How job seekers can excel at video interviews


The team at RainbowHR have been using video to interviews for over 6 years and have built up a wealth of experience in ensuring this medium works effectively. We have pooled together all the experience of our recruiters to come up with some great advice to help candidates and job seekers make the most from video interviews.


It would seem that job seekers are either uncomfortable, inexperienced or complacent with video interviews judging by what we have seen, I suspect it is a mix of all 3. Most people prepare well for face to face interviews but lack of preparation and ultimately execution are ruining some people’s opportunities when it comes to video interviewing.


  • Having a drink (water or tea/coffee) is fine, eating an apple or munching on peanuts is not, and don’t under any circumstances think sipping a glass of wine would be considered acceptable.


  • Everyone knows to find a quiet space, however forgetting to tell others in your household not to interrupt can have disastrous consequences, the child chasing the cat behind you is not a good look. It can make you lose your train of thought and detract from the interview.


  • Set your camera angle and double check it, how many times have we seen interviews on TV where the person seems to be hovering over the camera or worse, we get a rather inelegant shot up their nose. Position the camera just slightly above your normal eyeline, if you are not using a built-in camera and do not have a tripod just use some books, make sure it is steady though.

  • Place your phone in silent mode or switch off, unexpected calls or constant message alerts are not only unprofessional but you will lose your concentration and under no circumstances should you answer calls or texts whilst on a video interview.

  • Close any unnecessary web browser tabs and applications, particularly if you are in screen sharing mode, you do not want to share private or sensitive information nor be fumbling around trying to find the correct document, one tip is to place all material you might need to share in a folder on your desktop making it easy to find.

  • If you are asked to do a presentation make sure you practice running through it a few times, know where it is saved and become familiar with screen sharing.

  • Practice with a friend (most sites are giving free accounts at the moment), this way you get to play around with the lighting, camera position, how you sit, sound etc.

  • Have your CV to hand, make sure you understand the role (print the advert or job description), do your research on the company and prepare questions for the interviewer.

  • When listening, nod and smile to show you are engaged and use hand gestures when appropriate.

  • Dress professionally – sure pyjamas are comfy but you wouldn’t rock up to a face to face interview in your onesie so don’t do it on a call, smart dress is the norm nowadays and remember even though you are only being seen from the wait/chest up you do not want to be off guard if you need to get up to fetch something, nothing worse than a smart top then revealing a pair of shorts on your bottom half.

  • To look your best on camera, avoid bright colours and fussy patterns and opt for softer colours instead. If you are wearing a tie, wear a solid colour rather than a patterned one. If you wear glasses, adjust the lighting in the room to reduce glare from the lenses.

  • Think about your background and make sure you don’t have any confidential information on show (white boards/post-it notes etc), some video software allows you to choose a background, others have a setting where you can blur the background. Regardless take notice of what is behind you.

  • Check the link to the site works, don’t wait till a minute beforehand to discover you need a code or a phone number to join and you have not been sent it, or you have problems logging in, many video solution have a “waiting room” option where you can log in a few minutes before the call and wait for the presenter, this way you can do a final check.

  • Practice with a friend (most sites are giving free accounts at the moment), this way you get to play around with the lighting, camera position, how you sit, sound etc.

  • Know how to end the video call programme, when you have exchanged goodbyes you want to exit the programme quickly without fuss.

  • After the interview write a thank you note to the interviewer(s), if there was more than one try and vary your message, this is good etiquette even if you think you did badly or have decided the role is not for you.

Please share your best interview advice, tips and lessons on our social media.
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