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How to prepare for Video Interviews?

A job interview is not a test of your knowledge but your ability to use it at the right time

Typically an interview is a process that involves a conversation and/or interaction between a job aspirant and a recruiter or representative of the employer, which is conducted to check whether the applicant should be hired or not.

In the current context, however, more and more businesses are moving towards video interviews to maintain minimal interaction and yet ensure that their future employees sport more than just a good resume.

How are video interviews conducted?

There are usually two ways in which video interviews can be conducted depending on protocols and company policies.

  • Live Interview
  • As the name suggests, these interviews are held in real-time over video conferencing platforms such as skype, facetime, or live messenger.

    These interviews, unlike pre-recorded ones, offer a different difficulty level owing to their nature of candidate-recruiter interaction

  • Pre-Recorded
  • These types of interviews are also called “time-shifted” video interviews where candidates record the answers to recruiters questions in their own time.

    While setting up such interviews, recruiters have the option to customize a few aspects of the interaction such as

    • Think Time
    • This allows recruiters to evaluate the time taken by candidates to formulate their answers before they actually record them. It gives an insight into an individual’s problem-solving skills and quick thinking

    • Number of Takes
    • This records the number of attempts in which the candidate recorded the interview

    • Answer Length
    • This aspect helps monitor the time taken while answering the question i.e. their answer length.

    Pre Recorded VS Live Interviews

    When an employer uses a pre-recorded video interview, you’ll be given instructions on how to join an interview. Instead of being connected in real-time, you'll receive prompts to answer interview questions that have been pre-recorded or appear on the screen.

    Recorded answers are then sent to the employer, who reviews them. Candidates are judged on quite a few bases apart from the obvious such as time is taken to respond, a number of takes, etc.

    While pre-recorded interviews generally feel distant, you run a lower risk of upsetting the recruiter with technical difficulties and other interruptions as you can easily do another take.

    Live interviews usually involve real-time connection with a hiring manager over any video conferencing platform. It lends more authenticity to an interview. If using a personal account, ensure you have a professional username

    Whether your interview is live or pre-recorded be sure to close all other windows so as to eliminate interruptions and boost internet connection

    Since this is a new way of taking interviews, many candidates find themselves struggling

    Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind while sitting for a video interview


      • Give People a Heads Up
      • If you are sitting for an interview from your home, be sure to alert your family members or roommates about the same.

        Make sure you specify a time period where they don’t disturb you or partake in any activity which might distract you from giving your best shot.

        Must read: How to prepare for an interview

      • Pick a Good Spot
      • When giving an interview face to face, a few external factors which affect our impression on the interviewer are- grooming, steady eye contact, and our smile. With a video interview, it goes a step further.

        Picking a spot with a somber background goes a long way when appearing for a job interview. Along with that, competent audio and video quality, and a steady network connection are sure to leave a good impression.

      • Keep it at eye level
      • Ensure that your laptop is placed at a level where it mimics the eye level of a face to face conversation. Keeping your laptop on your lap can result in an unflattering and unprofessional angle

        Achieve this by propping it on a bunch of books or a box until it reaches the desired level. Practice maintaining eye contact with the actual camera for a more realistic experience.

      • Invest in Quality Audio and Video
      • Relying on your laptop’s audio may not be the wisest decision when sitting for a video interview. They are usually low quality and may lend a muffled character to your voice, which will not leave a good impression.

        Invest in affordable connectable microphones and test them out beforehand.

      • The correct body language 
      • As has been mentioned before, maintaining eye contact is crucial. Avoid the instinct to look at the video of the recruiter and try to maintain eye contact with your camera.

        It is essential to convey enthusiasm as the lack of physical interaction in a video interview makes it difficult to gauge the same. Achieve this by maintaining a good posture with your back straight and shoulders eased

        Nod and smile at appropriate moments and use hand gestures only when necessary. Avoid fidgeting or allowing your gaze to wander as these may leave a negative impact.

        Must read: 5 Interview questions you should know how to answer


      • No Pets
      • If you have pets at home ensure that they are either away in the farthest room of the house or are being taken care of by a friend or professional.

      • No Swivel Chairs
      • The quintessential office chair may not be your choice of the seat when appearing for an interview. Its movements are distracting and do a good job of relaying an individual’s focus and commitment.

      • No Dim Lights
      • As has been made abundantly clear, for a video interview, production is key.

        Avoid spots with lights that cast unsightly shadows or offer harsh illumination.

        Go for spots with light which offers a wider coverage on your face or go for a spot where you get consistent but balanced natural sunlight.

      • Don’t use a phone or a tablet
      • Even though smaller devices seem convenient, it is absolutely impossible to hold a tablet or phone steady throughout the interview. It gives shaky angles and may prove to be distracting owing to various notifications.

        Always appear for interviews via laptops as they are likely to have steadier video quality and a faster internet connection


      • If video or audio stops working
      • Before starting with the interview, ask the interviewer for a phone number where you could contact them in the unfortunate case of technical difficulties.

        If at all the video cuts out, be sure to call the interviewer and ask if you can continue on the phone or if they'd be willing to reschedule.

      • If noise interrupts
      • Apologize if any background noise like sirens interrupts the interview and request a few minutes until it subsides. Muting the microphone during such an issue is a good gesture.

      • If someone interrupts
      • If a family member or housemate enters the room unexpectedly, apologize to the interviewer, mute yourself, switch off your camera, and deal with the situation at hand.

        Before beginning again, make sure the room is now secure and that there will be no further interruptions of this nature.

      Go ahead and give your best at the next video interviewthe best!

      Career Expert at CV Owl