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How to Prepare for a Virtual Interview (7 Key Tips)

March 23 • 8 Minute Read

Good news! As virtual job interviews become more and more commonplace, you no longer need to worry about typical in-person interview nightmares–no twenty-minute delays as you frantically search for a parking spot and no awkward elevator rides with your maybe-one-day-future co-workers. Still, virtual interviews can present plenty of their own hazards for the unprepared. 

Lock. The. Door. (Via Tenor)

So, before you hop on your next Zoom interview, you’ll want to consider these key tips so you’re fully prepared and primed to make a great first impression.

Importance of Preparing for a Virtual Interview

Before diving into the tips, let’s highlight why preparation is critical for virtual interviews. Unlike in-person interviews, virtual interviews require you to manage both your virtual and physical presence. You need to make sure your technology works smoothly, your environment is conducive to an interview, and you’re dressed appropriately. At the same time, you need to be just as focused, engaged, and professional as you would be in an in-person interview.

7 Tips to Prepare for a Virtual Interview

By following these tips, you’ll be able to prepare yourself to put your best foot forward in your virtual job interview.

1. Test Your Technology

The first step in preparing for a virtual interview is to test your technology. This includes checking your internet connection, webcam, and microphone. Ensure everything is working properly, and have a backup plan in case of technical difficulties. You don’t want to lose the opportunity to showcase your skills and experience because of technical problems.
In addition to testing your technology, you should also ensure your environment is conducive to an interview. Choose a quiet and distraction-free location for your interview, and consider doing a trial run to make sure everything is working as expected.

What should I do if my internet connection is unstable during a virtual interview?
If your internet connection is unstable, try moving closer to your router or connecting your computer directly to the modem with an Ethernet cable. Additionally, using a mobile hotspot as an alternative option could also improve connectivity. If the problem persists, consider rescheduling the interview or suggesting an alternative means of communication, such as a phone call.

What kind of backup plan should I have in case of technical difficulties?
Backup plan options might include having a spare device on hand, such as a laptop or tablet, or having a phone number or email address available to contact the interviewer in case of problems.

How do I ensure my environment is conducive to a virtual interview?
Choose a quiet and well-lit location with minimal distractions to ensure your environment is conducive to a virtual interview. Test your microphone and webcam to make sure they work properly, and consider using headphones or a headset to improve sound quality. A trial run can also help you identify potential problems and make necessary adjustments.

2. Dress Appropriately

While it may be tempting to dress casually for a virtual interview, it’s important to dress professionally to make a good impression. Even if the company culture is more casual, it’s better to err on the side of caution and dress more formally than you normally would.

When choosing your outfit for a virtual interview, consider the role you’re applying for and dress accordingly. Avoid bright colors or patterns that may be distracting on camera.

What if the company culture is more casual?
Even if the company culture is more casual, it’s still important to dress professionally for a virtual interview. This shows that you take the interview seriously and are committed to presenting yourself in the best possible light. If you’re unsure about what to wear, overdressing is always better than underdressing.

Is it okay to wear sweatpants if the camera only shows the upper body?
No, wearing sweatpants or other casual clothing for a virtual interview is not recommended. Dressing professionally from head to toe will help you feel more confident and professional. Plus, you never know when you might need to stand up or move around during the interview.

These rules may or may not apply to famous 90s comedians. (Via Tenor)

3.Prepare Your Environment

Another important aspect of preparing for a virtual interview is creating a professional-looking environment. This includes choosing a clean and clutter-free space as your backdrop, ensuring good lighting, and minimizing distractions. You should also have a glass of water nearby in case you get thirsty during the interview.

Consider using a plain wall or a neutral-colored backdrop when choosing your background. Avoid busy or distracting backgrounds that could take the focus away from you. Make sure the lighting is bright enough so you’re visible on camera but not too bright that it washes out your features. Also, be sure to position yourself well within the frame of the camera so you take up roughly 2/3 of the space.

Minimizing distractions is also important. Make sure your phone is on silent, your pets are in another room, and your housemates or family members know not to interrupt you during the interview.

What if I don’t have a suitable backdrop or good lighting in my home?
If you don’t have a suitable backdrop, you can consider using a virtual background or blurring your background. Most video conferencing platforms offer a variety of backgrounds you can use to create a professional-looking environment. If the lighting in your home is not ideal, consider using a desk lamp or a ring light to improve the lighting.

Should I use a virtual background during the interview?
It depends on the company and the role you’re applying for. Some companies prefer a plain backdrop, while others are more flexible. If you’re unsure, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and use a plain backdrop.

4. Research the Company

One of the most important things you can do to prepare for a virtual interview is to research the company. This includes learning about the company’s mission, culture, and values and familiarizing yourself with the job description and requirements. Understanding the role you’re applying for and finding common ground with the interviewer can also help you stand out from other candidates.

To research a company, visit its website and read about its history, products or services, and mission statement. You can also check out their social media accounts and read employee reviews on sites like Glassdoor.

What if I can’t find much information about the company online?
If you can’t find much information about the company online, reach out to your network to see if anyone has worked there or knows someone who has. You can also ask the interviewer for more information during the interview.

A masterclass in note-taking and preparation. (Via Tenor)

5. Practice Your Responses

Don’t forget to practice your responses before your virtual interview. This includes anticipating common interview questions, preparing examples to illustrate your skills and experiences, and refining your non-verbal communication. Practicing with a friend or family member can also help you feel more confident and prepared for the interview.

To prepare for virtual interview questions, start by reviewing the job description and making a list of the skills and experiences that match the job requirements. Then, research common interview questions and prepare answers that showcase your strengths and experiences. Don’t forget to practice your non-verbal communication as well, such as maintaining good eye contact, smiling, and using hand gestures to emphasize your points.

What are some common virtual interview questions?
Common virtual interview questions

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want to work for this company?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Tell me about a time when you faced a challenge and how you overcame it.
  • How do you handle conflict in the workplace?
  • What are your long-term career goals?

Is it okay to use notes during a virtual interview?
Having notes during a virtual interview is okay, but make sure they’re not a distraction. Keep your notes short and concise, and avoid looking down at them too often.

6. Be Prepared to Ask Questions

Asking questions during a virtual interview is just as important as answering them. This shows the interviewer that you’re interested in the company and the role and allows you to learn more about the company culture and expectations.

To prepare for questions to ask during the interview, start by researching the company and the role. Think about what you want to know about the company culture, the team dynamics, and the day-to-day responsibilities of the role. Some good questions to ask include:

  • Can you tell me more about the day-to-day
    responsibilities of this role?
  • What is the company culture like?
  • How does the company support employee growth and development?
  • Can you tell me about a recent project the team has worked on?

Is it okay to ask about salary and benefits during a virtual interview?
It’s generally not recommended to ask about salary and benefits during the initial virtual interview. Wait until you’ve received an offer or are talking to HR before discussing compensation.

How many questions should I prepare?
It’s a good idea to prepare at least 2-3 questions to ask during the interview. Make sure your questions are thoughtful and relevant to the company and the role.

7. Follow Up After the Interview

One thank you note will be enough. (Via Tenor)

During the interview, be sure to gather each interviewer’s name, title, and contact information. This way, you can more easily follow up with interviewers to thank them for their time and reiterate your interest in the role. This can be done through a thank-you note or an email. You can also ask for feedback to help you improve your interview skills for future interviews.

Thank the interviewer for their time, and express your enthusiasm for the role. Reiterate why you’re a good fit for the position and how your skills and experiences match the job requirements. End the note by thanking them again for their time and expressing your interest in moving forward with the hiring process.

When should I send a thank-you note or email?
It’s best to send a thank-you note or email within twenty-four hours of the virtual interview.

How do I ask for feedback after a virtual interview?
You can ask for feedback by sending a follow-up email to the interviewer. Thank them again for their time, and express your interest in the role. Ask if there is any feedback they can provide to help you improve your interview skills for future opportunities.

By following the tips outlined in this article, you’ll be well on your way to acing your virtual job interview and landing your dream job. Remember to take advantage of practice tools like MyInterviewPractice which can help you simulate a realistic virtual interview experience and gain valuable feedback to help you improve. Good luck!

The key to nailing your interview – practice, practice, practice.

As with anything, practice makes perfect. The most common ways to practice are with in-person mock interviews or a list of questions. While these options are a great place to start, they can leave a lot to be desired.

Practicing with In-Person Mock Interviews and Question Lists

One way to get valuable interview practice is to set up in-person mock interviews. Unfortunately, they can be somewhat inconvenient. You have to find someone to conduct the mock interview, and schedule a meeting every time you want to practice.

Question lists offer a much more convenient way to practice interviewing. Unfortunately, they do little to recreate actual interview pressure. In a real interview you’ll never know what’s going to be asked and this is exactly what can make interviews so stressful.

Interview Simulators – The best of both worlds.

With interview simulators, you can take realistic mock interviews on your own, from anywhere.

My Interview Practice offers a simulator that generates unique questions each time you practice, so you’ll never see what’s coming. There are questions for over 120 job titles, and each question is curated by actual industry professionals. You can take as many interviews as you need to, in order to build confidence.

List of
Mock Interview
My Interview
Practice Simulator
Questions Unknown Like Real Interviews
Curated Questions Chosen Just for You
No Research Required
Share Your Practice Interview
Do It Yourself
Go At Your Own Pace

Our interview simulator uses video to record your responses, and recreates the pressure you would feel in a real interview. This also allows your to see how you perform and perfect your responses. You can then share your responses with colleagues and mentors so that you can get valuable feedback.

Check out My Interview Practice

The better way to practice interviewing.

Simulate realistic interviews for over 120 job different titles, with curated questions from real employers.

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