ask.  

Have a few questions ready to ask the hiring manager at the end of the video interview. Asking questions will further demonstrate your interest in the role. Following your questions, be sure to thank the interviewer for their time and ask if there is anything about your experience that is lacking or needs further explanation to help them make a decision. 

After that, you’re totally prepared to nail your video interview and make the best first “in-person” impression.

Good luck!