Oscar winning video interview tips

During my time in HR recruitment, a lot has changed. When I started out in recruitment it was hard to imagine that candidates could find their next job online, let alone social media. And then there are video interviews from FaceTime to Skype.

When it comes to interviews, Skype is sometimes used by employers and recruiters. There are benefits to both the candidate and the recruiter, although for many people, unless they are Olivia Colman or Bradley Cooper, they may not feel confident talking to a camera.

Performing well in front of the camera doesn’t come easy to everyone but there are simple steps you can take to make the experience stress-free and natural.

Do I look good in this?

The good news is, to make an Oscar-winning Skype interview, you don’t need a Custom Christian Siriano.

Candidates who relish face-to-face meetings can be thrown by Skype-style interviews and left thinking “Where do I look?”, “What’s the best framing?”, “What should I wear?”

The golden rule is that nothing should detract from what you’re saying. A pleasant, neutral background is best - no objects that will possibly intrigue the interviewer more than your message. Do yourself justice by working to get the best lighting on your face.

The same goes for your style of dress. Keep it appropriate and don’t assume your lower half will never be revealed – so ditch the pyjama bottoms as it could lead to an embarrassing moment if you have to stand to make last-minute technical adjustments!
It’s also important to remember the remote interview is a technical exercise as well so don’t forget interview preparation.


Head and shoulders

 You don’t have to be Alfonso Cuarón to get these three technical aspects right

  • sound level
  • picture framing
  • background

We’ve already mentioned having a neutral background so moving onto framing, the top of your head and at least the top of your shoulders should be in the shot. One idea is to look at how guest interviewees are framed for television news.

Eyes on the screen

If you feel more comfortable being expressive with your hands, do so, but within reason. The trick is to make and hold eye-contact with your interviewer. Don’t look down constantly at notes. If you need them, a few reminders out of shot can be useful. Again, rehearse with them to make sure you’re not losing too much eye-contact.

No need to hire Kelly Hoppen for interior design

Find somewhere in your home which is quiet, is in range of the internet and where you are not likely to be disturbed. Not everyone has a home office so somewhere where the light is good and the wall behind you is plain. This will avoid your interviewer judging your wallpaper choices and examining the gap year artefacts.

Practice makes perfect.

Like all best performances, a rehearsal is key. A run through with a friend or colleague brings about an immediate improvement in performance. Record your efforts and play them back. Look for areas where you could make improvements, then do the interview again. By using this method, it’s guaranteed that by the third attempt, your performance will have improved significantly.

Give yourself time to set up and sort out any glitches. Sit up straight. If you can, don’t use a swivel chair because the temptation is to twist about during the interview.

Once you've got all this right, it’s time to concentrate on the most important part - your answers! 

about the author

Harriet Maidman - Manager, Digby Morgan

Manager, Digby Morgan