Career Success Center : Interviewing 101

Video Interviewing

As time passes, more and more companies are relying on video interviewing, and virtual career fairs. To be competitive in the job market, it is time to learn the in’s and out’s of this new form of meeting potential employers. To help you prepare, here are five tips to do to prepare:

  1. Check your technology

Familiarize yourself with your webcam and microphone so you know how they work. Make sure that your audio and video come through clearly and that there are no technical issues on your end that would hinder your interview. Take the time to test out your technology by calling a friend and asking for feedback. Also, remember to keep the camera and inch above eye-level. You may want to prop your computer up on a box for optimal effect.


  1. Prep your surroundings

You may think the only thing the people on the other end of a video interview can see is your face, but they will see some of your surroundings too. The room that you are in should look neat and attractive and not be visually distracting. You also need to avoid any auditory distractions such as a barking dog or a crying child. Also be sure to turn off the ringers of all the phones in the area. This is not the time to use the coffee shop’s wifi. You need to make sure your surroundings are quiet and professional looking, with no one standing or walking behind you.

Don’t do it from a café. Or any other public place for that matter. Even if you’re in the middle of vacation or have problems with your home network, it’s still worth it to pay for a day pass at a coworking space. If you don’t want to go to a coworking space, many libraries have designated spaces for less $$$.Make sure you find a nice quiet place for your interview, with zero distractions and noises that could hurt your performance. Bonus points if there’s a plain background.


  1. Consider your lighting

Put a light behind your computer, at eye level, so your face is illuminated, and avoid casting shadows on your face. Sitting with a window in front of you is the best option. You should also keep in mind that the lighting can make your face shiny, using light makeup on your face would be beneficial, even if you're a man.


  1. Dress to impress

It may be tempting to go without pants because you don’t want to dirty any laundry but appearance still matters and can create the right attitude. When interviewing for a position, you never know if you might have to stand up to go retrieve something so you should still dress in a suit even though only your top will be seen.

When it comes to attire, the formality depends on the role, company type and workplace culture.

You will need to go for a classic suit-and-tie look or a conservative-style dress if you’re interviewing for a role in a bank, an international non-profit or a C-level role. But if you’re a UX designer applying to a start-up, there’s nothing wrong with jeans and a plain sweater.Video interviews are no different, but there’s a twist — some patterns and colors don’t look good on camera.Here are some basic rules:

  • Avoid revealing clothes. It’s best to cover your shoulders and not wear any low-cut garments.
  • Don’t wear white. Because of how the webcam works and the lighting, white will be way too bright and distracting.
  • Avoid all-black outfits too. Again, your webcam will adapt to try and show the black and you may end up looking pale or too washed out.
  • Don’t wear any fluorescent or super-bright colors. Opt for neutral colors like beige, pastels or gray.
  • Forget busy patterns like pinstripes or plaid – the lines will look like they’re moving. You don’t want recruiters to feel dizzy while listening to your achievements.
  • Don’t wear strong makeup or large jewelry. Make up can look cakey on camera and jewelry can reflect light, so it's better to stick to the good old “less is more”.


  1. Sit where you can speak freely

Finally, don’t try to do a video interview from your current job if they don’t know you’re looking at new opportunities. You want to be in a place, preferably your home, where you can talk freely and not feel rushed.

Remember all those embarrassing videos of kids and pets interrupting serious meetings?

It’s only funny when it happens to someone else. Yes, we’re all human and have lives, but things like these tend do diminish your credibility.To avoid this:

  • Keep your housemates, children and pets away. Sure, they’re all cute, but they will distract both you and the interviewer.
  • Turn off all noisy appliances like air-conditioning, music, or your TV in the background.
  • Shut down all other programs on your computer (e.g. chat apps that might unexpectedly make noises or launch pop-ups to distract you during the interview).P.S. Don’t forget to mute your phone notifications too!
  • Check your background before the interview. Position your desk so that your background is a plain wall or a nice shelf with books and plants. If you can’t do that, you can use some of the custom backgrounds, but don’t be too eccentric.
  • Don’t sit in front of windows — there might be a glare or your face might be in a shadow.