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Navigating the Terrain: In-Person Interviews vs. Video Interviews

Derek Cirino - Oct 31, 2023

In the ever-evolving landscape of job interviews, two primary formats dominate the scene: the traditional in-person interview and the relatively newer phenomenon of video interviews. Both these formats come with their own unique set of challenges and advantages. This extensive guide delves into the differences between in-person and video interviews and provides a comprehensive roadmap on how to prepare effectively for both.

Introduction: The Evolution of Interviews

Over the years, job interviews have undergone a remarkable transformation. From informal chats in the early 20th century to structured, face-to-face meetings later on, interviews have continued to evolve in the 21st century due to technological advancements and the rise of remote work.

In-person interviews have long been the gold standard. They provide candidates with the opportunity to meet potential employers face-to-face and engage in direct, non-verbal communication. The art of the firm handshake, maintaining eye contact, and body language have been paramount in these traditional interviews. However, this landscape has shifted with the advent of video interviews, accelerated by global events like the COVID-19 pandemic. Video interviews, conducted via platforms such as Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Teams, have become the new normal, offering the convenience of connecting with employers and candidates worldwide without the need for travel. While they have their unique requirements, the essence of impressing potential employers remains the same.

Understanding the Unique Aspects of In-Person Interviews

In-person interviews are the traditional, face-to-face interactions that have defined the job-seeking process for decades. To excel in these interviews, it’s crucial to understand the distinctive aspects that set them apart.

Building In-Person Connections

In-person interviews allow candidates to build a personal connection with their potential employers. Meeting someone face to face creates a sense of authenticity and helps establish rapport.

Non-Verbal Communication

Body language, eye contact, and facial expressions play a crucial role in in-person interviews. These non-verbal cues can convey your confidence, enthusiasm, and professionalism. A firm handshake at the beginning of the interview often sets a positive tone.

Dress Code

Dressing professionally for an in-person interview is a well-established practice. The right attire sends a signal that you take the interview seriously and respect the company’s culture.

Navigating the Physical Environment

In an in-person interview, candidates have the opportunity to visit the company’s office or worksite. Familiarizing yourself with the environment can help you feel more comfortable and confident during the interview.

Timing and Punctuality

Arriving on time for an in-person interview is a sign of respect and reliability. Punctuality is a fundamental aspect of making a positive impression.

Mastering In-Person Interview Preparation

Preparing for an in-person interview involves a series of steps to ensure you are ready to impress your potential employer. Here’s how to master in-person interview preparation:

Researching the Company

Thoroughly researching the company is essential. Understand the company’s mission, values, culture, recent achievements, and the role you’re applying for. Tailoring your responses to reflect this knowledge will set you apart as a candidate who genuinely cares about the position.

Answering Traditional Questions

In-person interviews often feature traditional interview questions that assess your skills, qualifications, and suitability for the role. Be prepared to provide specific examples of your accomplishments and experiences. Practice answering common questions such as “Tell me about yourself” or “Why do you want to work here?” to convey your professionalism.

Preparing Questions to Ask

During an in-person interview, you’ll typically have the opportunity to ask questions about the company and the role. Prepare thoughtful questions that demonstrate your interest in the company’s operations and your potential responsibilities. Asking questions not only provides valuable information but also portrays you as an engaged candidate.

Tailoring Your Resume

Review your resume and be ready to discuss your qualifications, experiences, and achievements in depth. The interviewer may ask about specific items on your resume, so ensure that you can provide detailed explanations.

Following Up

After an in-person interview, send a thank-you note or email to express your gratitude for the opportunity. This not only shows appreciation but also reiterates your enthusiasm for the position.

Embracing Video Interviews: The New Normal

Video interviews have rapidly become the new normal in the world of job interviews. To excel in this format, it’s essential to understand the unique aspects of video interviews.

Technology and Technical Skills

Video interviews require a certain level of technical proficiency. You must be familiar with the video conferencing platform being used, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Practice using the software to avoid technical hiccups during the interview.

The Virtual Environment

In a video interview, your environment becomes part of your presentation. Ensure that you choose an appropriate location with a neutral background. Lighting, camera angle, and sound quality are crucial considerations.

On-Camera Presence

Your on-camera presence is a significant factor in video interviews. Maintain eye contact by looking into the camera, not at your screen. Effective communication is essential, and body language remains important, even though the interviewer only sees you from the waist up.

Attire and Background

Dressing professionally for a video interview is equally important as in-person interviews. Avoid busy patterns or overly bright colors, as they can be distracting on camera. Ensure that your background is neat and uncluttered.

Timing and Scheduling

Scheduling a video interview involves factors such as time zone differences and technical setups. Plan your interview time carefully and test your technical setup well in advance to avoid last-minute challenges.

Effective Video Interview Preparation

Preparing for a video interview requires a specific set of considerations and actions:

Researching the Company (Again)

While your initial research for an in-person interview still applies, it’s essential to re-familiarize yourself with the company’s details closer to the video interview date. This updated knowledge ensures you’re well-prepared to discuss the latest developments and align your responses accordingly.

Handling Technical Challenges

Test your technical setup before the interview to address any potential issues. Ensure your camera, microphone, and internet connection are working correctly. Have a backup plan in case of technical glitches, such as using a smartphone or a different device.

Answering Video-Specific Questions

In a video interview, you may encounter questions related to your experience with remote work, adaptability to virtual environments, or your preferred communication tools. Be ready to respond to these video-specific inquiries, demonstrating your familiarity with the digital workplace.

Showcasing Your Adaptability

During a video interview, adaptability and resilience can shine through. If technical issues arise, remain calm and professional while addressing them. Your ability to handle unexpected challenges demonstrates your adaptability.

Virtual Follow-Ups

After a video interview, send a follow-up email or message to express your gratitude and reiterate your interest in the position. This demonstrates your professionalism and commitment.

Adapting to Hybrid Interview Formats

Hybrid interviews, combining elements of both in-person and video interviews, are on the rise. Here’s how to prepare for and excel in hybrid interview formats:

The Rise of Hybrid Interviews

Companies are increasingly adopting hybrid interview formats, allowing candidates to choose between in-person and video interviews. This flexibility caters to individual preferences and global circumstances.

Preparing for Hybrid Interviews

When given the option, choose the format that aligns with your strengths and comfort level. Consider factors like the location of the company and your access to in-person interview facilities.

Mastering Flexibility and Resilience

Hybrid interviews require a degree of flexibility. Be prepared to adapt to different interview formats as circumstances dictate. Flexibility and resilience are valuable traits in a dynamic job market.


In a world where interviews have evolved from in-person meetings to virtual interactions, job seekers must be adaptable and well-prepared for various interview formats. Excelling in both in-person and video interviews requires understanding their unique aspects and tailoring your approach accordingly. By mastering these formats, you can confidently pursue your dream job, whether you’re shaking hands in the office or engaging in a virtual conversation from the comfort of your home.

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