How-To Ace a Virtual Interview

Interviewing during a Pandemic


COVID-19 has made significant changes to all our lives, and the recruiting/interviewing world is no different. In-person interviews have almost come to a complete halt. As we approach these changes, I wanted to share some pointers on how to ace a virtual interview.

Test your technology!

    • Get with a friend to test your computer and the platform you are using ahead of time. The last thing you want is camera or audio issues while the interviewer sits and waits.
    • I suggest placing your laptop or phone at an elevated angle so that you are not looking down at the camera.
    • Make sure you are in a bright room with a clean background and as little outside noise as you can control. Make sure there is not excessive natural light behind you, as that will cause lighting issues with your camera. This can typically be prevented by simply closing your blinds or curtains.
    • There are many how-to articles and videos to assist with the use of Skype, Zoom, WebEx, etc…

Dress professionally!

You only get one chance to make a strong first impression and many hiring managers will take your attire into account when making their initial assessments. Make sure that you are dressed just as you would be in person. A button-down shirt, a simple dress or a cardigan are easy “go to” options. Make sure that your hair looks neat and professional as well!

Going back to outside noise!

I want to give this one some special attention because right now, times are a bit… unique! Typically, your kids would be at school/daycare, your spouse/roommate would be at work, but right now that may not be the case. You want to make sure that you are doing your best to eliminate those distractions, but we are all human.  Kids might knock on the door or come in the room, dogs might bark, etc.…

Try to eliminate this, but if you absolutely can’t, THAT IS OKAY! Interviews can be stressful as it is, don’t let these additional things become stressors as well. And most likely, the person interviewing you will be dealing with the same issues.

A few things you can control with background noise:

    • Close background tabs and turn off any notifications on your computer
    • Put your phone away and silence it
    • Lock the door if possible


Be prepared!

It is a good idea to have the interviewer’s contact information readily available in case you happen run into any connectivity issues.

Do your research on the company and the position. In any interview, you should be prepared to walk through your work history and answer challenging interview questions. I also suggest ALWAYS having a few questions prepared to ask the interviewer.

Keep your head up!

During this time of isolation, things can feel uncertain, lonely, and just flat out scary. Remember to keep your head up! Take care of yourself and ask for help. We are in this together. Don’t hesitate to utilize your family and friends to help you prepare. There are also tons of recruiters out there who would love to help walk you through this process.

Go outside and get some fresh air! It is important that we all get some Vitamin D and that might be just what you need before delving into an interview. If the weather won’t allow this, try listening to your favorite song, watching a motivational video, or doing a quick meditation.

Lastly, remember this is temporary!

We are resilient beings and we will get through this. Things will eventually go back to normal and life will carry on. Hopefully, we all take this time to learn something new. Something new about ourselves, maybe start a new hobby we have always wanted to try, or maybe master the art of the virtual interview!