Best practices for acing a virtual interview

Nowadays, when the whole world has switched to remote communication and work, job interviews have gone virtual as well. These changes cause obvious challenges both for interviewers and interviewees. To help you get ready for this stressful and significant event, our team has prepared a helpful guide in the form of answers to the most popular questions about video conferencing interviews with practical tips. Let’s dive right in!

Best practices for acing a virtual interview

Why are video conference interviews better than in-person ones?

The number of remote and hybrid workplaces has increased in recent years. And the use of video interviews has exploded as well, with companies like HireVue and Skype for Business leading the charge. This happened due to technological advances that have made video interviewing more prevalent than traditional and phone interviews.

Fortunately, this process brings more benefits than drawbacks. What are they?

All the pros of video interviews

  • No need to travel

Job seekers can demonstrate their skills and professionalism to potential employers without having to travel.

  • No time and money wasted

The interviewer doesn't have to fly out to meet the candidate, and the candidate doesn't have to spend money on travel or accommodations.

  • The same level of interaction

A video conferencing interview looks very similar to an in-person interview. The parties are able to comprehend each other's verbal and non-verbal cues, as well as maintain eye contact.

  • Real-time skill assessment

Video interviews allow the interviewer to see the candidate in action. This is especially important for jobs that require physical skills, such as sales or nursing.

  • Distance is no longer a problem

If previously opportunities to find a good job were limited to the region of residence, now the applicant can be interviewed for any position, no matter where the office of the company that offers it is located.

FAQ: How to effectively prepare for a video conference interview?

You just got an email inviting you to do a video interview. The subject line reads "join me for a video chat." You open the email attachment and find out it's a link to join a Google Meet. Panic sets in.

If you're like most people, you've never taken part in a video interview before. You have no idea what to wear, how to act, or what to say.

Here are the answers to the most popular questions people ask before a video conference interview. They will definitely help you pass your virtual interview at the highest level. Let's get started!

What should I do before an interview starts?

  • Check the light source

When you're getting ready for your next online face-to-face interview, there are a few things you should always do to make sure you look your best. One of those is checking the light source. You don't want to have any unflattering shadows cast on your face during the interview. So before you enter a virtual room, make sure that the light is coming in front of you, not behind or to the side.

  • Prepare your environment

Your environment is one of the first things that an interviewer will notice, so make sure that it looks professional and neat. If you have pets or children, try to get someone else to watch them during the interview. It's also important to check your background. If it leaves much to be desired, you'd better apply a distraction-free virtual background that you can find on any modern video chat app, like Whoosh or Skype.

  • Place the camera properly

It is crucial to take a little time and care in finding the best camera position for your video conference interview. You will want to be sure that you are in a well-lit area with as few distractions in the background as possible. Finding good lighting is key, as is sitting up tall and making eye contact with the camera. Make sure to practice in advance so that you feel confident and relaxed when the interview begins.

  • Share the link in advance

When preparing for a video interview, it's always a good idea to send a meeting link ahead of time. This gives both sides some extra time to test their internet connection and make sure their software works properly. And if the interviewer sends you the link, test it out before the interview starts. That way, you know it works and won't waste another 5 minutes asking the interviewer to send you a link once again.

  • Test your equipment and its settings

It is also important to check your hardware - camera, headphones, microphone, speakers, and audio and video settings - before an interview begins. This helps to eliminate any connectivity issues and gives you a chance to fix any sound or camera problems. You should also test the mute function on your phone and computer, just in case you need it during the interview.

What is the best time to have an interview and pass it?

The most suitable time for an interview is the one the employer sets up. But if they offer you a chance to schedule it yourself, consider the following tips:

  • Tuesday, 10 AM

Why Tuesday? Everyone hates Mondays and waits for Friday and weekends to come. Hence, the levels of productivity and tiredness are in an ideal balance on Tuesdays.

Why 10 AM? Your interviewer won’t be tired and still have the energy to give positive recommendations. 

  • Don't be late

This is the easiest way to succeed. And also try not to show up 15 minutes earlier, as you usually do for in-person interviews. Just enter a video call at the set time.

  • Concentrate on important things

Although scheduling a call at the most suitable time is vital, you shouldn’t forget about other essential things. Nothing is more important than how you actually do at the interview, so just ask for Tuesday at 10 AM and go ahead.

What to wear for a video conference interview?

No matter which type of virtual event you’re up to, it’s crucial to dress elegantly as if you’re going to a physical meeting. Forget about a popular hack - wearing a business top with sweatpants. What if you have to stand up to close the window or bring any documents and fail to remember about your unprofessional look? Consider that fact and always choose appropriate outfits. By doing so, you’ll prove to the interviewer that you’re motivated enough and serious about winning the position.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Stick to the company's dress code. Research the company’s culture and dress code before your interview. For example, if the company has a more casual environment, you may be able to get away with wearing slacks and a blazer rather than a suit.
  • Choose colors that suit you. Some colors are better suited for certain skin tones than others and can help you look more polished and professional.
  • Choose colors regarding the type of work you're interviewing for. Some colors are more conservative, while others are more creative. If you're interviewing for a conservative job, avoid bright or flashy colors. Conversely, if you're interviewing for a creative job, avoid pale and dark shades. What's more, some colors are associated with certain traits of character. For example, red is associated with power and confidence, so it may be the perfect color choice if you're interviewing for a management position.
  • Carefully wear accessories. It's especially important to make sure that all your accessories are tasteful and don't distract the interviewer from the process. This means no funky jewelry, crazy colors, and ambiguous combinations.
  • Don't forget about a signature item. When interviewing for a job, it's important to stand out from the crowd. One way to do that is to have a great signature item. A signature item is something that you can use to make a memorable impression on a hiring side. It can be anything from a creative resume to a special prop that you use during your interview. Whatever you choose, make sure that it showcases your unique personality and skills. By having a signature item, you'll certainly leave a lasting impression on potential employers.

How do your best at an online interview?

There are several common strategies everyone should stick to:

Prepare in advance

Technical side:

  • Check the internet connection and hardware
  • Test the web camera and microphone
  • Close all unnecessary tabs and apps on your device
  • Make sure you know everything about an installed video conferencing service.

Self-preparation:

  • Read everything about the company you apply to
  • Prepare notes with a short review of your skills, working experience, knowledge, education
  • Practice your speech by looking in the mirror
  • Jot down every question you want to ask

Make use of your body language

To make online meetings as closer to in-person as possible, behave the way you would do during a real conversation. For that, use your body language: facial expressions, hand gestures, eye contact, smile, and head tilt. Also, try sitting up straight, maintaining a confident and business-like posture.

Get rid of any distractions

You shouldn’t forget a virtual conversation is no less serious than a physical one. Therefore, nothing should interfere with the conversation flow. To ensure that, position yourself away from any loud sounds, use background noise-canceling headphones, and put aside your smartphone. 

What software should I use?

If it’s the first time you deal with an online interview and you don’t know what service to use, we’ll be delighted to help you.

The market offers a wide range of reliable solutions for video conferences. The most popular are:

  • Zoom
  • Google Meet
  • Telegram
  • Skype
  • Webex
  • GoToMeeting

They have gained popularity for offering powerful features to set up an HD video and audio conference call and ensuring a stable and hassle-free connection. But if you look for the latest apps with all the necessary features a modern remote employee needs for a successful interview and further work, check out Whoosh. It’s quite new to the market but offers a brand-new approach to in-house collaboration, communication, and virtual gatherings.

Final words

While web-based interviews may seem more informal, you should perceive them as no less serious than an in-person conversation in the office. Being a job-seeker, you aim at a similar goal in a web-based conversation as in a real one: you want to show the side conducting interviews that you’re worth this position, being much better than your competitors. Applying our helpful video interview tips and sticking to the world’s best practices, you’ll certainly transform your next online interview into a lucrative job offer.

Subscribe to our newsletter