In today’s job market, virtual interviews via platforms like Zoom, WebEx, and Teams have become standard practice for many companies. While they haven’t completely replaced in-person interviews, virtual interviews are just as crucial in helping managers decide if they want to make someone a job offer. While most of the advice I wrote about previously for phone interviews still applies, here are six essential tips to help you ace your next virtual interview.   

  1. Avoid Technical Issues – Especially for tech job interviews, not being able to connect to a virtual interview can reflect poorly on you. Even if you use platforms like Zoom frequently at work, double-check a few things before the interview. Make sure your computer is charged, you have a good wifi connection, test your webcam and microphone, and make sure the virtual interview link works. When possible, it’s always best to use a laptop versus your phone to connect. Join the meeting about 5 minutes early to make sure everything works okay. 
  2. Prepare Your Virtual Background – While your webcam background may seem like a minor detail, most interviewers form first impressions about you based on how much effort you put into presenting a pleasant background. If you don’t have an ideal background, just blur it. Also, make sure the angle of the webcam is as close to eye level as you can get, so they aren’t looking up your nose. If you can’t find a quiet area, headphones or earbuds are a good choice. Lastly, dress appropriately. Wear a nice shirt or sweater. A suit is overkill, but conversely, a t-shirt will typically be viewed as too casual.
  3. Don’t Ramble – This is the number one negative feedback reason we receive after Zoom interviews. Aim to keep your answers under a minute, staying on topic and avoiding tangents. While it’s tempting to provide extra examples to sell yourself, overdoing it can be off-putting. Showing restraint with concise answers demonstrate professional maturity and effective communication skills.
  4. Prepare Strategic Questions – Prepare a few thoughtful questions to ask when the time is right. Avoid obvious questions that might be answered during the conversation. Instead, craft questions that show a strategic mindset. For example, “given your company’s recent acquisition of a major competitor, how do you see this effecting the future responsibilities for this team?” 
  5. Read Body Language – Virtual interviews allow interviewers to observe your reactions to social cues and body language, which is why they can carry more weight than phone interviews.  Can you tell when they seem interested and want more detail? Pay attention to signs of interest or the need for more detail. Beware of “poker-face interviewers” who display no visible reactions. Some do this intentionally to test your confidence. Stay confident in your answers and avoid backtracking.
  6. Smile – Yes, I know it seems basic but it’s important! A natural, positive facial expression can make a big difference.  You may be nervous or overly focused on the content, so keep an eye on how you are coming across. The interviewer is not only looking for the right skills but they also want to work alongside someone that seems like they would be a pleasant co-worker.  

Virtual interviews are a critical step in the hiring process. By preparing thoroughly and following these tips, you can present your best self and make a positive impression. Good luck with your next interview! 

Written: July 2024