get prepared for your Virtual Interview and make a great first impression

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed interviewing to a 100% virtual process. While the interview content is the same, the preparation for a virtual interview is much different. You will need to learn the technology, how to look your best on camera and how to connect with your interviewer. From the moment the video starts, you will want to create a solid impression. Use the tips below to stand-out on your next virtual interview.

Test the Technology

Video conferencing requires a reliable internet connection, a camera and microphone on your computer and conferencing software. Prior to your interview, ensure everything works effectively and you have downloaded any necessary software. If you want to show documents such as a portfolio, then be sure they are open but minimized.  Close all other applications on your computer to avoid distractions during the interview. Complete a final voice and video check and join the meeting several minutes ahead of time.

Prepare Your Environment

Choose a location that is quiet, free of background distractions and has a good light source. Tell others sharing your space about your interview and that you and your quiet space will be off-limits during that time. The best light source is placed directly in front of you, so that your face is evenly illuminated. Image and environment create the first impression a hiring manager will have of you. No matter how well dressed you are, a disruptive or messy environment and poor lighting can make you appear less prepared and even less professional.

Get Comfortable

In a virtual interview you must bring a higher level of energy than you would in an in-person interview and convey to the interviewer that you are listening and engaged.  Take the opportunity to get comfortable in front of the camera by practicing mock interviews. To achieve optimal eye contact, you will want to position your face near the camera and in a position that allows you to look straight ahead and not down at the camera. Be sure to place your interviewer on the same monitor as your camera. Pay attention to the tone and pitch of your voice as well as how fast you speak, your level of excitement and how you pause.

Making a Connection

The goal of your interview is to show you are the right person for the job by creating a connection with the interviewer. Do your research on the company to know what they are experiencing and ask a few questions at the beginning of your interview. Treat the interview like a conversation. You want to be relaxed, personable and authentic so let your body language, facial expressions, and enthusiasm convey your confidence and personality.

Let the Other Person Finish Speaking

Delays in audio can sometimes make it difficult to know when to talk or listen. It can be helpful to provide a visual signal to the other person when you are finished talking to avoid long pauses, talking over someone or interrupting. One trick you can try is muting your mic while the other person is speaking and then turning it back on to speak.  

Contingency Planning

There is always a chance that there can be problems with a virtual interview. Be sure you have a plan for issues and can navigate them without getting flustered.

  • Interruptions – if you are interrupted by someone in your space, apologize, ask for a few moments, turn off the camera, mute the microphone and deal with the issue. Secure the room and restart the interview.
  • The link is not working, internet is down or your video/audio stops – when scheduling the interview, ask for a number where you can call if you experience technical difficulties. Determine if you can continue the interview by phone or if you will need to reschedule.
  • Loud noises – if noises (neighbors lawn mower, loud dog,,,)interrupt your video  interview, apologize for the interruption, and ask for a few moments until the noise has subsided and mute the microphone. Once the noise passes, un-mute the microphone and resume your interview.


In today’s job market, competition is fierce so candidates with strong virtual interview skills will stand out to employers. The ability to connect during the interview is equally important as your technical abilities.  Preparation is key to projecting confidence and having a successful job interview.


Contributed by: Amy Noel