Video Job Interviews: Don’t Be Caught In Your Underwear

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If you’re going through a string of job interviews in search of any job, you’ll quickly discover that every third or fourth interviewer will schedule a video job interview. It’s a time saver that requires no travel time and the least commitment to spending too much time with each candidate. It’s also an easy way to whittle down a list of applicants to two or three in-person interviews. So imagine the interview is starting with 10 – 15 interviews and decreasing the list to only a few strong candidates.

Skype is the most common method of video interviews although other interviewers use alternative programs or technology. Sign-up for various programs for free and be prepared if you’re job hunting. It’s never good to say, “I can’t do a video job interview.” The opportunity will end right there. You must be flexible.


  1. Preparation and Practice. If you haven’t had a video job interview yet, make certain you practice on Skype or whatever technology the interviewer chooses. Connect and practice with a friend or a family member online. Make sure your log-in user name and password both work quickly. Check your sound level. You can even have a short mock interview with another person to see how you’re viewed. Take the positive and negative feedback and use it to benefit your interview.
  2. Background and Set Dressing. Be aware of your background. Is the background cluttered? Clean it up! You might want to add a fresh plant or flower behind you. If there’s a bookshelf behind you, make certain the books are stacked neatly. If you seem to be an unorganized mess, why would anyone hire you? It’s an easy elimination process on video.
  3. Dress Professionally . . . From the Waist Up. A video should give the interviewer more than a simple headshot. If you’re only showing the interview a close up of your eyelashes, nose, and mouth, that’s way too close to the screen. You don’t want to literally be in someone’s face or computer screen. Your face, shoulders and everything above your waist should be seen. You should look relaxed but sit up straight. Wearing a dress pair of pants is a smart move, too. Dress fully as you would for an in-person interview. Don’t be caught in your underwear! You don’t want to accidentally stand up only to be seen in your underwear. That move causes an instant decision . . . and it won’t be in your favor. But if you show off your underwear, you may be the talk of the office for the next hour!
  4. Have a Pen and Paper Ready for Notes. When greeted with the name of your video interviewer (who may or may not be your first contact), write down that person’s first name so you can reference it. Video interviewers will sometimes give you information that they expect you to write down during an interview. They may want you to research a certain influencer, book, or article. They may schedule an in-person interview as a follow-up and give you an address. Or they may simply test you to see if you’re prepared. “Do you have a pen and paper? Write this down.”

The smartest preparation for a video job interview is to prepare as though it’s in-person. If you haven’t had a video job interview, attempt to become comfortable with the process and speaking to someone else online.