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Flying and putting up candidates in a hotel for a night can get expensive — especially for newer and smaller companies. For this reason, more and more organizations are turning to video interviews as a method of screening applicants who are not local.

But although video interviews may provide a level of comfort, because you may do them from home, without the right preparation, your shot at a great employment opportunity could be lost. Here are a list of dos and don’ts to keep in mind if you are asked to do a video interview.

Don’t take any wardrobe shortcuts

Just because the hiring manager may not see the lower half of your body, it doesn’t mean you should wear your favorite pair of flip-flops or, even worse, a pair of sweats. Dress as you would for an in-person interview and put the same effort you would into your grooming. You never know, you may have to stand up for whatever reason, and it would not be in your favor to show that you took a wardrobe shortcut. Also, it may help to focus if your clothes match your mindset.

Test your equipment thoroughly

Try not to wait until an hour before the video interview to test your computer’s microphone and camera. Give yourself ample time to address any glitches and ensure all of the needed software has been updated. The earlier you do this, the easier it will be to make the necessary changes or to borrow a computer if you have to.

Create a professional background

Hiring managers will be paying a lot of attention to you and your background. Make sure the items that show are professional looking and not too distracting. But, on the other hand, you don’t want a plain white background either. Plants and neutral pictures may enhance a white wall. Also, make sure you have enough lighting. In addition to the lights in the ceiling, you may also benefit from a desk lamp next to your laptop to help brighten your face and remove shadows.

Create a script

Create a set of notes that you can reference during the interview. These can be a few index cards with points you may want to discuss, or questions you may have about the job or company. Having a script to refer to will take some of the anxiety away from the interview.


Try a few practice interviews and record yourself. Use the video to study your camera behavior. Are you looking down or forgetting to smile? By analyzing your speaking mannerisms, you will be able to identify behavior patterns that may distract a hiring manager. Additionally, you may want to ask a friend to take a look at your clip and make recommendations.

Video interviews can feel overwhelming, but with the right preparation, you can ensure you’re putting your best face forward.

Belo Cipriani is a recruiting professional and an award-winning author. He is also a freelance journalist, and has been a featured guest lecturer at both Yale University and the University of San Francisco. In conjunction with Granite Solutions Groupe, he also writes GSG Connections. Learn more