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How To Ace A Video Interview: A Complete Guide

. 8 min read . Written by Shayri Bhattacharya
How To Ace A Video Interview: A Complete Guide

The world went online in 2020 and 2021 will be no different. Naturally, the hiring process has also changed in the last year. Interviewing for almost all jobs has become an online affair and hence, we need to know the ins and outs of video interviews. Questions pertaining to dress code, video background, questions asked, preparation tips, best practices for a video interview and how to make a video interview interesting have been on every job seeker’s mind. In this article, we clear all your doubts. Keep reading to find out how you can ace your video interview!

What Is A Video Interview?  

Well, before everything else, what are video interviews? And, how do video interviews really work? 

A video interview is almost entirely similar to a traditional interview. The only difference is that they’re done remotely. The objectives remain the same – to highlight your strengths for the person(s) behind the screen and ultimately get hired. 

Video Interviews are broadly of two types: 

  • Virtual Meeting: This is a two-way meeting. The interviewer and the interviewee meet virtually over an online meeting platform like Zoom or Google Meet. The interviewers conduct these interviews over a video call. 
  • One Way Video Interview: This is a pre-recorded video interview. You may be provided with a set of questions before the interview. You are expected to record a video of you answering the questions. Usually, there is a pre-decided time duration for the video. 

We’ll be talking about both types of interviews in this article. 

How Long Do Video Interviews Last?

The duration of a video interview is usually not predetermined. In case of a two-way video interview, the meeting will last for as long the panel wants – usually between twenty minutes to one hour.

In case of a one-way interview, the interviewers generally predetermine the length of the video. They also provide directions regarding the length to the candidate beforehand. They could be as long as twenty minutes, but not more than that. 

Pre-recorded videos are usually shorter in length and the longer interviews are reserved for a two-way meet. 

Best Practices For A Video Interview

a woman setting up a camera to prepare for a video interview - trying to make an interesting video interview
Remember that a video interview holds as much value as a traditional one.

Remember that a video interview holds as much value as a traditional one. It is detrimental to give in to the laid-back attitude that a home atmosphere provides you with. So, how to make a video interview interesting?

Here are some good practices to help you get into the groove for a video interview: 

  • Prepare Well: This is just what you’d do for a pre-covid interview. Why should things be any different now? 
  • Find A Quiet Spot: Choose a quiet corner in your home for the interview. If finding one in your own home is difficult, see if you can make arrangements for the same at a friend’s place or a quiet cafe. (Don’t forget to socially distance, though!) Test the audio and video quality before the interview in the same spot, if possible. 
  • Let Your Family Know: While we understand the perils of working from home, it’s important to coordinate with your family before an important interview. That way, they will also ensure not to make noise or bother you for something.
  • Dress Smart: Dress as you would for a physical interview. Not only is this the norm, but it will help you to get into the headspace you need. You’ll feel more confident too!
  • Test The Sound And Video: Download the relevant video call application or software and get yourself acquainted with the tools in the app. Make sure you know how to navigate through the app with ease. 

Here are some tips to ace a pre-recorded video interview:  

  • Frame Your Answers: This is a great opportunity for you to answer the questions in the best possible way. Use this to your advantage by preparing each of your answers well and write them down (if needed). You should practice them to be well versed enough to avoid any fumbling in the video.
  • Camera Placement: Place your camera/phone on a stable surface. Use a tripod if you own one, but that’s not mandatory at all. Placing your phone against  makeshift support also works wonders. It’ll prevent your video from looking like it’s withstanding an earthquake.
  • Visibility: Ensure that you’re visible properly in the video. Ideally, you should be visible till your elbows with some space above your head. 
  • Good Lighting: This is essential. Try shooting your video in natural daylight. In case this is not possible, make sure you sit in a well-lit environment and face the light source. 
  • Watch Your Video: Watch your video before you upload it. You need to ensure that you’re absolutely satisfied with the video you’re uploading.  If not, it’s time for take 2! 

How To Dress Up For A Video Interview

clothes hanged in a closet
Showing up in casual t-shirts and pyjamas is a no-no!

Confusion regarding how to dress up for an interview is very common, but understandable. In case of a video interview, the confusion only increases. Should you keep it casual, or suit up just like you would for a normal interview? 

Well, usually the interviewer provides you with instructions before the interview. In case they don’t, it’s always smart to go semi-formal.

The basic idea remains the same. Look neat, be presentable, and act professional! 

However, showing up in casual t-shirts and pyjamas is a no-no. Not only is it unprofessional (and interviewer might hold this against you in evaluation), but it also strongly takes you away from the headspace you need to have before an interview. 

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What Is The Best Background For A Video Interview?

Sit in front of a neutral-coloured or white wall at home. Ideally, there shouldn’t be any other object in your background. This lets you bring a professional touch to the interview process. However, if there isn’t a plain wall or background present, go for a plain coloured background. This way you can restrict the focus of the interviewer to you and what you say! 

Tip: Using a background image hampers internet connectivity. So, it’s best to avoid it if your internet connection is a little dodgy.

How To Answer Some Common Video Interview Questions

a woman thinking how to answer some common video interview questions

Questions in a video interview are hardly any different from those in a face-to-face one. Here are some common questions that interviewers ask in a one way or two-way video interview:

  • Tell Me About Yourself: This question is an opportunity for you to show how your skills align with the job role. Talk about your credentials and briefly mention your interests and hobbies. But remember, manoeuvring your answer in a way that highlights your skills will earn you some brownie points for sure! Read more on nailing this question here.
  • Describe Your Work Ethic: This question could be presented to you in the form of situations. A hypothetical question could be provided and you might need to make a decision which is of the nature of an ethical dilemma. Interviewers ususally ask these kinds of questions in behavioural interviews. Read up about the company’s vision and culture and illustrate how you fit into it. 
  • What Are Your Life Goals?: Again, the interviewer could mention this question in the form of where you see yourself in a few years. Keep your answer concise. If you’re not sure about your goals, speak about a few options that you’d like to pursue.
  • Why Are You Interested in doing this Job?: Here, you need to narrate your journey that led you to apply for this job. Mention how your past experiences have prepared you for such a job role. 

Bonus Tips for answering questions in a video interview:

  • Request the interviewer to repeat the question if it is not clear in the first go.
  • Take a brief moment to think about what has been asked and then answer, instead of rushing your way into less well-formed answers.
  • No answer to any question in a video interview is a wrong answer. Just be yourself, stay truthful, and be a good listener. 

You’ve got this! 

6 Simple Video Job Interview Tips

woman looking straight into the camera while recording one way video interview
Do not look down at the screen, but straight into your camera.

You must be wondering how to rock a video interview or how to make a video interview interesting ; we’ve got just what you need! Here’s the deal – if its a good experience for the interviewer then a video interview is interesting for them. Here are six tips for you on how to ace a video interview. These could help you to make your video interview interesting. 

  • Eye Contact: We know how important eye contact is when communicating. With interactions becoming restricted to our computers, how does one  maintain eye contact? Do not look down at the screen, but straight into your camera. This may be something many people might miss out on. 
  • Check For Glare: Wearing a silver watch? Or perhaps new, silver-rimmed glasses? Check for the glare! Make sure items on your body do not reflect the light and become a source of glare for the person on the other side of the computer. Have a friend meet you before the interview to check if it’s a good experience on the other side of the screen. 
  • Know How You Sound: Do a quick sound check with a friend to ensure that your voice isn’t too loud or too low for the listener. Place your mic at the right distance from your mouth. Remember, a good experience provided to your interviewer might go unnoticed, but a bad experience will always be remembered during evaluation. 
  • Explain Your Silences: We know that network connections and devices might not always be on our side – so do the interviewers!  If your network dips  even for a second and there’s silence from your end, explain it to the interviewer and carry on with your answer. Do not get nervous and take it in your stride!
  • Don’t Be Late: This is as basic as it gets. Interviewers expect you to be absolutely on time for a virtual interview. So that 3 PM call is not at 3:05 PM anymore!
  • Nod: Use your nods well. You can nod lightly when you meet and greet for the first time. Also,remember to nod when you finish an answer and when they’re done asking a question. It showcases engagement, assertiveness, and confidence.

With this, we come to the end of our video interview guide. You now know  what exactly it is that you need to do to impress in a video interview so, what are you waiting for? Get out there and ace the job interview like only you can. 

And, while you’re waiting to hear back from your interviewers, read this article to find out the right way to do so!

We wish you all the best on your job hunt!

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