Screenshot of a video interview with a Corporate Traffic employee sitting in front of a wood panel wall with an American flag painted on it.

Corporate Interview Success: Your 6-Step Checklist for Seamless On-site Video Shoots

In the digital age, where TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube reigns supreme, more companies than ever are looking to stand out from the crowd and break through the static by incorporating video – specifically corporate interviews – into their marketing mix. But what happens if you’ve never filmed a corporate interview at your office or workplace before? Or perhaps you’ve been spurned by a poor previous experience in front of the camera. Don’t fret, I’ve created this 6-step checklist to make sure you have a seamless experience during your next corporate interview.

1. Clean up your workspace.

There are two types of people in this world, those with immaculate desks, and those without. No matter the camp you fall into, your desk could probably use some tidying up – or at least some styling up.

Before your interview, take half an hour to tidy up around your desk, or the area you will be interviewing in. Confidential files should be put away, trash in the bin, any unrelated branded objects kept to a minimum, plants watered, desk and shelves dusted. Trust me, if you have a dirty desk, it’s probably going to show in the video. 

Filming in a common space such as the sales floor, a meeting room, or in a warehouse? While a skilled videographer or editor can punch in to minimize the mess in camera or in post, bigger messes are harder to hide. Ask the office coordinator to help arrange a tidying up with the proper team before the interview. It will reflect well on you and your company to have a clean, organized backdrop for your interview.

If you already run a tight ship and have a clean space, see if you can’t spruce it up with a few more personal affects or some office plants in spaces that make sense and don’t feel too contrived. Your videographer or production crew should be able to help with set dressing and props.

2. Don’t overdo it on script rehearsals.

Sometimes an interviewer or director may send you a list of interview questions in order to prepare ahead of time. This is fine and it can be handy to have an idea of what you’re heading into. After all, you or your company have arranged for you to have a corporate interview, so you want to be prepared… right? Well, my answer is “don’t be as prepared for the interview as you think you ought to be.” Bear with me here.

I have seen industry giants stumble over their words during an interview they ought to be able to breeze through because they over-prepared by writing and sticking to a script. While I applaud their ambition, you’re doing yourself a disservice when you expect yourself to be able to flawlessly recite lines from a page without sounding canned unless perhaps you are the Chief Theatre Officer of your company, which just happens to be a traveling acting troupe.

Don’t worry about giving the perfect answer in one take. That’s what the video editor and producer are there for. Any video production company worth their salt is going to work with you to have a great understanding of what your key messaging goals are for the video at hand. This means guiding you through the interview with relevant follow-up questions to get you to expound on ideas the audience will want to hear more about. Once you’ve talked about your topic for a while, the post-production team will take your answers and cut up your best takes into a few soundbites that perfectly encapsulate your message in a nice, succinct package. Speak to what you know, say it with confidence, but say it from the heart, not a script.

3. Identify at least two quiet places to use as an interview set.

In an ideal world, a videographer will come out for a location scout of your office. The scout will typically include a walkthrough of the facility, staging a few sample shots, and getting a feel for the lighting, landscape, and soundscape of the office.

Unfortunately, due to schedule restraints, budget restraints, or otherwise, not every shoot can be afforded a location scout. If you are the one responsible for identifying some places around the office or workplace to use as an interview set, here’s what you need to keep in mind.

  • Find a spot where foot traffic and noise can be easily controlled.
  • Find a spot with ample room to set up cameras, lighting, and audio equipment. At a minimum, a 10×10′ space. Bigger is not always better though as warehouses and vast rooms can echo, carry noise, and be difficult to light correctly.
  • Find out how to control lights  – are they controlled by a switch or elsewhere in the office?
  • Find out how to turn off local air conditioning. A running AC is the perfect audio frequency for muddying up interview audio. Pro tip: Bring in an oscillating fan to help cool down the space between takes if it’s prone to getting warm while the AC is off – this is not uncommon here in Florida.
  • Test how “thin” walls are with a coworker. Can you hear people talking when the doors are closed? If so, the microphone definitely can.
  • Find out how to turn off any white noise or sound cancellation devices. These are becoming more and more common in modern offices – small speakers that emit a white noise to help keep conversations private and reduce outside noise. Unfortunately, these don’t pair well with recorded audio.
  • If near a window, consider the direction it faces and what the lighting looks like during the time of day you will be filming in the room. Can harsh lights be blocked by blinds?
  • Be mindful of street noise. Street noises might be more prominent during start and close of business as well as lunchtime, especially on Fridays. 

A lot of this is run-of-the-mill stuff that can be remedied by an experienced videographer. However, the more information you have on-hand about each of these factors, the smoother your shoot will go. It’s better to know beforehand than rushing to figure out during the production.

Why identify two quiet places? Because it never hurts to have backup options available. Flukes happen and unexpected surprises or meetings can pop up. It’s best to have two spots you feel confident in versus just one.

4. Get dressed a few days in advance.

Yes, I mean it. Put on the outfit you want to wear for your interview (or have been requested to wear) at least a week in advance. Make sure you are happy with the fit, see how you look while sitting down, have someone close to you check for loose threads or stains that could be noticed during your interview.  

Take it a step further by having your interview outfit dry cleaned and pressed a few days before your corporate interview. Not only will this help give you a confidence boost by ensuring you look sharp for the camera, but it will also ensure that there are no wardrobe malfunctions due to a delayed cleaning or unexpected blemishes on your outfit.

Furthermore, go ahead and schedule any haircuts or trims to happen at least three days before your interview. It takes about three days for freshly cut hair to have a natural “broken in” look. 

Any deep exfoliating, microdermabrasion, or shaving should be done the morning or night before your interview. Anything that irritates the skin should be given at least one night to rest and heal – nobody wants 7 a.m. razor burn to be flaring up for their 10 a.m. interview session!

5. Ease your nerves before you go on camera.

It’s easy to psych yourself out for a corporate interview. It’s already uncomfortable enough for most people to go through a private interview, but now you’ve got bright lights and cameras, plural?! Talk about meltdown!  

Don’t let these feelings of discomfort snowball throughout the day leading up to your interview. Instead, try a few things from the list below to help ease your nerves and boost your confidence.

  • Glance at the interview questions or topics, if they were sent to you beforehand, for a final refresh.
  • Partake in an office ritual that makes you comfortable – chat by the watercooler (so cliché, right?), fix a cup of coffee, take a walk to the corner store for a snack, catch up with your office confidante on Slack, you get the idea.
  • Knock out a few easy tasks that make you feel good just before your shoot. Checking a few things off the docket feels really good, release those endorphins just before your interview and keep riding the wave of confidence.
  • Listen to your favorite song to get hyped to. When I was interviewing to work as an English teacher in Korea, I must’ve blasted my personal hype song a dozen times in the hour leading up to my video call. It really does help!
  • Do some focused breathing exercises. This can help you calm your nerves very quickly.
  • If you’re keen to more unorthodox methods, I’m also a proponent of making some preemptive “victory arms” (arms raised in a V above your head) and taking up space with your body before the interview. Take this one with a grain of salt because I think I read this concept on a blog called “High Existence” back in 2012. While I question the scientific efficacy of this method, a placebo can be a hell of a drug!

If all else fails, harken back to Checklist Item 2 – remember that you do not have to do a one-take of your interview. The best bits will be chopped up. If you stumble over words then stumble and keep talking. A good interviewer will let you finish your thought uninterrupted and then have you loop back to the part you stumbled over. Believe me when I say you are not the first person to jumble their words during a corporate interview video.

6. Hire a reputable videographer or production company.

If you want to shoot your own interview in-house, that is A-Okay – hopefully I’ve given you some of the tools to get started here. However, if you are hiring out, make sure you talk in-depth with your videographer or production company about some of the logistical points made here. Did they ask any of these questions first? Did they at least attempt to offer a location scout? Do they have samples to back up their work? If not, then you may want to take a step back and reconsider who you are looking at hiring.  

Most people with experience in corporate video production will be quick to lay out the necessities of the shoot (i.e. a quiet space, dress code, key talking points, etc.). They should also be asking you follow up questions about any ideas you had in mind for your corporate interview video. Beware of those who don’t ask questions!

If you’re in Jacksonville and looking for a qualified videographer to shoot your next corporate interview video, please don’t hesitate to reach out about your next company project. I am always open to answer questions and provide quotes.