How to Prepare for a Video Interview

Last updated: Jan 17, 2023

Video interviews have become a standard part of the hiring process for remote and in-office businesses alike.


If putting your best foot forward on camera makes you nervous, you’re not alone! To ensure you’re poised for success, here’s everything you need to know about preparing for a video interview.

Types of Video Interviews

You may be asked to do one of two video interview styles.


Live Video Interviews

In a live video interview format, you will join a video conference from a link that the employer shares with you, which is typically some form of video conferencing software, such as Zoom, Teams, Google Meet, or Skype. Once you click on the link to join the interview, you’ll be able to speak and see the interviewer(s) on the other end.


One thing to keep in mind with this format is if you’re using a personal video conferencing software account, make sure your username is professional. Otherwise, you may want to create an account just for video interviews.


Pre-Recorded Video Interviews

In pre-recorded video interviews, you will answer interview questions that are either pre-recorded or appear in writing on the screen. You will record your answer to each question, and there is typically a time limit for your responses. You may have more than one chance to record your answer — specific instructions will be given to you on how to join the interview. The employer will review the responses later.


While it may feel awkward to give interview responses alone on video with no one listening, it’s best to pretend you’re having a live conversation. Preparing ahead of time is always important, but practicing for this video interview format is essential.


Tips for Preparing Before the Video Interview

Don’t wait until five minutes before your video interview to prepare! Instead, you should start a few days ahead of time to get everything situated.


Test Your Tech

A couple of days before your video interview, run through your technology setup to make sure everything works.

  • Download any apps or plugins you’ll need for the video conferencing software.
  • Make sure your webcam, microphone, and internet connection are working.
  • Charge up your phone, laptop, or tablet — whatever device you use.
  • Conduct a trial run of your tech setup with a friend or family member.
  • Check your internet speed to make sure it’s at least 1 megabit per second using

Dress Professionally

While it may feel unnecessary, dressing for success from head to toe will ensure you are in the right interview mindset. And, if you have to get up for whatever reason during your video interview, your potential future employer won’t see you wearing sweatpants!


Indeed recommends researching the company culture to determine what’s appropriate. Some other wardrobe considerations:

  • Choose something that looks neat while sitting down.
  • Avoid bright colors.
  • Don’t wear noisy jewelry.

A guy preparing for a video interview.

Practice Beforehand

Practicing your responses to typical interview questions with a friend or family member beforehand is always a good idea. Make sure you’re ready to answer common interview questions, such as:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Why are you leaving your current job?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • What's your expected salary?

You should also create a list of questions to ask the interviewer about the position and the company that shows you’ve done your research.


Create a Distraction-Free Environment

Since you don’t want loud noises or interruptions during your video interview, try to create an environment free from distractions.

  • Reduce in-person distractions: Try to find a spot free from distractions like pets, roommates, or children. Also, if you expect a delivery, hang a sign on the door that says not to ring the doorbell.
  • Eliminate virtual distractions: This is the perfect time to use your device’s Do Not Disturb mode. Turn off all alerts for texts, social media notifications, software updates, etc.

Set the Scene

There are several ways you can make sure your video shot looks professional.

  • Choose a good background: If you can’t find a plain or professional-looking background, several video conferencing tools now offer the option to blur your background or choose a virtual background photo. Whichever you choose, make sure the result is still professional looking.
  • Consider your lighting: Using natural light from a window typically looks best. However, if you need to bring in a lamp, illuminate your face from the front.
  • Place your monitors: If you have more than one monitor, place the monitor with the camera straight in front of you so you look forward and not off to the side.
  • Get it eye-level: If you are using your phone or tablet, prop them up with a stand or a stack of books to get it to the right height.
  • Assemble your materials: Have a copy of your resume, a copy of the job description, and something to take notes on right beside you.
  • Position your chair: Your head and shoulders should be visible, and you should sit so that 10-20 percent of the screen above your head is empty.
  • Use headphones: This will help prevent weird echoes.

Tips for During the Interview

During the video interview, remember these tips so you can focus on the actual content of your interview.


Be Early

Don’t log on at the last minute! You wouldn’t arrive at an in-person interview right on the dot, would you? Instead, arrive at your interview set up at least 15 minutes early, and log on 5-10 minutes early to make sure you’re on time.


Consider Body Language and Eye Contact

Even though your interviewer won’t be able to see your whole body, that doesn’t mean body language doesn’t matter. To keep it confident and natural:

  • Maintain good eye contact and posture.
  • Use your facial expressions to show that you’re engaged.
  • Don’t lean in too close to the camera.
  • Smile and nod while your interviewer is talking.

A woman talking during her video interview.

Keep Conversational Awareness

If you’re in a live video interview, it can be hard sometimes not to interrupt or know when to start talking. Treat your interview like a conversation with a little extra awareness.


For example, let the other person finish speaking before you get started, and remember that taking your own pauses is okay. You may need a little time to process their questions and think of the best responses. If you will have a longer pause, communicate that to your interviewer.


Plan for the Worst

Here are some ways to recover if something goes wrong during the interview.

  • Video and audio problems: Before the interview begins, you should ask the interviewer for a phone number you can reach out to in case of any technical issues. That way, if you have video or audio problems, you can call that number and ask to reschedule.
  • Noise issues: If a loud noise comes through your video, such as lawncare noises, sirens, or construction sounds, apologize and mute your audio if necessary.
  • Unexpected guests: If someone enters your interview area, apologize to your interviewer and ask for a moment to deal with the situation. If you must mute your mic and/or turn off your camera, do so as briefly as possible.

End With a Thank You

As you would with an in-person interview, thank the interviewer for the opportunity. After a day has passed, follow up with a thank you message that reiterates your interest in the position.


Prep Is Key for Interview Success

As hiring continues to go virtual for many companies, it’s essential to have a plan for video interviews. Download our handy video interview checklist below to ensure you’re prepared before your next video interview.


Download our Guide