Tips and tricks for a successful video interview

When you use video conference software to conduct an interview, the interview partners can easily contribute to improving the quality of the video and thus also to the overall quality of the interview. You only need to consider a few aspects when preparing for the interview.

1. Preparing for the interview:

Select the right room:

  • Does the room where I want to do the video interview have enough light?

Natural light sources, i.e. windows, are ideal. For the best possible illumination, the light source should be located directly behind the webcam. If it is too bright, you can dim the light with the help of curtains or blinds. If it is too dark, you can put mobile lamps behind the webcam and illuminate the face of the interview partner. For the best possible image, the light should not shine on the face only from above or only from below. Do you wear glasses? Please take potential light reflections into account.

  • Is the room where you want to conduct the interview sufficiently insulated?

Echo effects may occur in rooms that are empty or have a stone floor and thus disturb the acoustics. Closed office rooms with book shelves, on the other hand, are very well-suited. Conducting interviews outside is not suitable, neither for the acoustics nor for the lighting of the interview partner.

  • What does the background look like?

The background visible during the interview should not be boring, but has to be neutral. Please take care that no private objects you would not like the public to see are visible in the background. Chose an environment with light colours in which you feel comfortable.

Setting up the webcam:

  • You will create a professional setting if the interview partners look into the camera at eye level, i.e. do not look down at a laptop camera. This is why you should slightly elevate the laptop before the interview. Usually, three or four books or a small box are enough to raise the webcam to eye level. Ideally, the webcam is around an arm’s length from the face.
  • Clear view: Especially with laptops, the webcams are often smudgy from finger prints and produce a blurred image. Use a dry, fuzz-free cotton cloth to clean the camera. Do you wear glasses? Please clean the glasses before the interview, as smudgy glasses negatively stand out in a video recording.
  • You can test your camera image in advance: Either you use an appropriate test software for webcams, or check the camera settings, which you can access in most cases via the Start menu, where you can select "Camera". Take your time adjusting the image to your satisfaction. This will allow you to concentrate on the contents during the interview.

2. Doing the interview

Looking into the camera:

  • Try to look directly into the camera. Interview partners who look directly at their audience are perceived as confident and professional. Looking back and forth frequently implies insecurity and seems "shaky". Remind yourself to look directly at the camera when answering questions during the interview.
  • If you find it difficult to look at the webcam, the following tricks might help you: If the software has the feature, then you can drag the window with the conversation partner so that it is shown directly below the camera and you can look at the conversation partner, and thus at the camera, while speaking.
  • You might find it helpful to switch off the view of your own video during the recording, as this way it is easier to keep your eyes focused.

You can always start again

If you make a mistake or get stuck answering a question, take your time and start over.

Technical equipment

The Communication, Information, Media Centre (KIM) provides access to different systems for audio and video conferences. Further details are available on the “Video conferences” page.

We wish you the best of luck for your upcoming interview!