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Top 10 tips for perfecting a video interview

By Andrew Pirie

​Skype and Zoom have become somewhat of the ‘normal’ way for people to communicate with each other over recent months. In the absence of being able to meet in person, video conference interviewing is something employers have become used to.

Video conferencing is completely free for the candidate to use, with the employer taking care of most of the set-up. However, there are still some things you’ll need to be aware of to make your ‘virtual’ interview run smoothly.

If you follow these top 10 tips, you’ll be more than comfortable in a ‘virtual’ environment.

1. Become familiar with the technology

Download the relevant app ahead of time (Skype for instance, is available on most mobile phones and computers, as is Zoom). Your Sanctuary consultant should provide you with your meeting link and access code from the employer too. Make sure you have this to hand and ready to go!

If you’re using a computer, take the time to test your microphone and webcam. You could always ask to have a test-run Zoom meeting with a friend.

2. Make sure your space is free from distraction

Be sure to find a room where you feel most comfortable and free from home-life distractions – somewhere that’s quiet and not too visually distracting for the interviewer. Unless you live somewhere private and peaceful, outside will not be the best idea. Likewise, when you’re indoors, shut your window. There’s nothing worse than hearing a delivery van reversing whilst trying to answer a question.

3. Choose your outfit carefully

You’ll want to dress as you usually would for an in-person interview, which is smart and comfortable. You might want to avoid anything that’s too brightly coloured though or anything that is stripy (this can sometimes be a little dazzling on the eyes).

4. Double check that the date and time in your diary

It’s all too easy to accidently pop your appointment into the wrong day and time – make sure you double check this. The last thing you would want to do is miss it. Also set reminders on your phone/PC for a day or two before.

5. Be on time, but not too early

This may feel as if you’re breaking interview-etiquette, but it’s best to be on time rather than ten minutes early. An employer may be using the same virtual ‘meeting room’ for another interview and you wouldn’t want to disrupt that. Plus, the employer would not be waiting around in a virtual space as they would be in an office. It’s best to be around 2 or 3 minutes early.

6. Position your laptop or phone correctly

This may seem obvious, but if you are using a tablet, for example, make sure it is securely fixed into position rather than simply propped up. Employers are forgiving, but you wouldn’t want a falling screen to disrupt a great interview answer.

7. Speak clearly and a little slower

Obviously, you still need to sound like you but do be aware that there can sometimes be a time delay or the odd glitch in video conference interviews. If you’re speaking clearly and at a pace that’s easy to understand, it’s much easier for the interviewer to grasp what you’re saying.

8. Be aware of your body language

Being on film can make even the most confident person feel shy – the important thing to remember is that you’re not alone. This will usually pass in the first few seconds. As a tip though, practice looking into your webcam and speaking rather than looking at the video of you speaking on screen. It might help to put a sticky label just above the webcam to remind you of this!

9. Ask the interviewer to repeat a question if needed

Even employers, with all their tech, may have the odd connectivity issue meaning you may not be able to hear the question properly first time around. Don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat the question – it’s perfectly normal and almost expected!

10. Make sure you address everyone in the ‘room’

The chances are, you’ll be interviewed by two or more people, who are likely to be in different locations themselves. Make sure you are familiar with who they are and take the time to acknowledge them within their answers and thank them for their question – this will show you have great attention to detail and are personable.

Hopefully, you’re now excited by the prospect of a video conference interview. All that’s left to do is for us to find you a job (if we haven’t already done so) and for you to practice your interview question answers by downloading the relevant interview guide:


Download the children’s services interview guide

Download the adult services interview guide


Download the healthcare interview guide


Download the criminal justice interview guide