10 tips for nailing a virtual interview

Vaco - 10 tips for nailing a virtual job interview - blog graphic

The past two years have changed the world. In particular, they’ve changed how we interact, interface, and connect with those around us. The pandemic has challenged our personal lives and shifted (maybe forever) the ways companies do business. It’s also changed how we recruit and hire.

The disruption has dramatically impacted employment and has forced companies to reevaluate not only when and why they hire someone, but also how to hire someone.

As the hiring process becomes increasingly virtual and more employees begin to work remotely, Vaco and other organizations have moved towards virtual interviewing. On one hand, it’s nice to be in the comfort of your own home during a stressful interview. On the other hand, it’s much harder to build the same rapport that’s possible with an in-person meeting.  

Even with these challenges, candidates can still make the best of this new frontier in interviewing.

If you’re in the midst of a job hunt, now is the time to get educated on the specifics of virtual interviews–so you can present yourself in the best professional light and stand out among other candidates throughout the interview process.

Below, we’ve compiled 10 tips for nailing a virtual interview.

10 virtual interview tips to set yourself apart

In 2020, we have completed dozens of video interviews, and despite the general awareness and commonality of the practice, many candidates still make basic mistakes during virtual interviews. These mistakes range from dogs barking to poor webcam framing to the half glass of wine sitting in plain view on the corner of the desk.

Below are 10 key things to keep in mind when participating in a virtual interview. Some of these may seem obvious, but all of them are important−and could be deal breakers−in the quest to land your dream job.

1. Test your internet connectivity.

Log into the video interview platform at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled start time. Do not scramble at the last minute to troubleshoot connection issues with your Wi-Fi or camera.

2. Test your webcam and display placements.

An employer wants to see more than just your forehead or the bottom of your chin. Check your screen placement from time to time to ensure the interviewer can see your entire face at a reasonable distance.

3. Choose proper interview attire.

Dress your best to leave a lasting and professional impression. It’s important to remember that an outfit that looks sleek and professional in person may not translate on a video call. Similarly, strong patterns and colors may be distracting. Neutral, solid colors look great on camera, while also allowing you to maintain a professional appearance. If you want to be sure about your outfit, do a few test runs on your video chat platform. Try different looks and color combinations to find one that looks best in your home’s unique lighting and on your unique camera. 

4. Find a room with a neutral and clean background.

You don’t want the background in your video stream to be cluttered or messy. Most video conferencing platforms have pre-loaded backgrounds that can help you project a clean, professional appearance.

5. Eliminate distractions.

Close doors and windows in the room, turn the TV off, silence your cell phone, block pop-ups on your computer, and, if possible, remove pets and kids from the space so you can focus on your interview questions without being interrupted.

6. Choose an office or kitchen chair for good posture.

It’s important to treat a virtual interview with the same level of care as an in-person interview. Don’t sit on a couch or an overstuffed armchair; doing so can encourage poor posture and body language and detract from an otherwise professional appearance.

7. Adjust the lighting.

Make sure your room is well-lit so the interviewer(s) can see you without glare or large shadows interfering. Avoid sitting directly under overhead lights or with your back to a window—you want the light source in an interview space to fall mostly on your face. Natural lighting can provide a well-lit, flattering appearance on camera, so sitting in front of a large window is a great option. If you don’t have a large window or if your interview takes place in the late afternoon or early evening, a soft ring light or lamps placed in front of you can have a similar flattering effect without washing you out. 

8. Prioritize the camera, not the screen.

Use the best camera you have, even if that means doing the interview on your cell phone. If you use a cell phone, place the phone in a stationary stand to eliminate movement.

9. Keep your eyes forward, and look at the interviewer(s).

Focus on the camera of your device if you find yourself struggling to look at the correct area on your screen.

10. Take notes.

Even though you’re on video, a hiring manager will appreciate engagement through note-taking, as it shows interest; having notes is also beneficial for follow-up conversations and communications.

Lights, camera, interview

Job seekers have more options than they’ve had in years; many are making the leap to new professional opportunities as they’ve learned more about themselves and their goals during the pandemic. However, some aspects of life and work are irrevocably changed by the past two years, including the ways companies find, interview, and select the best candidates.

Virtual interviews are likely to be a permanent aspect of the hiring process going forward.  These tips can help you ace the virtual interview process and put your best foot forward during your job search. 

Ready to start a new professional adventure?

Connect with a Vaco recruiter and work with a seasoned expert who’s with you all the way.



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