Can You Hear Me Now and See Me Too? Tips for Video Interviews



A series of five back-to-back video calls was perfect fodder for some reminders on video interviewing and important protocols to follow. This technology is here to stay post ‘Rona as at least one of the recruitment tactics we will use in hiring. SPOILER: I expect the phone interview will also make a grand return.

These guidelines focus on how to create a strong presence. An interviewing event sets the stage for the first impression. We make judgments quickly that are often hard to challenge and change. Some video interviews will the automated whereby you will be answering a series of questions via prompts; others will be with potential teammates sharing the screen with you. Either way, you must be present to impress!

Advance Work:

  1.  Become your career storyteller. This takes focused thought and old-fashioned practice. Many are interviewing post an unexpected job loss. You will be judged by how you tell this story. Your mission, how can you add unique value to this new organization through your storytelling? How have you made or saved money within your former organization? Or, how have you enhanced the client or employee experience with your former team? This is an occasion to demonstrate that you are humble, hungry and smart with a nod to Patrick Lencioni in The Ideal Team Player.
  2. Research the company, the opportunity and the team through LinkedIn and company page searches. We are always looking for connection points. Refer back to the initial job posting. WARNING: Without notice, these links are removed. Save a copy.
  3. Craft your list of questions for the interviewers. At the conclusion of all interviews, you will be asked for questions. Do not leave this opportunity to chance. WARNING: do not start with salary! Some staring points to consider: How would you describe the company culture, given your experience with this team over the past 12 years? Might you define the team I will be working directly with in this position? You have highlighted the opportunities with this role, what will be some of the obstacles? What is your time-table for this search?  


  1. Pre-record yourself in a mock interview. Please be brave and vulnerable and ask colleagues for a critique of your recorded work. Lighting, staging, sound and video checks are all a part of this practice interview. You do not want to be asking the questions, can you see me and hear me now? Lighting should be in front of you not overhead with a “halo” effect.  Suggestion, position your computer on a box/books to have you face-to-face with the camera, this is powerful. If you are using your phone, please stand this up, at a raised level for the best results. Review your back-drop, a blank wall is best. The latest beach scenes are great for a virtual cocktail hour; however not appropriate for an interview.  Close any closet doors, watch for reflections and keep pets and children away.
  2. Test your equipment/link sent by the company. Sometimes you will be required to download apps to accommodate the company technology. You can often conduct a video and sound check in advance. Many candidates are frustrated with pre-recorded interview protocols and note that they could not make a solid impression because they did not connect with a person. In the advice of a great colleague, the camera is your interviewer. Automated phone/video interviewing narrated by Ida (a cousin to Siri and Alexa) could become the new first-round interviewing at companies. A recruiter can then efficiently review these interview questions without the complications of scheduling after Ida has done her work.
  3. Have an interviewing outfit in mind for this event. Dress and staging are often overlooked. These are factors in our initial impressions. At the moment, everyone’s hair is out of shape and a miracle of color is needed for most. Present your best self in how you dress and stage this event. This will add confidence to your speech and your poise.

Show Time:

  1. Be ready and on-time. Phone near, but silenced!
  2. Have your list of questions and a pen and paper near. A question might spark a follow-up thought. Even with automated attendant narrating interviews, there will be options to ask questions. If needed, you can always ask for a re-do of a question that you missed earlier. This is a sign of emotional intelligence.
  3. Conclude the interview with confidence, ask for the job. Close with confidence. Make a memorable final impression.

10. Do not forget the Thank You note(s). There are many ways automation has changed interviewing; however, humans will remain the hiring agents. 

To my HR Partners, what advice would you offer candidates to make the strongest first impression by video or phone?



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