Video interview practice (with tips and common questions)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 22 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many companies use video interviews to help narrow down their list of potential candidates. As a virtual interview often serves as one of the first opportunities to filter out unsuitable candidates, first impressions are important. Learning how to practise for a video interview can help increase your chances of success. In this article, we explain what a virtual interview is, discuss the benefits and provide a list of video interview practice tips, including some of the most common interview questions to help you prepare.

Video interview practice

It's important to prepare when meeting a prospective employer virtually, and conducting video interview practice may help you succeed. Here are a few basic steps you can follow to help ensure that your online interview runs as smoothly as possible:

1. Do your research

Just like an in-person interview, it's important to prepare thoroughly before a virtual interview by finding out as much as you can about the company you're applying to. Research the projects they have in progress and the staff or team members who are interviewing you. Prepare a list of questions about things you'd like to know about the team or the company to show that you're interested.

2. Download the relevant video conferencing technology

Find out which platform your prospective employer uses to conduct their online interviews. Download the relevant application ahead of time, and register an account with your details, if applicable. Also, ensure that it's working correctly before your call. Most employers or recruiters send out an interview invitation via email detailing the application, date and time of the meeting, allowing you to obtain the appropriate applications.

3. Troubleshoot your technology

It's important that you connect a webcam and microphone to your computer and see that your Internet connection is secure. It's also advisable to test the functionality of this equipment before your call. Most applications allow you to test your camera and audio via the settings menu. You can run a speed test on the day of your interview to check your Internet connection.

Related: What is the vetting process? Everything you need to know

4. Practise with a friend or family member

When your equipment is ready, you can run a trial with a friend or family member. Connect with them via the relevant video conferencing platform. Make sure your headphones and microphones are working. Check that you can hear each other clearly.

5. Plan your outfit

How you dress is just as important for a virtual interview as a traditional in-person interview. The right outfit can help you stay in the interview mindset. While it may be tempting to wear comfortable pyjama bottoms or shorts with a smart shirt or blazer, put on a pair of formal trousers or a skirt instead. Choose a high neckline and wear jewellery that complements your outfit but is not distracting.

6. Charge your devices

To help ensure that your battery power lasts for the entire interview, you may wish to charge your devices the night before. If you're using a laptop, keep the charger nearby and ready to plug in if required. Select a location that's close to the router or anywhere the Wi-Fi signal is strongest to help address any connection issues.

7. Consider your background and foreground

Choose a quiet space free of distractions to have your interview. A room where you can close the door is ideal. A plain, professional-looking background is best, while a clutter-free foreground can help you focus. If you're attending the interview at home or in a public space, such as a coffee shop with a fixed background, some applications may allow you to blur your background or add a virtual background.

8. Practise eye contact and body language

Eye contact and body language are just as important during a video conference call as in person, if not more so. Practise looking directly into the camera lens of your computer or focus on the person in front of you and avoid letting your eyes wander while they're speaking to you. Try to remain still since moving around too much may make it seem as though you're focusing on something other than the interview. Sit up straight, and keep your feet flat on the ground and your forearms on the table in front of you.

9. Practise your interview voice

Check the volume settings on your computer. Project your voice so that your microphone detects it and your interviewer can hear you clearly. Keep in mind that Internet latency can cause instances where you talk over one another. You can address this by waiting for a few seconds for the interviewer to finish speaking before responding.

Related: What is a screening interview? (With tips to prepare for one)

10. Remove all distractions

When you're taking the call at home, try to minimise interruptions as much as possible. Hang a sign outside the door of your room or home office that asks your housemates, friends or family members not to disturb you while your interview is in progress. Turn off your phone to avoid notifications or phone calls during your meeting and close all applications on your laptop that may pop up on the screen during your interview or cause your Internet to lag.

11. Consider your lighting options

Lighting is important and can make a significant difference between a clear picture and a blurry or pixelated one. Sitting in front of a window can cause shadows and glare. Instead, use a natural or artificial light source in front of you and not behind you so that your face is well-lit. Angling your webcam at shoulder height is more flattering than a camera angled upwards or downwards.

Related: 12 Skype tips to succeed in your next interview

Types of video interviews

Your video interview practice may depend on the format of your online meeting. There're two common ways a prospective employer may conduct a video interview:

1. A live interview via video

Live interviews are like conventional in-person interviews. An employer meets with you via an online conferencing platform and hosts a live interview. This may involve a series of questions and answers in a casual or formal conversational style in the same way as you would in person. Live interviews are similar to traditional interviews because you typically deal with a real person in the present moment, and first impressions are important. You can prepare for this by following the above steps and practising common questions for the role.

2. A pre-recorded interview

Pre-recorded interviews are slightly different since there typically isn't a real person on the other side of the camera to ask you questions. Instead, your prospective employer can prepare for the interview in advance. They may provide a series of questions and ask you to record yourself while providing answers. Most pre-recorded interviews allow approximately two minutes per question. Although there's no time limit when you record your answers, remember that prospective employers typically compare your responses with those of other candidates.

You can follow the above steps, such as preparing an outfit and practising your speaking voice, but you may not need to research and practise common questions, as the employer provides you with the questions ahead of time.

Related: What is a pre-recorded video interview?

Prepare for the common video interview questions

Like any other interview format, a video interview is most successful when you're well prepared. If you're completing a live video interview, consider practising these common interview questions before your call and prepare your answers accordingly:

  • Can you tell us a little about yourself?

  • What's it about this role that appeals to you?

  • What helps you to feel motivated at work?

  • What's your greatest strength?

  • What's your greatest weakness?

  • What would you say makes you a good fit for this role? List any applicable previous experience.

  • What's your greatest achievement?

  • Do you work well under pressure?

  • Where would you like to be in five years?

  • What're your hobbies and interests outside of work?

  • What were your responsibilities in your last role?

  • Tell us about a time when you made a mistake. What did you do to correct it?

  • What's your current notice period?

What are the benefits of an online interview?

There are many advantages to agreeing to a video interview with your prospective employer. The main benefit is that you can have the interview at a time and place of your choosing, usually at home, without the cost or time constraints of travelling to another location. All you require is a computer or smartphone device with access to the Internet, a webcam and a microphone.

Video interviews combine the concepts of in-person and telephone interviews, allowing you to present yourself visually, unlike a telephone interview alone. Having an interview at home in a space you're comfortable in can be more reassuring than having to answer questions in front of your prospective employer in a foreign office space. Virtual meetings also allow more flexibility in your schedule, which can be very important if you're interviewing while you currently have another job.

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