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Tips for a Successful Virtual Interview

career advice interview tips interviewing job hunting job interview tips job search Mar 16, 2022

The corona virus has changed the way that employers are hiring. Maybe for good.


In the days of social distancing to slow down the spread of COVID-19, many employers have switched to online or virtual interviews, especially for early-round interviews. As such, job seekers need to make the most of these opportunities. In fact, since it is extremely easy to record virtual meetings, job seekers need to strive to make an even better first impression than the face-to-face interview. After all, that recording can become part of your formal application forever.


To make sure you ace these online interviews, follow these tips:


  1. Test your equipment before the interview

Nothing kills the momentum of an online meeting more than technical difficulties. Make sure that your camera and microphone are working well before the interview itself. Many companies will send you the link in advance, so make sure you can login. If it’s a platform that you have not used, be sure to download any appropriate apps or desktop configurations at least 30 minutes beforehand so you are not late to the meeting.


Some virtual meetings platforms like Zoom ( will let you create a free account. You can then host your own meeting for up to 40 minutes. That is a great way to test your equipment, get used to the platform, and set up all the features in advance.


  1. DON’T use your phone app

Yes, I know that I just told you to download your app. However, trying to conduct a virtual meeting through your smart phone or tablet just simply will not work. Your face will look weird on camera, the lighting is bad, and the sound can distort. Plus, every time you move, the camera shifts. Just think of all of those “found footage” movies where the camera bounces around because the subject is running through the woods. That’s exactly the experience you are conveying to the interviewer. Definitely NOT a good first impression!



  1. Check your backgrounds and lighting

In any virtual meeting, you are getting judged not just on your own personal appearance, but by everything on camera. That includes your background. Just think: Do you want to show a big mess behind you? This says that you lack organization, detail-orientation, and (let’s face it) basic cleanliness standards.


Lighting trips up more things on camera than anything else. If there is a big window behind you, close the drapes so there is not a light flare behind you. Make sure your face is well-lit to avoid graininess while not overdoing it to the point where your features are drowned out.


  1. Reduce distractions and noise

Coffee shops are not good places to hold your interview, even if you use a headset to reduce the noise. Keep any pets well away from the area. Sure, your cat walking on your desk is cute, but not during the interview.


  1. Dress for the part

Remember, this is a REAL interview. You want to dress just like you would for any in-person interview. While some people only worry about their appearance from the waist-up, do select a complete outfit from head-to-toe. (Okay, you CAN wear your lucky bunny slippers if you absolutely must…)


Wearing a complete interviewing outfit is a psychological trick for yourself. It adds to your confidence, presence, and overall professionalism.


  1. Keep your resume and the job description close at hand

A definite advantage to online interviews is that you can position your resume and the job description laying on your desk. This will help you stay focused and clear on the most important aspects of the job and your relevant skills and experience. BONUS: keep your written questions for the company close at hand as well.


  1. Prepare and practice

Remember how you can get a free Zoom account? Use it! Not only do you get to run a meeting for 40 minutes, it is possible to record it as well. Get a friend or partner to conduct a mock interview on Zoom. Afterwards, review the footage to see what you did well and what needs improvement.


  1. Remember all your interviewing tactics

Just because this interview is on a virtual platform doesn’t mean that you can slack on your performance. Be prepared to answer difficult questions, address your achievements, and field behavioral questions. Draft a focused introduction and rehearse it. Write intelligent questions that relate to the job and the company. Research the organization and the people you will be meeting.



Fortunately, technology gives us many tools to keep the job search moving forward even in trying times. Embrace it, use it, practice with it, and review your recordings to see how you can improve. Follow these tips and you can thrive in any interview.



Want more tips to make the most of your job search? Check out my book, “Get a Job Without Going Crazy (3rd Edition)” on Amazon:

Wondering how effective your job search is? Schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation with one of our career coaches, Donna Shannon or Dia Kline

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