Preparing for video interviews

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We’ve all spent a lot of time lately in online classes and meetings on our computers. Many companies are not coming to campus in person this year for internship recruitment, so video interviews are taking the place of traditional in-person interviews. Let’s talk about how to prepare for video interviews.


Prepare for a video interview the same way you prepare for an in-person interview. Do your research on the company and the role you’re interviewing for. Come prepared with a list of questions you’d like to ask.

I always recommend having a few “fallback” questions to use at any interview or networking event. These are open-ended questions that could work to kickstart a conversation, or to dig a little deeper during an interview. Here are some examples:

  • “What makes you want to stay at your current position?”
  • “How would you describe the culture at your company?”

Nothing derails a video interview faster than poor technology!

  • Connect from a location with reliable WiFi
  • Test out your webcam and make sure your face is clearly visible
  • Check the background of your video and clear out any clutter that may be distracting.
  • Practice with the platform you’ll be using. If you’re unfamiliar with the platform, do a quick YouTube tutorial before connecting to your interview.
  • Most platforms have a “test my connection” function where you can conduct a test call with video, prior to connecting to the interview. Check out these step-by-step instructions from Zoom and Teams for conducting a test call.
  • Tell your housemates, significant other, parents, etc. that you have a video interview. Beg or bribe them not to burst into the room while you’re interviewing. Appearances by pets are welcome in all McCownGordon virtual interviews.
  • Ask for a phone number where you can reach the interviewer if you have technical difficulties. If you can’t solve your tech problems quickly, call the interviewer immediately and ask if you can continue the interview over the phone or reschedule.


It’s interview day! Here are a few tips for virtual interview success.

  • Dress the same way you would for an in-person interview. It’s okay to skip putting on shoes, but please wear pants!
  • Have a copy of your resume handy. We’ll have a copy in front of us and may want to ask about specific items.
  • Feel free to refer to your notes – that shows interviewers that you have prepared for the interview.
  • Interviewers want to see your face clearly.
    • Frame your webcam to show the top of your shoulders to the top of your head.
    • Sitting 2-3 feet away from your camera is usually a good distance.
  • Body language is important during a virtual call, especially since we can’t shake hands. Sit up straight and find ways to show interest and enthusiasm. Smiling is a good start.
  • Look at the camera instead of the computer screen. The camera lens is like looking someone in the eye – it may be awkward the first couple of times, but it does help to make a connection with the people on the other end.
  • Most importantly, be authentic. In a video interview, you have the opportunity to speak to interviewers from a relaxing, familiar environment. Use tools like body language, facial expressions and professional preparation to convey your confidence and personality.


As you’re wrapping up your interview, be sure to ask the interviewer about next steps in their recruitment process, and when you should expect to hear from them. If you want to send a thank you email, do so within 24 hours of your interview.

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