Top tips for online interviews - blog by Tracey Wells

Even though hopes are currently high for the easing of lockdown and return to more in-person connections, many employers have found video and online interviews a good alternative, and we expect they will continue to be used where they work well. In fact, some larger employers were already using online interview platforms before the pandemic, enabling them to screen large numbers of candidates. Here are some tips on preparing for the different types of interviews:

➡ Live online interviews 1:1 or with a panel

These interviews directly replace in-person interviews for many organisations, and tend to make use of familiar software such as Zoom or Teams, effectively recreating the interview experience in a virtual format. You would expect to prepare for this type of interview in a similar way to an in-person interview with some added suggestions here:

  • Download and test the software in advance if you haven’t used it before.
  • If you have to give a presentation, make sure you know how to share your screen and that your presentation is easily accessible to do so.
  • Find the best possible location for your interview – as quiet and private as you can find. Put a notice on the door so you are not disturbed by others. Use headphones if that helps to block out background noise. Put your phone on silent.
  • Check lighting, battery/power, audio, etc in advance. Make sure you know how to unmute yourself!
  • Have the contact details of the person running the interview to hand, in case you experience a technical issue that can’t be resolved and need to let them know.
  • If you do not feel comfortable sharing your personal space for the interview, select an alternative background for your call – there may be an option to blur it for example.
  • Remember the interviewer is likely to be understanding that a video interview is not easy for everyone due to their personal circumstances. They want to get the best answers from you, and are not judging your curtains.
  • If you have a disability which could put you at a disadvantage, you are encouraged to discuss potential adjustments with the employer in advance.

➡ Recorded interviews

This type of interview tends to be used by larger organisations, and the software may be less familiar to you. You may be given a set amount of time to answer each question, and the question is likely to be pre-recorded or written on the screen. You may be able to choose when you do the interview within a set period of time – don’t leave it to the last possible time, though! Here are some additional pointers:

  • Make sure you understand the instructions for the interview in advance, and what you will have control of and no control over. Use the practice example if there is one.
  • The “interviewer” is not able to ask you to repeat your answer, so you need to speak as clearly and as confidently as possible.
  • Practise recording yourself talking about yourself and listen back. How do you sound? Really practise answering questions you think they may ask.
  • If you experience any technical issues, let the employer know as soon as possible.
  • If you have a disability which could put you at a disadvantage in this type of interview, let the employer know in plenty of time and discuss potential adjustments.

➡ Ways to practise

There are different ways to practise and you can ask someone you trust to interview you, record yourself on your phone, or book an appointment with a Careers Consultant to run through some key questions with you.

We also provide access to this software:


This software enables you to practise video interviews with questions provided by a range of popular employers. You can play back your recorded interviews and find out more about how to answer the questions. For exclusive Westminster access, visit Engage.


You also have access to Interview360 through EngagePlus. You can browse interviews, select specific questions to answer, and gain access to lots of tips and advice. Record yourself and get detailed automated feedback.


If you have any questions or concerns about upcoming interviews, book an appointment with one of our team.

Good luck!


☞ Big thanks to Tracey Wells, our Careers and Employability Service manager, for writing this blog post. We hope you find it useful.

Please be reminded that if you need careers support, your Careers Team is only an email / a message away!

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Anna Dolidze

Passionate about Student Engagement, Data Management and content creation

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