• Xanthe Z. Young

7 Tips for coming across well in interviews on camera

Updated: May 31, 2018

I think a lot about what I can do to help people give better interviews, I work on strategies to try and keep them relaxed and ask questions that encourage them to tell stories. I don’t think so often about what they can do in turn. I know interview subjects are as keen to give a good interview as I am to get one so I thought I’d share a few tips you can use to give a good interview:

Be ready but don’t over prepare

Try not to obsess over details of what you’re going to say or try to plan wording before hand. If you try too hard to remember planned words you won’t come across naturally. Many interviewers may ask unexpected questions to get spontaneous answers or ask you to elaborate on specific points, if you plan  too carefully around the questions you expect you may be thrown by the questions you don’t.

Instead think about stories and examples that you might want to bring up. It’s great to have specific examples on hand and to bring up when it feels natural.

Don’t wear stripes or small patterns

Small stripes and patterns can distort on camera and become very distracting. Very bright white shirts can also cause problems on a bright day.

Think about how you want your customers to perceive you, are you very professional in a suit and tie or approachable in a jumper and jeans?

Look at the interviewer

Unless advised otherwise assume you should look at the interviewer. Many people feel they should be looking straight at the camera but this can feel uncomfortable for the viewer, the interviewer should be positioned slightly to the right or left of camera. Looking at them will also make conversation feel more natural.

Answer in full sentences

If someone asks ‘What do you think about X?’ answer ‘I think X is…’ or ‘X is brilliant because’ rather than ‘Oh, it’s great’.  If in doubt use the question to frame your answer:

Q: When would you use X?

A: You would use X when…

This way the interviewer’s voice can be removed in the edit and we can understand your answer as a full sentence.

Listen to the question

It’s fine to take a minute to think about your answer. If you don’t understand the question ask to hear it again or for the interviewer to clarify.

Try to remember the question while you’re answering it, if you get side tracked and start talking about something else finish talking about that in your own time (it may also be useful) and then come back to the original question.

Tell stories

Don’t be afraid to guide the interview. If you think of a story that backs up your answer then tell it, specific stories and examples are much more interesting to listen to than generic answers.

Make sure you say your piece

If when the interview ends you feel like you didn’t get a chance to say everything you wanted to ask to say it now. Unless there is a timetable of other interview subjects coming in there will probably be time to get it now. When I interview people I always ask if there is anything I missed but if someone doesn’t do this they will likely be happy to oblige anyway.

Being interviewed on camera can be a nerve wracking experience, the equipment surround you and and the silence of the crew go against what we’re used to in normal relaxed conversation but try to remember you’re actually in the safest environment to make mistakes.

If you trip over your words and say the wrong thing you can go again. The camera man and editor will be working to make you look your best. A good editor can cut out your ums and errs and when you trip over your words. They will pick out the things you wanted to say and help you come across a beautiful succinct speaker – we’re master manipulators, it’s unnerving really!

Working with me I will send you rough cuts of your video until we come up with something you’re happy with. If you don’t like something you said we can always cut it out afterwards so try to remember that and not worry. You’ll be absolutely fine!

See below our latest interview based video about autism diagnosis: