Skype/video interviews – Dos and don’ts

video interviewLast week The Guardian published an interesting article Top tips for Skype interviews. We have also noticed an increase in queries about video/online interviews in Careers Service. According to the Guardian article, 18% of candidates have experienced a video interview in the past year, so it seems timely to discuss them.

These interviews fall into two types:

  1. At an early stage of the recruitment process you might be asked to do a video questionnaire to help employers filter candidates. Instead of a live connection with an interviewer, you would log in and video your answers to a set of standard questions. Some systems allow you to re-record your answers but in most cases you will only have a shot at it.
  2. Video interviews which replace face to face interview or telephone interview. These are conducted at a pre-arranged time by the recruiter using Skype or similar software.


  • Download the software in advance of the interview to allow you time to familiarise yourself with it and tackle any technical problems that might arise.
  • Do practice calls with your friends and family. If possible record yourself so that you can review it and adjust anything that is not working well.
  • Create a professional username, for example one that is close to your email address.
  • Make a quick test the morning of the interview to make sure the equipment is working correctly.
  • Check what can be detected behind you and your surroundings- tatty posters won’t look good. A neutral background is best.
  • Use a quiet place and make sure you won’t be disturbed/interrupted- phones, people walking behind you, pets, children, etc. Avoid public places. You want the interviewer to focus on you, not to be distracted by your surroundings.
  • Dress professionally from head to toe. Don’t be tempted to wear pyjama bottoms just because the interviewer will only see the upper body. What if you have to get up to adjust something? Also dressing the part will put you in the professional mood needed for the interview. Dress dark with a touch of colour but avoid stripes and patterns or they can jump around the screen giving your interviewer a headache!
  • Look at the camera to make eye contact instead of the screen. Don’t be distracted by your own image on the screen. Sound strong and clear. Be enthusiastic but don’t over gesture. And don’t forget to smile!
  • You can use notes (for example your CV or post-its with points you want to mention or questions you might have). But keep them out of screen sight and don’t read from them. Organise the notes in a way that you can scan them with a quick glance.
  • Even after your careful preparation, technical problems might still arise. Address them immediately in a calm and professional manner. In this situation you want to come across as a problem solver.

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