How to Record a Video Interview

by Pranav Ramesh
November 17, 2020
Tips for recording successful video interviews

Recording a video interview for a job seems straightforward. You just turn on your webcam, hit record, and start talking, right? Not so fast. With that strategy, you’ll end up with a boring, unprofessional video that no employer wants to watch.

A recorded video interview is not your resume. It’s not meant to inform the employer of everything you did. Instead, it’s meant to give them a small preview of you as a person. To do that, you have to capture their attention and engage them first.

You don’t need a professional studio to produce a high-quality, captivating video interview. Taking some time to prepare the set-up, practice the software, and script the content will set miles apart from those who don’t.

Content Covered

  • Write a Script
  • Prepare Your Background
  • Set Up Software
  • Set Up Your Camera
  • Set Up Lighting
  • Set Up Your Sound
  • Record Your Video
  • Edit Your Video

Looking for some video interview tips?

Check out “The 4 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When Preparing for an Interview”!

Write a Script

You don’t want to sound scripted, but you do want to be prepared. Create an outline that includes both the questions you want to answer and 3-5 bullet points for each. Remember to highlight your achievements, not just your experiences. Also, emphasize your individual role in the project. Employers want to know not only what the team did, but how you specifically added to the result.

Prepare Your Background

You don’t have to have a photographer’s backdrop behind you to look professional. Any wall in your home will do so long as it looks neat and clean. Bookshelves and decorations can add to the personal feel of your video so long as they’re not distracting. Try to balance things out by placing a similar amount on each side. If you can’t find a simple, clean background, hang a sheet using some clothespins.

Set Up Software

The best software to record your video interview is the one you’re most comfortable with. If you already use OBS to stream YouTube videos, go ahead and use it to record as well. If you’ve never recorded a video before, that’s fine too! Most modern-day operating systems have built-in recording software. Be sure to test it out and get familiar before it’s showtime.

Set Up Your Camera

Camera placement is critically important. You don’t want the employer looking up your nose. Place the camera as close to eye level as possible. If you’re using a laptop, place it on a small stack of books to raise the height. it’s better for the camera to be slightly higher, looking down at you, than the opposite.

Set Up Lighting

You don’t have to have a three-point lighting setup to look professional. Try to recreate it with lamps and lights around the house. First, make sure there is little to no light behind you, especially windows. Next, place a lamp behind your device, at about eye level, so the camera sits between the light and you. Turn on your camera and look for any shadows created by overhead lights. You may be able to turn them off or move other lamps nearby to fill the dark spaces. Your evenly-lit face should be the focus of the video.

Set Up Your Sound

Built-in microphones tend to have the lowest sound quality. Try to use an external mic or earbuds if at all possible. If you don’t have any, even a $10 lavalier mic from any local electronics store will be a huge upgrade.

Background noise is just as big of a distraction as a messy room. Ask everyone nearby to give you your privacy and keep the sound down. Close any windows in the room. Turn off any devices you may usually tune out (e.g. fans, other computers, dishwashers, etc.) The quieter your environment is, the better.

Want even more tips?

Check out “10 Tips for Cracking any Interview!

Record Your Video

It’s showtime! Take a deep breath, relax, and have some fun. Coming across as stiff and robotic is never good, so loosen up and pretend you’re talking with a close family member. Once you hit record, pause for 5 seconds before speaking. Once you’re done, pause another 5 seconds before hitting stop. You may need that blank recording once you get to editing.

While recording, remember to look at the camera, not the screen. This way it looks like you’re making eye-contact with the employer. If you’re having trouble looking in the right place, try taping your outline to a tripod. Then, stand it next to the camera so your eyes are always focused there.

Whatever you don’t, don’t expect to nail it on the first try! You can record it 5, 50, or even 500 times and no one will ever know. As soon as you think you made the perfect shot, record one more to be sure, and then stop! Don’t overthink it for too long or you’ll never be finished.

Edit Your Video

How much you edit your video will depend mostly on your personal skills and software. If you have some basic editing skills, feel free to try some transitions and captions, but keep it simple and don’t feel like it’s required. A simple fade-in and fade-out adds a nice touch, and can usually be done with the software you already have or something you can download for free.


Your video interview may be the first impression you give an employer. If it’s boring or low-quality, it may be your last as well. Your goal, in a video interview, is to grab their attention, captivate them, and give them a small preview of yourself. Take these simple steps to prepare before you ever even hit record and you’ll definitely stand out from the crowd!


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