About the author

Darren Cronian, the author of this guide, has spent eight years securing remote jobs and building a successful freelancing business. His goal is to help people escape the office. Read more >

Video job interviews are a necessity when landing a remote job. Companies prefer video because they can connect with you face-to-face.

The face-to-face aspect of the interview is probably the only similarity because video interviews are different – they require technology and a different set of skills to prepare and perform. It’s at this point where your technical skills will be tested, but don’t set into panic mode, this article is here to guide you.

Having experienced a video job interview recently, here are my tips.

Tips for Video Job Interviews
Essential gear for video interviews

You will need a desktop computer or laptop and a web camera for video job interviews. Most laptops have a built-in camera, but I advise investing in the Logitech C920S HD Pro or Logitech Brio webcam.

Why? When you land a remote job, most roles require regular video calls, so invest the money now for better-quality video.

You will also need a microphone. Most laptops and headphones have one built-in but check this before the interview.

Invest in comfortable headphones because you will use them frequently. Recommended are the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 headphones. While expensive, the noise cancellation feature is excellent when working in a coffee shop or co-working space and you need to concentrate.

If you’re using wireless headphones, ensure they are fully charged before the interview. Also, having an extra pair of headphones nearby is a good idea should you have any issues.

Prepare the background and scene. 

Make sure the room is well-lit. Ideally, sit opposite or near a window with natural light. This will ensure the interviewer can see you and provide the best video quality you can get.

Clear your desk and remove any clutter. Look around to ensure there’s nothing in view that might cause embarrassment or distract the person interviewing you.

Make sure you have a professional background visible during the video interview. If you work in your bedroom and your bed is visible to the interviewer, move your laptop to a different room with a neutral background.

Test your Internet Speed

You will need a moderately fast, reliable internet connection for video calls. The required speed will depend on the software. For example, Google Hangouts requires a bandwidth of 2.6mbps, down and 3.6mbps, up.

You can test your internet by using the speed test tool. The faster your connection, the better the video you receive and send.

Having a backup if your home WiFi goes offline during the interview. You can use your mobile phone to tether to your laptop or purchase a Mi-Fi unit, which is unlocked for all mobile networks.

My backup is the 4G/LTE Huawei Mi-Fi, with a local sim card and data.

Avoid distractions

Distractions can stop you in full flow when answering questions, so notify everyone in the home that you’re being interviewed and do not disturb you.

Ensure the room is as quiet as possible so that no barking dogs or kids are running havoc around the home.

Close down all applications, including email and messenger apps like Slack. Turn off notifications on the browser and operating system. Switch off, or put your phone and mobile devices in silent mode.

Test your Setup

Before the interview, make sure your gear is working.

If you know the video conferencing software you use for the interview, set up a call with a friend and test your headphones, microphone, and webcam on your home WiFi connection. It’s worth the extra effort for peace of mind.

While the video quality is essential, the audio should be the priority. Ask your friend if the audio is clear. Headphones are necessary so the interviewer does not hear the echo of their voice from your speakers.

Communicate Clearly

Being a good communicator is essential, so talk clearly and slowly. This is easier said than done because, in an interview scenario, nervousness plays a massive part in how you come across. Take a deep breath and give yourself a few seconds of thinking time before answering the questions.

Arrive Early

Give yourself a few minutes to complete final checks on audio and video before connecting to the video call. Arriving a few minutes early is good practice in all meetings, not just job interviews. Not only does it show you’re punctual but also that you can be trusted to arrive on time.

Make sure your laptop is charged.

You’re in full flow of the job interview, and the battery on your laptop dies – it’s the worst feeling ever. Make sure that your computer is plugged into the charger and that it’s charging throughout the job interview.

Have a notepad nearby.

It’s easy to forget things as you go through the interview process. While in the interview, questions will appear in your head, and it’s easy to forget them, so make a quick note. A notepad is also a good idea if there are instructions you need to remember.

Look Well Presented and Professional

Don’t look like you’ve just climbed out of bed. While you do not need to wear a suit, ensure you look presentable because first impressions count. If you’ve eaten before the interview, make sure you’ve brushed your teeth and washed your face, the last thing you want is the tomato from the pizza around your lips!

This is common sense and the same for all interviews.

Keep Hydrated

Pour yourself a glass of water and place it near the computer. You’ll need to keep hydrated throughout the interview. Be careful not to knock the water over and spill it everywhere – that would make for an eventful interview!

Look at the Camera and Smile

Eye contact is essential, and that’s just as important during video job interviews. Look at the web camera when talking and while the interviewer is asking questions. If your eyes wander away, it looks like you aren’t paying attention and can distract the interviewer.

Most importantly – smile, laugh, be friendly, and welcoming.

Try your best to have fun and build up a positive relationship with the interviewer so that you leave with an excellent first impression.

Always listen and don’t interrupt unless needed. Hopefully, these video job interview tips will help you land a remote job successfully.

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