How to prepare for a video interview [Step-by-step]

Sep 1, 2019

Chances are, at some point during your graduate job search, you’ll be asked to complete a video interview. Naturally, you’ll want to excel in your video interview and successfully progress to the next stage of the interview process. So in this post, we’ll share our step-by-step guide on how to prepare for a video interview

Step 1: Understand the different types of video interviews 

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to prepare for a video interview, it is important to note that there are two main types of video interviews: 

1) Live video interviews

Live video interviews are often conducted via online video conferencing software such as Skype or Google Hangouts.

These videos are between you and a graduate recruiter or a member of the team you are applying to join.

It is likely to be quite similar to a telephone interview, but the interviewer will be able to pick up on more of your non-verbal communication skills.

2) Pre-Recorded video interviews

Recorded or one-sided interviews are increasing in popularity, so the chances are, you’ll be invited to take one at some point during your graduate job search. 

If you are asked to complete a recorded video interview, you’ll be sent a link to a video interview platform. 

The email will walk you through how to access the platform and begin your video interview recording.

You’ll be required to record your answers to the video interview questions within the time limit. 

For example, you’ll be asked a question such as “tell me about a time you had to work effectively as part of a team“.

You’ll then have a short period of time to think of your answer before recording it.

Step 2: Gather as much information as you can about the video interview.

Whilst there are two main types of video interview, your experience will be different for every company. 

Some video interviews are designed to get to know more about you as a person and are relatively informal. 

Others are more rigorous and are designed to see how you function under pressure. 

Before your video interview, find out what will be expected of you. 

You can find this information by doing the following: 

  • Reading the video interview invite very carefully. You’ll usually be sent an email inviting you to take a video interview. It is vital that you read through this email extremely carefully.

  • Re-visit the company’s website and navigate to the page outlining the details of the graduate job that you’ve applied for.

    On that page, you’ll usually find a section about the application process and specifically about the video interview stage.

  • Use websites like Glassdoor to read about other candidate’s interview experiences. This will give you a deeper insight into what to expect. 

When it comes to knowing how to prepare for a video interview, it is vital that you first find out as much as possible about the interview you have been invited to.

Step 3: Practise for your video interview

When it comes to knowing how to prepare for a video interview, practising is one of the most important steps. 

Knowing how to outperform other candidates being interviewed is a skill. 

However, most people are never taught this skill. 

There’s definitely an art and science behind excelling in interviews. 

Here at Graduate Coach, we have been providing interview training sessions for graduates for over a decade now. 

Chris Davies, Founder of Graduate Coach

If you are currently preparing for an interview for a job that you really want, we strongly urge you to contact us

We can help you in two ways: 

  • In-person

    You can book one-to-one interview coaching sessions with a graduate coach.

    Find out more about our in-person interview coaching here.

  • Online

    You can purchase our online interview course called Nail that Interview for just £99.

    The Nail that interview course condenses everything you need to know to succeed in your interviews into 8 hours of interactive content.

    Find out more about our online interview course here

As part of our interview preparation course, we can also arrange for you to take a mock recorded video interview.

This will involve taking part in a recorded mock interview. We will then review it and provide feedback until you gain more confidence and improve your interview technique.

If you will be having a live video interview, make sure that you are familiar with the video conferencing software that you’ll be required to use. Set up a test call with a friend to get familiar with the platform.

If you will be doing a recorded video interview, practise answering interview questions out loud and film your responses. Be prepared to answer questions related to your non-academic experience.

When watching the recording back assess your body language and the clarity of your answers.

Step 4: Find the best location to take your video interview


There’s a lot to take into consideration when it comes to deciding on the location where you’ll do your video interview.

Good internet connection

This is probably one of the most important factors to take into consideration when you are deciding where to take your video interview.

If your internet connection is poor the quality of the video call or video interview recording may be poor.

Video interview background

When it comes to the background of your video interview, keep it simple.

You don’t want the interviewer or the person reviewing your recorded video interview to get distracted by your background.

You want to be the main focus!

Therefore, ensure that your background will be clean, tidy and minimal.

Test out what your background will look like to the employer before you start your video interview by turning on your webcam and seeing what background works best.

Before you start your video interview, check that both your webcam and microphone are working correctly.

Check your camera and microphone

This is a vital check to avoid major problems during your video interview.

If you will be doing a recorded video interview, there might be a prompt before the interview to check your mic and webcam.

Position your camera so that it is at eye-level. You’ll want to ensure that you maintain good eye contact with the camera whilst giving your answers.

Good lighting

You want the interviewer or the person reviewing your recorded video interview to be able to see you clearly.

After all, they will be picking up on your non-verbal body language as well as your verbal responses.

Before your video interview, test the lighting to ensure that you can easily be seen.

You might want to use desk lighting if the room you are in is a bit dark.

If it is a sunny day, ensure that the sunlight isn’t casting shadows over you.

A quiet background without any potential distractions

It is really important that you find a quiet location to record your video interview.

Small background noises could potentially be picked up by your mic which could make it difficult for your voice to be heard.

As well as ensuring that your background is as quiet as possible, minimise any potential distractions. 

If you will be taking your video interview at home, be sure to inform your family members so that they do not interrupt your interview. 

Plan to take your video interview at a time where there is likely to be the least amount of distractions.

If possible, try not to take your video interview in a public place where you can’t control external factors such as lighting or potential distractions. 

Sit in a comfortable chair

During your video interview, it is important that you maintain good posture.

Slouching will make you come across as being less confident.

If you are using a computer chair, avoid swinging on the chair whilst talking, even if you feel nervous.

Male sitting in an office chair

Step 5: Dress appropriately for the company you are applying to

Wear what you would normally wear to an in-person interview. 

Even though only your head and shoulders will be on show, you want to make the right impression. 

Some companies require employees to wear business attire. Whilst Some companies allow employees to choose what they want to wear based on their own judgement. 

It is a good idea to research the company’s culture before the interview to get a good idea of what the employees wear. 

One way to get a sense of what the employees typically wear is to look at the images of staff members on the company’s website. 

Replicate what the employees typically wear. For example, if they wear smart clothing, dress smartly for your video interview.

Tips:

-Avoid bright colours and patterns and go for softer colours instead.

– If you are wearing a tie, wear a solid coloured tie.
-If you wear glasses, adjust the lighting in the room to reduce glare from the lenses.

Step 6: Make sure you have everything you might need nearby

Before your video interview starts, make sure that you have everything you might need nearby.

Check the video interview invite to see if it states that you’ll need anything in particular such as a calculator or a pen and paper. 

Here are some things you might want to have nearby during your video interview:

  • Notepad/paper and pen
  • A copy of your CV
  • Any notes you took whilst preparing for the interview.
  • Glasses if you may need them
  • A bottle of water
  • Laptop charger
  • Calculator

As well as making sure that you have everything that you might need around you, get rid of any potential distractions.

-Switch off your phone during your video interview

-Close any other tabs that you have open in your web browser

-Declutter the area that you will be taking your video intervie

Step 7: Prepare for unexpected events

With technology, there’s always a chance things could go wrong.

The interviewer understands that unexpected events may occur. They will be interested to see how you deal with such situations.

Many other posts on how to prepare for a video interview miss this very important point.

Here’s how to prepare for unexpected occurrences during your video interview.

  • What to do if your audio stops working

Tip: ask the interviewer for a number that you can reach them on if you get disconnected.

If the video cuts out, call them at that number.

Ask if you can continue the interview by phone or if you can reschedule at a later date.

 • How to handle unexpected noises

If noises (sirens, construction, etc.) interrupt your video interview, don’t just ignore it.

Apologise for the interruption and ask for a few moments until the noise has subsided.

You may want to mute the microphone if the noise is particularly loud or disruptive. 

If someone enters the room unexpectedly 

If someone enters the room while you’re interviewing:

-Let the  interviewer know what has happened
-Ask them for a few moments
-Mute your microphone and turn off your camera
-Deal with the interruption

Before the interview, find out who you’ll need to contact in the event of any technical difficulties.

Sometimes this information will be included in the video interview email invite or on the webpage outlining the application process.

Remember, unexpected events are sometimes unavoidable.

Your potential employer will be very interested to see how you deal with the situation because unexpected events occur in the workplace all the time. 

Knowing all about how to prepare for a video interview questions is one thing but preparing for the unexpected, what to wear and the equipment you may need is an important step.

How to ace a video interview by Vodafone

How to prepare for a video interview: summary

Video interviews are becoming much more popular. Most internship and graduate roles at large companies require candidates to complete one as part of the recruitment process.

Therefore, knowing how to prepare for a video interview is absolutely vital!

Whether it’s a video interview or a traditional face to face interview, preparation is key.

Surprisingly, people only spend on average 36 minutes preparing for an interview.

This is not enough time.

Preparing properly will help you to stand out amongst the other candidates.

Before your video interview, schedule in some time to practise answering questions. This will help you to refine your interview technique.

We hope you find these tips on how to prepare for your video interview helpful.

If you would like further support to prepare for your job interviews, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us

Before you go, if you enjoyed reading our post on how to prepare for a video interview, check out our graduate scheme application tips and our latest posts below.

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