The rapid increase in remote work since 2020 fundamentally changed the way we interview for roles. While there has been a return to the office for some, virtual interviewing and work is likely, at least in some capacity, here to stay. 

As such, in your job search, it’s possible you’ll find yourself landing a video interview. Meeting virtually may eliminate some of the interview pressure for some — yet others may find the prospect of using video conferencing technology such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams even more daunting. 

Keep in mind: There are key differences with virtual interviewing — you won’t be commuting, you won’t be shaking someone’s hand — yet much of the interview process remains the same. As such, approach a virtual interview with the same level of preparation and research as an in-person interview. 

If you haven't interviewed virtually before or are simply looking to refresh your skills, we’ve highlighted the following tips to help you expertly navigate the call and improve your odds of proceeding to the next phase of the hiring process.

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Prepare your Physical Environment 

The last thing you want in your interview is—a distraction! It's important to make sure your environment is clean, neat and conducive to a professional meeting. A quiet, private space where you won’t be interrupted is key. 

A blank, empty background is typically preferable; the less artwork on the wall behind you, the better. Keep in mind what can be captured on your camera. For instance, if you have to conduct the meeting at, say, your kitchen table or counter, ensure things aren’t lying around.

Lighting is also important. Sitting by a window is acceptable — but avoid sitting directly in front of the window, as you will likely be backlit and the interviewer will not be able to see your face well, if at all. Your light source should, ideally, be in front of you. 

Test Your Technology 

Once you receive the interview details, make sure you have access to and can operate the appropriate platform or application being used for the meeting (e.g. Skype, Webex, Zoom, etc.). This should be done as soon as possible so you can test and troubleshoot any challenges that may come up. 

Issues may include a poor internet connection, a non-working microphone or camera/video problems. Solving any of these beforehand will ensure the hiring manager is not waiting for you. Practicing online with someone, such as a friend or family member, is encouraged. They can provide feedback on things such as sound and camera angle. When you’re on camera, make sure that your head and shoulders are visible. Don’t lean too far forward otherwise; doing so will cause you to look too large on the screen. To combat outside noise, it's also recommended to use headphones (ideally small ones, rather than the bulky over-the-head kind). Finally, turn off all notifications such as email or chat. 

Get Ready for the Interview 

Just because you are not meeting in person does not mean you shouldn’t take the interview seriously. Do all of the things you normally would for an in-person interview such as: 

  • Research the role, company, and hiring manager 

  • Prepare a list of questions regarding the role and the day-to-day expectations

  • Be ready to answer  standard questions (successes, failures, describe yourself, etc.) 

Present Yourself Professionally 

You've set the stage and prepped for the call. Now what? After diligently testing your equipment, setting up the environment and rehearsing answers, you are almost ready to go. How you present yourself is the key to your success. You may be at home — but dress the part from head to toe; this projects confidence and shows the hiring manager you are serious about the job. 

In order to come across as poised and confident, sit up straight, smile and nod. While you’re not there in person, you want the interviewer to know you’re engaged and enthusiastic. And, even if it feels awkward, try to look straight at the camera when speaking in order to make an impression. A virtual interview is never an excuse to read prepared answers.

Ultimately, conduct yourself exactly like you would in a live interview. Equipping yourself with the right tips and tools will help distinguish you from the competition and improve the likelihood of landing the role. Good luck!

Although virtual interviewing has become a necessity in our current climate, experts say it's most likely here to stay. Arming yourself with the right tips and tools will help you become a pro in no time, so that you can stand out from the crowd and land that job. Are you looking for your next, great position? Let us know how we can help.