How to Ace a Virtual Interview

The virtual interview is here to stay. While virtual interviews have a lot in common with their traditional counterparts, there are still a few differences that candidates should prepare for before the interview. Continue below for tips to help you ace your next virtual interview.  

What is a virtual interview? 

Virtual interviews provide a platform for interviewers and candidates to meet virtually from all over the world and allow participants to see faces and body language. Virtual interviews require the use of video interviewing software, webcams, and headphones. 

Environment 

Where you conduct your virtual interview matters. Before your interview, find a quiet place that is free from distractions. Look for a blank or neutral wall or remove notes or pictures that may be distracting to the interviewer. Remember that while you are looking into the camera, everyone can see what is behind you. Make sure that you have a lighting source (e.g., lamp) placed in front of you and avoid sitting in front of a window. Also, be aware of any windows that may create glare or unwanted reflections. 

Technology Check 

Ensure that you have all the necessary technological equipment needed for a successful virtual interview. For example, a computer with a built-in camera, or a webcam that can be attached to your computer. Avoid using your cell phone if possible. Test out the interview platform (e.g., Zoom, Skype, Google/Meet Hangouts) prior to your scheduled interview. Verify that your camera position and angle places you directly in the center of your screen. Be sure to have a reliable power source for your computer and internet connection. 

Professional Dress 

It might be tempting to only dress professionally from the waist up because that’s all that can be seen. However, it is important to dress for your interview the same way you would dress if the interview was held face-to-face. Accessorize with minimal jewelry and make-up and be sure to brush/fix your hair. Dressing professionally will help build your confidence for the interview and allow you to be in a professional headspace. 

Setting the Scene 

Sit at your computer 10-15 minutes prior to the start of the interview. Turn off all ringers, televisions, or music. Resist the urge to engage with technology, as this will only distract you and interfere with your preparation. Instead, review your resume or read through the job description again.  

During the Interview 

Remember to smile and to sit up straight for the duration of the interview. Avoid any unnecessary body movements and don’t fidget in your seat. Take your time when answering questions and remember that it is okay to pause for just a moment to think. When responding to the interviewers, look directly into the camera. This may feel awkward at first but doing so gives the appearance that you are making eye contact, which is an important part of the interview process. 

Tip for Success 

Find someone to care for your children and any animals during the interview so you can fully focus your attention on the interview process.  

For more information about this topic, check out the recent webinar How to Ace a Virtual Interview on CareerQuest. Additionally, keep in mind that UMGC Career Services is available to help you plan and achieve career success. Set up an appointment with a UMGC Career Advising Specialist for additional support in your career journey.  

Raelynn F. Grasso is a Career Advising Specialist at the University of Maryland Global Campus. She has experience leading and providing individual, group, and career counseling, as well as executing and developing programs to enhance college student enrichment. Ms. Grasso’s area of research includes career decision-making, epistemic cognition, self-efficacy, and college student development. She holds a B.S., Psychology from the University of Utah, an M.S., Education Psychology, and is a PhD candidate in Educational Psychology, both from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.