Preparing for the Virtual Interview

Due to the pandemic restrictions, telephone and virtual interviews surged within the hiring process due to necessity to conform to COVID restrictions. The influx of the remote work and the possibility of working anywhere in the country from the comforts of your home, necessitated virtual interviews to become a normal part of the interviewing process.

Being interviewed virtually is similar but different than an in-person interview in which the interviewer can get an idea of your persona through your appearance and mannerisms. Furthermore, a virtual interview is not like having a casual chat with your friend – it takes some careful planning and strategy.

Land Line vs Cell Phone. Cell phones are notorious for cutting out or making your voice inaudible so if your cell phone is of mediocre quality or your internet service is spotty, consider using a landline if possible. A landline typically offers more service stability and audio quality than some cell phones and internet providers.

Online Virtual Meeting Platforms. There is an array of videotelephony software programs that are used to conduct virtual facetime meetings such as Zoom, Google Workspace, Go To Meeting or other similar platforms. Firstly, set up your computer in a room that will be free of distractions and noise during the interview. You only get one chance to make a good impression so you do not want to subject the interviewer to a barking dog, children running around or background noise. Likewise, pay attention to the ‘backdrop’ of the room you are in when participating in the virtual meeting as it can become a reflection on you if there is an excess of stuff and chaos in the background. Many virtual meeting platforms have a function in which you can access to create a virtual background so the interviewer is not really seeing the messy overflowing bookshelf in your room.

Be Prepared. Most virtual interviews are prearranged before the actual interview will take place. In most cases, you will be contacted by the prospective employer and a day and time will be determined. If you are job hunting, keep your appointment book up-to date and handy just in case you are selected for a virtual interview. Make sure to accurately record all the details of the interview that you are provided with including date, time, interviewer name and contact information.

Plan Ahead. Before your virtual interview, ensure that you have all your relevant information handy and it is in some sort of order. Nothing is more unprofessional than keeping your interviewer waiting while you shuffle through a file folder of papers or your digital files looking for something. Keep all your employment related information together in a folder and put it some place where it is easily accessible. Be sure to have a copy of the job posting that you are interviewing for so you can address different aspects of the job requirements. Nothing is more disastrous than going into an interview blind without a copy of the job posting to review beforehand and recount some of your career achievements.

Watch Your Tone. The tone of your voice can speak volumes especially over the phone or virtually. If by phone, you and your interviewer are at a disadvantage because it is your voice that will stand out without any accompanying face or body gestures. It is particularly important to refrain from using sarcasm because your intentions can easily be misconstrued. Do try to speak in a clear and concise manner, and do not rush your words. Nothing is more aggravating then someone who talks too fast and leaves the other person confused as to what was said. During a virtual interview, be conscious of making eye contact with all interviewer(s), and don’t let your attention and your eyes wander off!

Don’t Babble.  If you tend to babble incessantly when you are nervous or stressed, remain focused on the interviewer’s question and offer precise answers. When you babble, you come across as indecisive, unfocused and lacking in oral communication skills. If you are guilty of babbling, ask a friend to participate in a mock question and answer trial run with you so you can practice answering questions without babbling relentlessly. Likewise, you can hire a Career Coach to help you with interview preparation such as Ideal Career Services – see Career Coaching Tab)

Slash the Slang.  The use of slang and inappropriate language during an interview should definitely be avoided. Not only will you come across unprofessional and immature, your interviewer may be years older and not know what you are talking about. Always use proper English, and speak in complete sentences.

Mind Your Manners. Good manners apply to phone and video interviews too. It is impolite and just plain rude to eat, drink or chew gum while being interviewed. Be courteous and give your interviewer your full attention and avoid distractions at all costs. Remember to thank the interviewer at the end of the interview for their time and the opportunity to be interviewed.  

Follow Up. It is always recommended that you follow up on all interviews. It is a good idea to send the interviewer a short email thanking them for their time and to contact you if there are any further questions you can answer. Use the short email to emphasize your key skills or any other pertinent information that you may have neglected to mention during the interview. Even if you do not get the job, the interviewer may choose to keep your resume on file if another position comes available.

With a bit of planning and practice, a telephone or virtual interview with a prospective employer can be your ticket to a great job.

Ideal Career Services offers 1-1 Interview Preparation Coaching Sessions. Call 647-361-9916 or email: for more information.

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