Making an Impression with The Video Interview

The video interview is increasingly used by organizations as a first-round interview. It allows more scheduling flexibility for interviewers and interviewees, while giving both an opportunity to still have face-to-face contact.

How to prepare:

  •  Check your technology to ensure that it works properly (test it with a friend)
  •  Make sure you select a location that reflects a professional setting
  • Select the time of day when you are at your best
  • Know your strengths and weaknesses
  • Develop your ideas and enthusiasm for discussion
  • Research the employer and develop questions to ask
  • Prepare answers to possible interview questions

The video interview may be the first step to securing an in-person interview. Be ready!

When Should a Video Interview Occur?

Ideally, you will have the opportunity to schedule the video interview at a mutually agreeable time. Be sure to give yourself enough time to prepare and refresh yourself on the position description and how you can contribute to the company’s goals and objectives. Also, give yourself time to set up and test your video conferencing equipment.

How Will You Be Evaluated During a Video Interview?

How you are assessed in a video interview may differ from assessment during an in-person interview.  Rather than a firm handshake, your first impression will be your on-screen greeting, body language, and demeanor. In addition, the interviewer will evaluate you on the following criteria:

  • Did you have an enthusiastic demeanor?
  • Did you answer questions vaguely or specifically?
  • Did you research the company well?
  • Did you express interest in a second interview?
  • Did you wear appropriate professional attire?
  • Did you have a clean, quiet, well-lighted area to conduct the interview?

Where Should a Video Interview Take Place?

Find a quiet, private setting, free from distractions such as television, family, friends, pets, door bells, or anything that may make a noise or take your attention away from the interview. Be sure to mute/turn off your cell phone. Consider what background the employer will see through the camera and make sure it is appropriate. Need a great interview space? Request an interview room!

Preparing for the Video Interview

Prepare for the video interview just like you would for an in-person interview. Dress professionally head-to-toe to present a confident and positive image.

Types of Videos


It is more likely that you will encounter this type of video interview. There are many different technology platforms that may be used. If the interview is through Skype, be sure that your Account ID name and profile picture are appropriate to be seen by potential employers.

Pre-Recorded/Selected Questions

You may experience a video interview where the questions have been pre-recorded. Your answers should sound as if you were answering them during an in-person interview. Remain mindful that you may only be allowed to re-record your answers a limited number of times.

Check Your Technology

Before the interview begins, please ensure the internet connection is working properly. Also, check the video and audio stream to ensure you will be clearly seen and heard. Make sure that the camera is angled correctly to show the upper half of your body.

Research the Organization and the Position

Before you conduct the interview, learn as much as possible about the organization and position. Visit the organization’s website, analyze the job description and match your experiences, interests, and abilities to what they are seeking. Establish a strong and specific reason for why you want to work at this organization.

Types of Questions

Behavioral Questions

The most common type of questions are behavioral. These questions are designed to evaluate your anticipated performance within the company. One strategy for preparing you answers to behavior-based questions is to use the STAR formula.  First, state the professional Situation you want to highlight. Next, describe the Task you completed, and then what Action you took to accomplish the goal. Finally, what were the Results of your action? This formula helps you deliver a complete and concise answer.

Traditional Questions

Traditional questions clarify points on your resume, evaluate your accomplishments, and assess your expectations of the organization.

Make a List of Questions to Ask the Employer

  • What do you think are the most important qualities for someone to excel in this role?
  • How would you describe the culture of the company?
  • Can you tell me something about how your career has developed working at this organization?
  • What do you like best working here?
  • What do you see as your company’s biggest challenges?

Utilize Your Resources

Gather these tools near your device during the interview:

  • Resume and cover letter for the position
  • Pen and paper to take notes during the interview
  • Job description
  • Calendar
  • Bottle of water

During the Video Interview

  • Look directly at the camera, not at your on-screen image
  • Be self-confident and enthusiastic; smile as much as possible
  • Speak succinctly so that you are easily understood
  • Be conversational and prepared to ask questions
  • Do not eat, smoke, or chew gum during the interview
  • Speak clearly
  • Sit in an upright position. Your voice will sound stronger
  • Avoid distracting nervous habits or repetitive movements, such as self-soothing gestures, foot-tapping, bouncing in chair, etc.
  • Do not interrupt the interviewer
  • Listen carefully; ask for clarification if needed

Ending the Interview

  • Let the employer end the interview
  • Thank the employer for his or her time and reiterate your interest in the position
  • Find out the next steps so that you can follow up appropriately
  • State that you look forward to continuing the conversation

Follow Up with the Interviewer

Send a thank you email to the interviewer as soon as possible, to show your appreciation and enthusiasm for the position. Make sure that the timetable and future steps have been discussed, so that you are aware of full interview process. If possible, also send a handwritten thank you letter.

Prepare for the Face-to-Face Interview

A video interview may be all that is needed to convince your interviewer that you are the right person for the job. However, most organizations prefer to meet job seekers in person before making any decisions. Please feel free to consult with Career Services to help prepare for face-to-face interviews. There are many resources available to help you build your confidence!

Hints to Help You Transition to the in-Person Interview:

  • Focus on what you will offer the organization
  • Provide new information about your skills and strengths
  • Discuss accomplishments that relate to the job
  • Ask more specific questions about the vacant position and organization
  • Communicate genuine interest in the organization
  • Demonstrate that you are best candidate for the position!