Video interviews have become more commonplace in recent years. Most companies choose to do a video interview for out-of-town candidates to have face-to-face interaction without the cost of travel. However, for some companies, a video interview is standard for all candidates—it just depends on the company and industry.

Generally speaking, companies use Skype or other free video calling services to conduct video interviews, but some companies have a custom teleconferencing setup they prefer.

Preparing for the Interview

As with all remote interviews, you want to begin interview preparation by finding a quiet space. You do not want distractions—this includes children, pets, and delivery persons. If you are concerned that you may be disturbed, post a sign outside your door and/or hire a sitter.

Once you have arranged a quiet space, you need to make sure you have the right equipment set up. Either use a computer with a built in webcam or purchase a basic webcam to add to your existing computer. Download the video service the company uses, then do a test run of the whole system with a friend. Make sure you can be seen and heard clearly. If necessary, purchase a headset to make your audio more clear.

Remember that although your smartphone or tablet can run video conferencing services like Skype, it should only be used as a last resort. Handheld video is shaky, and the audio is often not great with these devices. If you must use a smartphone or tablet, be sure to stabilize it instead of holding it in your hands.

During your test run, look at the entire picture you offer the interviewer. Video may capture clutter and other items behind you which interviewers may see unfavorably. A blank wall, a tidy bookcase, a wall with framed diplomas, or a window with little activity are ideal backdrops. If you do not have access to this kind of setting, create a blank background by carefully hanging a solid sheet behind you.

Before the Interview

Before the interview, take time to prepare as though it were any other kind of interview. Do your research about the company and the position, and make sure you have a copy of the job description and your resume on hand. For more tips on pre-interview preparation, check out our phone interview guide or our more comprehensive guide to interview preparation.

Dress as you would for an in-person interview. Look clean, professional, and presentable with understated makeup and jewelry if desired. Be sure to wear the full outfit to avoid embarrassment should you need to get up while on video for any reason.

Turn off any other devices connected to the same internet network, when possible, if you are at home.  A TV or phone streaming Netflix or Pandora can cause connection issues.

During the Interview

During the interview, be aware that the video and/or audio may have delay issues based on your connection. Speak slowly and clearly, and try not to make too many quick movements like talking with your hands. If the video or audio delays, try to pause and wait for it to recover before continuing. Keep your eyes on the screen so that you can take nonverbal cues from your interviewer.

As with all interviews, ask questions and jot down notes as you go. When answering questions, focus on how you are a good fit for the role and how the organization is a good fit for your career. Now is a good time to discuss major milestones the company wishes to achieve in the coming months with the position and the department.

Now is not the time, however, to discuss salary or benefits. Doing so prematurely may make you seem greedy.

If Technical Issues Arise

There are times when technology simply does not work the way we wish it would—during your interview is no exception to that rule. Should you encounter a technical issue, do not get flustered. Instead, keep calm and remain professional at all times. Start by contacting the person who set up the interview, either by calling or emailing, to explain the issue. If you can, fix the issue and try to continue the interview. If, however, you are unable to continue the interview, be prepared to reschedule the interview for another time.

If you have to reschedule, double check your equipment before the next interview. Troubleshoot everything and perform test runs to ensure that no issues arise on your end.

After the Interview

After the interview, you will need to follow the same steps we discussed in our phone interview post: reach out to your recruiter, discuss your opinions about how the interview went and whether you feel the position is still a good fit, then send a thank you note to the individual(s) with whom you interviewed.

JDC Group’s recruiters understand that video interviews can be a challenge for candidates. To schedule a practice video interview, reach out to your recruiter or contact our team at [email protected]

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