In previous days, when you wanted to apply for a job in a far-away city, you’d have to take the time to travel to the site, or you’d need to set up a time to talk on the telephone. But now, given the availability of online communication tools and software, as well as the relative ease with which they can be used, you may find yourself conducting or participating in an interview that takes place via an online video-conferencing or chat service.

A video interview provides both the applicant and hiring managers the benefit of seeing one another and observing each other’s responses, gestures, and general demeanor, even when the distance between them is great. However, you may find that technology also introduces some potential challenges and pitfalls that must be avoided if you hope to have a successful meeting.

Whether you’re participating in this process as an interviewer or interviewee, you may appreciate the tips for how to conduct a video interview that we’ve gleaned from Gwenn Wilson, MA’s 100% Job Search Success, Third Edition, which we’ve summarized below. Many of these tips can also apply to any type of video-based online presentation, such as a “vodcast,” web conference call, or online lecture.


To Prepare for a Video Interview

Be sure to check…

  • Your outfit. Think about what you’d wear, from head to toe, to an in-person interview… and wear that same type of outfit to your video interview.
  • Your equipment. Avoid potential delays, hiccups, and interferences by checking that your microphone, camera, and other tech tools are working as you’d expect. “Arrive” at the online meeting site about ten minutes early, to get logged in and set up as necessary. Finally, provide an alternate means of contact (such as your cellphone number) in case the technology on either end of the call fails.
  • The lighting. Verify that the light is bright enough to produce a clear image. Placing a light in front of yourself will help make you more visible to the person on the other end of the conversation.
  • The arrangement of your space. Make your surroundings as clean and clutter free as possible. Shut your curtains or blinds, so that outside light and movement will not interfere with your call.
  • The potential for any interruptions or distractions. Let those with whom you live know that you’ll be conducting a video interview, so that they won’t disturb you at that time. Shut off your tablet, set your phone to silent, and close any unnecessary web pages on your computer. And, if at all possible, lock the door so that no one inadvertently enters.

Additional Tips for a Successful Online Interview

  • Mind your body language—especially your eye contact. Comport yourself as you would in person—look at the interviewer and sit with good posture. This will help you appear alert, attentive, and interested in the conversation.
  • Stay tuned to what the other party is saying. You may experience a slight delay when conducting a meeting online; for this reason, it’s wise to start a new phrase or thought in order to allow time for the other party’s response or additional questions.
  • Practice, practice, practice! Ask a friend or family member to run through a mock interview with you prior to the “real thing.”


Reference: Wilson, Gwenn. 2015. 100% Job Search Success, 3rd ed. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning. 


Have you conducted or participated in an online video interview? What additional suggestions would you add to the ones mentioned above? Share them in the comments.