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by Andrew Fennell | February 28, 2024


Virtual interviews can be just as nerve-wracking as in-person interviews. So, if you’ve been asked to attend an online interview, here are some tips to help you prepare thoroughly and perform well.

Do: Test your equipment and video conferencing tools

One of the first things you need to do when you know you have a virtual interview coming up is to test out your equipment and make sure you know how video conferencing tools work. Find out which platform the recruiter will be using (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.) and get familiar with these tools if you aren't already. You also need to make sure that you check the camera and audio are working on your chosen device and that you're going to have a strong, stable internet connection on the day.

Don’t: Leave this until the last minute

It’s important that you give yourself plenty of time before the interview to run your checks and make sure your devices are working, just in case any issues arise. That way, you have time to reboot or find a new device if it’s not working. You can also find somewhere with a stronger internet connection if you’re having issues.

Do: Prepare thoroughly

As with any interview, you need to make sure that you prepare thoroughly before you log on. This means printing out your resume and having this in front of you, practicing answers to some of the most common interview questions, and preparing some questions of your own. Just because it’s a virtual interview doesn't make it any less formal or professional, so you need to prepare thoroughly if you want to give yourself the best chance of impressing the recruiter.

Don’t: Choose a distracting location or background 

You want to conduct the interview from a quiet space, avoiding loud locations like your local coffee shop, as these are going to be distracting to you and the interviewer. It’s also important that the background isn't too busy or that you know how to blur the background if you can’t find a suitable space. Avoid choosing spaces with lots going on behind you—for example, your messy bedroom or a living room with family photos on the wall. All of this can draw the recruiter’s attention away. So, choose a clean, quiet place that won’t distract you or the interviewer.

Do: Think about your body language 

It’s important in any interview, even a virtual one, that you think carefully about your body language and what it says about you. Don’t slouch, lean back in your chair, or fiddle with the paper on your desk. You need to appear calm, professional, and confident at all times. So, no matter where you are, it’s important to sit up straight, keep good eye contact, and remain as calm as possible (even if you’re nervous on the inside).

Don’t: Show up in your pajamas

It’s crucial that you look the part, so don’t show up wearing the comfy clothes you like to relax in at home. Make sure you dress professionally. Yes, that applies to your whole outfit, even if you think they can’t see your lower half, it’s still no good popping on a shirt with your pajama trousers. If you dress smartly, you’ll make a better impression and you’ll also feel more confident in yourself.

Do: Ask interesting questions and follow up 

Remember, an interview is a two-way street, so it’s a good idea to have some questions of your own prepared before you start. Sure, some may come to you as you learn more about the role, but it’s always good to write some down just in case. Then, after your interview, write a follow-up email thanking the recruiter for their time. This will ensure your name sticks in their mind and it can help you to stand out from other candidates.

Don’t: Be late

Finally, you’ll be given a time for your virtual interview and it’s vital that you have everything set up ready to go and that you join the meeting on time. Punctuality is so important to any employer, so it’s best to sign in 5 to 10 minutes before it is due to start. Most platforms have a virtual waiting room. That way, the recruiter can see that you're ready and invite you to join the call at the correct time.

Andrew Fennell is the founder and director of StandOut CV, a leading CV builder and careers advice website. He is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to publications like Business Insider, The Guardian, and The Independent.