Five Tips For Your On-Screen Interview

Five Tips For Your On-Screen Interview

author: Kelly Shoff

Written by: Kelly Shoff

Video Producer


  • Best Practices

After almost two years of Zoom, Google, and Teams meetings, you might think you’ve got this video thing down pat, right?

So when you schedule a video crew to come out, decide to host a webinar, or get a call from your local media to do an interview, you think, “No problem … been there, done that!”

Well, not so fast … video interviews, appearances, and presentations are a completely different beast. And that’s where EPIC’s expertise really shines. As one of the only agencies in Wisconsin with our own Video | Motion | Photography department, we know a thing or two about putting people on camera. Now we’re pulling back the curtain and sharing five insider insights to make you look like a rock star the next time you’re asked to step into the spotlight.

1. Study Up

Now is not the time to wing it. If you’re talking about your company, know your mission and some other basic facts, like how long you’ve been around, your origin story, and how many employees you have. Be prepared to explain what you do or make and what differentiates you from your competitors. If you’re struggling to answer these questions, consider the fact there could be someone else in your organization who would be a better spokesperson. The more you know the basics, the more natural and comfortable you’ll look.

If there are certain shots you know you want to be included in your video, make a list of your “must haves” and share it with us, that way we get everything you want and need. Ask for the interview questions ahead of time, so you can prepare. And if it helps, go ahead and write out answers to those questions. But whatever you do, don’t expect to read them word-for-word during the interview. That makes for terrible video. But writing out the answers can help you think through your response, so when the crew asks you a question you’re comfortable answering it in your own words.

2. Don’t Try Out A New Look

Now is not the time to get a radical new haircut or wear that cutting-edge outfit you just ordered online. You want to be comfortable. The last thing you should be worrying about is your hair or clothes. But there are few things to keep in mind when you’re going to be on camera.

We’ll start with the men: The biggest question we get asked is “What should I wear?” The answer: It depends. In general, you should wear a clean, pressed version of what you usually wear. If you typically wear a polo with your company logo, wear that. If you normally wear a button-down shirt and sports coat, wear that. If you’re a suit-and-tie guy, wear the suit and tie. Now for the details: Solid colors are best. Avoid tiny checks or small geometric prints. If you’re going to wear a tie, keep the pattern simple. When in doubt, a white shirt always looks great.

Now the women: Even if you’re not a “makeup person,” a little powder, blush, lip gloss, and mascara goes a long way. If you DO typically wear makeup, wear a bit more than usual—more like a night out (minus the “smoky eye”) than a typical day at the office. Jewel tones always look great: think sapphire, emerald, ruby red, purple … even hot pink is good. Avoid black: while it is slimming, it also washes most people out and can make you look older. If you want to wear jewelry, stick to the basics …avoid large, dangling earrings or necklaces, it’s all people will look at, and they won’t pay attention to what you are saying.

3. Keep It Simple.

If they ask you on camera what you had for breakfast, would you say you had strips of fried, salt-cured, meat from a sus domesticus’ belly with an albumen and yolk excreted from a Gallus gallus domesticus? Or did you have bacon and eggs? Make things easy to understand. We’re not saying dumb it down, but you don’t want to make things so complicated it’s impossible to understand. People usually only watch videos once, so you want to get your point across the first time. The last thing you want is a prospective client playing your video five or six times to figure out exactly what you were trying to say. It defeats the whole purpose of doing a video. So pretend you’re talking to a 12-year-old, you’ll get your point across and everyone will understand what you said the first time.

4. Be Critical Of Your Surroundings.

Take a hard look at where you are thinking of doing the interview. Does your office look like it’s straight from the ‘70s, complete with cheap wood paneling? Is the room noisy? Does it feel cold and sterile? Do you really need to clean your office? Is there a bank of windows with no shades? All of these factors and dozens more will impact what your video ends up looking like. We’ll of course do our best to overcome all these obstacles. We might even suggest a site visit beforehand to scope things out. Also remember we have a lot of equipment; most times we’ll bring two cameras and at least three lights, and we will need room to set up everything. We will always work with you to get the best shot possible (We’ve even helped clean offices and straighten up desks!) but a little bit of legwork from the client goes a long way in helping craft the best possible video.

5. Energy! Enthusiasm! Excitement!

This is your moment to shine, so you need to bring it! If you were in the studio watching your favorite broadcaster, you’d be stunned at how over-the-top they seem in person. They routinely kick it up a couple of notches to bridge that digital divide. For most people, a normal energy level just won’t cut it …you’ll seem bored or disinterested. Here’s a simple test you can do to see what we mean: Record yourself on your cell phone answering a question about your company. Don’t do anything special, just talk like you normally would. Now do it again. Say the same thing, but this time pretend you’re reading a bedtime story to your kids or talking to your dog or cat. Hear the difference? Now, who would you want to listen to? Most times simple adrenaline will take over and you’ll naturally be more energetic. Plus, if you’re talking about something you’re passionate about, that passion will shine through.

If you follow these general guidelines, you’re sure to ace your next on-camera appearance. Heck, if you follow these pointers you might even get noticed by your company’s leaders during your next Teams, Google, or Zoom meeting.

But—most importantly—enjoy the experience. Remember to smile, relax, and have fun!

Work Hard and Be Nice to People


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