How to Nail Your Next Virtual Interview

More and more companies are turning to Google Hangouts or Skype for virtual interviews as a way to screen candidates before bringing them on-site. While you may be prepared for traditional in-person interviews, acing the virtual interview requires a little bit of extra forethought. Follow these five tips to make sure you make the most of your next virtual interview.

1.     Do your research.

Just as you would with an in-person interview, research the organization ahead of time. Look at their website, social media accounts, and interview reviews. If you can, take it one step further and have an informational interview with another employee. Use this research to get a clear sense of the culture as well as questions you want to ask. Although a virtual interview will often be shorter in length at around 20-30 minutes, the interviewer will still typically offer a few minutes for you to ask questions. Knowing more about the culture will also help you understand what attire would be appropriate. For example, you’d hate to show up on-screen in a suit for a casual start-up, just as you wouldn’t want to wear a casual t-shirt for a more formal or conservative organization in finance or consulting.

2.     Consider your surroundings.

Even though the interviewer will likely be focused on you, remember that they’ll be able to see the space you’re in on-camera, too. Don’t let a messy room or busy space distract them visually. Avoid excess background noise as well, finding a quiet room that allows both you and the interviewer to focus.

3.     Remember, body language matters.

Keep in mind that you’re making a first impression, even if over the computer screen. One of the key things you can do to make a great one is to smile. It’s surprisingly easy to forget to this simple act while we’re trying to get our video and audio working and prepare to answer interview questions. Smiling will help express your enthusiasm and build a connection with your interviewer.

Similar to in-person interviews, you want to establish eye contact throughout your virtual interview as well. This can be more challenging over Skype or Google Hangouts, as it’s important to look at the camera rather than the computer screen.

4.     Use your notes.

The advantage of a remote interview is that you can have your resume, notes, and questions you want to ask on the table in front of you while you talk. While you shouldn’t rely on your notes or read directly from them, it can be helpful to glance down to ensure you don’t miss any key talking points.

5.     Address any tech troubles.

As we all know, technology doesn’t always work perfectly. If you experience a poor connection or glitch of some kind that causes you to miss a part of a question, ask for the interviewer to repeat the question. You don’t want to misinterpret what the interviewer is saying, or give an irrelevant answer because you missed something. If the problem continues, let the interviewer know right away, end the call, and try again. Be polite and try to troubleshoot to the best of your ability so that the interviewer sees 1) how you operate under pressure and 2) how you problem solve.


Looking for more interview prep? Be sure to download my interview prep checklist and read some of my other blogs with interview tips here. Then share with me, what other tips have you found helpful when it comes to virtual interviewing?