How to survive a video interview

Author Stephanie McCleery
March 24, 2020

I have recruited many positions across the UK & Ireland and video interviews have been a regular part of my day-to-day recruitment life for a long time now. However, no one really advises you on how to conduct yourself or the best etiquette to have on a video call and if you haven’t done one previously it can add to the nerves you have already for the interview. Hopefully some of these tips will help you to come across well over a digital device that can sometimes feel quite daunting.  

The setting:

You probably don’t realise as your home is so familiar to you but think about where you will have the video call. If you have the luxury of a home office this is perfect. If not, find a space in your home that is clear of your personal items as much as possible. The ideal is a table and chair so you can sit upright, a coffee table and a sofa can also work. Be sure to test the view out with your recruiter first. If you can, avoid your bedroom as a place to take the call but if this is the only option, ensure you have tidied up with nothing in the background.

Your Device

Nowadays the options are endless, laptop, desktop, tablet or phone, but make sure you test it first. Call your recruiter to make sure the sound, volume, picture and signal all work well with your device rested on a table / flat surface. There is nothing more annoying or unprofessional in an interview than a phone being held at arm’s length and wobbling around. Again, if this is the first impression the interviewer has of you, it’s really not that great and it really distracts from the call. If you have been given a login to join, test this at least an hour before. You may need to download software, set up passwords and if you leave this to the last minute you may be late to the interview. If you have any problems this gives you plenty of time to advise your interviewer and also shows your organisational skills.

What to wear and bring to the interview

Treat this as you would if you were going to meet them face to face, dress appropriately for the interview, first impressions count. Have a glass of water to hand, a notebook, pen, a copy of your CV and a copy of the job description. Make sure you have prepared the questions you want to ask them and expect to be on the call up to an hour, you may also have a panel interview with multiple people joining so to be able to note their names will help you throughout the interview.

General things to consider:

That nervous tapping with your hands on the table, shuffling of papers, flicking of your hair out your face, the open window with the birds singing outside or a busy road and traffic passing. You may not realise but all this can be distracting in the interview and detract from what you are saying, be aware of all of these and minimise where possible.


Be yourself, smile, look directly at the camera and engage with your interviewer, be conscious of your body language, how you are sitting and how close your face is to the screen, be a sensible distance away from the camera and lean slightly forward to show you are interested, don’t slouch! Remember to thank the interviewer at the end for their time, remember to close your browser down, leave the virtual room or cancel the call before you say anything when the call has ended, you don’t want to accidently be still connected!

Once you have done a couple of these, they will become second nature, but hopefully a few of the above tips will help you get through the interview and help secure you the job you really want. Best of luck!