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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Shavick

How to survive a Zoom, Skype or WebEx interview

Many companies use video to interview candidates online. But what if you’ve dreadfully camera shy? Don’t worry, here’s some tips on how to ace it on screen.

Lighting and sound

Remember that your interviewer needs to see you clearly so don’t hide in the shadows. Take advantage of natural light by setting up your ‘studio’ facing a window or position a desk lamp to softly illuminate your face.

Unless you’re an experienced YouTube star, ask a friend for feedback on your setup. You could consider using a headset if your webcam sound quality isn’t up to scratch.


Your home is probably the best place for a video interview and certainly less distracting than a coffee shop. Choose a quiet room where your kids and pets cannot be seen; somewhere you can close the door and not be disturbed. Look around you. Is it a huge mess? If so, tidy up.

What to wear

You should wear the same clothes as you would for a face-to-face interview, and that includes your bottom half, so no pyjama shorts! Besides, dressing professionally will make you look and feel confident. Be aware that bright colours, stripes and patterns can appear almost psychedelic on camera so tone it down as much as possible.

The tech

Your interviewer should let you know which platform, program or app you’ll be using, so download this in advance and login a little early so you’re ready and waiting. Always shut down other computer programs (including Alexa!) and turn off the TV and any background music.

Position the camera so it’s level with your eyes and try to look at it, especially when you’re talking, This doesn’t feel very natural so you might have to practise. Be sitting down at your desk and ensure your head, shoulders and upper body can be seen.

Within easy reach

Out of sight of the camera but within easy reach have the following:

  • Details of who’s calling you

  • A copy of your CV

  • The job description or advert

  • Your answers to the most likely competency questions – brief notes only. See my blog on Telephone Interviews for more information.

  • Your own list of questions

Body language basics

  • A smile and a friendly greeting is a must.

  • Be polite throughout the interview– absolutely no swearing!

  • Smile as you talk. This will make you appear sociable and pleasant

  • Sit up straight. This will help to project your voice

  • Sit still. Rocking backwards and forwards or fidgeting will make you appear nervous and could also interfere with the sound quality.

  • Ask questions. This shows interest and turns a boring interview into a conversation.

Practising beforehand with a completely honest friend should reveal all those little quirks and habits you never knew you had. Smiling, and gentle, open-handed gestures should make you appear honest and likeable, but thumping the desk, making weird faces or picking your nose will not. Knowledge is power.

Finally, never be tempted to ask somebody else to take the interview for you. Believe me, you’ll be found out!

Andrea is the author of 7 books on job-hunting and psychometric tests including Practice Psychometric Tests, Passing Psychometric tests, Psychometric Tests for Graduates and Management Level Psychometric and Assessment Tests, all available at Amazon and other good bookshops.

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