As working remotely becomes more popular, video interviews are becoming more common. If you've never had a video interview, familiarizing yourself with the process can help you prepare well for one. Knowing what to wear to a video interview is important as well, as it can help you leave a good impression on prospective employers. In this article, we discuss what video interviews are, explain what to wear to one and where they can take place, and provide tips to help you prepare.
What is a video interview?
A video interview occurs online rather than in person. Video interviews can be live or involve prerecording your answers and submitting them. To ensure you prepare properly, knowing the type of video interview you'll have is important. Here's an explanation of both types:
Live video interview
A live video interview occurs between you and the interviewer on a video platform at a specified time. The interviewer sends you the link to the meeting beforehand, allowing you to join at the scheduled time. Create an account on their chosen platform beforehand and ensure it's set up and functioning correctly on your computer so you can join the interview on time. You can also test your microphone and camera before joining the meeting.
If you already have an account, ensure your username is professional and includes only your first and last name. If it's not a professional username, consider creating a separate account for your video interviews.
Prerecorded video interview
Some employers choose to have a prerecorded interview, either as an initial screening or the primary interview. A prerecorded interview requires you to record your answers to questions for the interviewer to watch later. In this scenario, an employer will usually send you instructions on how to join the interview. When you join, questions will appear on the screen and prompt you to answer them. You may have a time limit or only one opportunity to answer, so it's best to prepare thoroughly beforehand.
How to determine what to wear to a video interview
To determine what you should wear to a video interview, follow these steps:
1. Research the company
The best way to determine what to wear to an interview is to research the company. Find out more about the company's culture and dress code to determine what type of clothing is appropriate for the interview. If you can't find any helpful information, try contacting the human resources department to ask about their dress code. This ensures you dress appropriately and shows employers you want to respect their policies.
2. Choose comfortable and appropriate clothing
Once you know what type of clothing to wear, you need to find a comfortable and appropriate outfit. It's important that your clothing is comfortable so you can focus on the interview instead of your clothes. What's appropriate will vary depending on the role and industry, but it's better to be too formal than too casual.
For example, men may want to consider dress pants, a button-down shirt, and a tie. Add a suit jacket for more formal positions. Women have more options, such as an appropriate dress, a button-down shirt with dress pants, or a blouse with a skirt. You don't need to worry about shoes, as the interviewer won't see them on camera. However, you do need to wear professional bottoms in case you need to stand and retrieve something during the interview.
3. Add a pop of colour
While wearing bright colours is not ideal for in-person interviews, it can be a great idea for video interviews. Wearing white or neutral colours can allow you to blend in, but colourful clothing helps you stand out against neutral backgrounds on camera. However, try not to wear patterns or too much colour, as it can be distracting.
To show the interviewer more of your personality, you can add some accessories to your outfit. If you don't have professional, colourful clothing, this is your opportunity to add colour to your outfit. However, ensure you opt for minimal accessories, such as a small necklace or watch, so that they aren't distracting. Also, ensure your accessories don't make too much noise when you move, as it can be disruptive and make it difficult for the interviewer to hear what you're saying.
5. Look your best
Once you pick your outfit, try it on to ensure you achieve the appropriate look. Look for stains, holes, or snags, and ensure there are no wrinkles. If you wear glasses, clean them and adjust your light source to reduce glare, which can also let the interviewer see that you're maintaining eye contact. If you wear makeup, try to keep it natural so that it's not distracting.
Related: What To Wear to an Interview
Where video interviews can take place
Video interviews can either take place in the company's office or a remote location. If you're interviewing for an internal position and the interviewer is in another location, your manager will likely set up the interview in a private space with the equipment you need.
If you're applying for new jobs externally, your video interview will likely be remote. This means you need to find the location for your interview. Look for a quiet location with a good internet connection. If you don't have this at home, look for workspaces or libraries with private rooms you can reserve for the interview.
Video interview tips
To ensure you're fully prepared for your video interview, consider these tips:
Monitor your body language
Although interviewers won't see your entire body, it's still important to monitor your body language. Non-verbal communication like body language can show you're engaged in the conversation, so try to maintain eye contact, sit up straight, and keep your hands at ease.
Maintaining eye contact is different in video interviews compared to meeting in person. When you speak, look into the camera, and when you're listening, look at the interviewer on screen. Another way to show you're listening is to nod and smile when appropriate.
To help you feel more confident in the interview, it's best to practise beforehand. Look up common interview questions and role-specific ones to prepare potential answers. Then, practise reciting these answers with family members or friends, as they can give you honest feedback about your responses. Recording yourself and watching the video back to see what areas you can improve can also be helpful.
Related: Preparing for a Mock Interview
Test your technology
Video interviews require you to use technology, such as your computer, microphone, headphones, and video software. If you've never used the software the interviewer plans to use, test it with another person. This ensures it works on your computer and that you know how to use it properly. It also gives you the opportunity to test your hardware and ensure everything is functioning correctly.
Pick a neutral background
In a video interview, it's important for your background to be professional. If you can, do the interview in front of a blank wall to minimize distractions and keep the focus on you. Look for areas in your house or that have good lighting to ensure the interviewer can see you clearly. You can test how you appear to the interviewer by opening the camera app on your computer.
Many video conferencing platforms also let you use a professional virtual background while video chatting. This can be a good option if you can't find a neutral background, so consider looking through your options before the interview.
Inform the people you live with
If you live with family members, friends, or roommates, inform them beforehand that you have an upcoming video interview and need silence. This also ensures no one walks in during your interview and distracts you or the interviewer. If you can, lock the door to the room you're using to limit interruptions.
There may still be interruptions during your interview. If this happens, simply apologize to the interviewer, ask for a few moments, mute your microphone, turn off your camera, and step away to manage the interruption.
Before the interview starts, put your phone on silent and close any tabs or applications you have open on your computer. This ensures any notifications you receive won't distract you during the interview. This is especially helpful if you need to screen share to show the interviewer something, such as your portfolio.