6 Practical Tips for Virtual Interview Success

Virtual interviews

The hiring process in today’s world is likely to involve a virtual interview. Although this may have been happening before, the global pandemic has seen more hiring managers moving quickly to virtual processes. This could happen more in the future regardless of the external situation, if employers find it saves time and money. It’s therefore important to prepare for virtual interviews as much as you would prepare for in-person interviews. There are some differences in the way you would prepare and things you would consider for a virtual interview. Here are 6 practical tips for virtual interview success:

  1. Get fully dressed!

As with any other virtual calls you are having for professional reasons, getting dressed in the clothes you would normally wear in person will get you into the mode you need to be in. You don’t have to necessarily wear the shoes, but don’t just focus on your top! You never know whether you will need to get up during an interview, so you don’t want to have your pyjamas appearing on screen. Getting dressed as you would for an in-person interview means you will feel fully in ‘interview mode’ and don’t risk any embarrassing moments.

  1. Inform others in your household

If you are living with other people, inform them of your virtual interview. Tell them the exact date and time, and remind them on the day itself. Put up a Do Not Disturb sign if you have one. Even though it is becoming more common to be interrupted on our video calls, you don’t want this to happen during an interview. The interviewer may understand, but it risks interrupting your flow. Decide where your interview space will be, and make sure others in your house stay well away for that hour!

  1. Have a glass of water & snack prepared

Obviously you shouldn’t be eating during your interview, but you can definitely take sips of water. The nerves coupled with all the talking can result in needing to stay hydrated to keep you going. The interviewer might also build in a break if your interview is fairly long. If you have a snack prepared, you don’t need to waste time searching for something to eat, which could cause you more stress.

  1. Prepare your equipment

Plug in your laptop charger. Have a notebook next to you opened up to a blank page, ready to take notes if you have to. Put multiple pens out in case one runs out of ink! Have your diary in front of you or your online calendar open on your computer. The interviewer might ask about dates for either a further step in the selection process or potential start dates for the role. Having it in front of you means you don’t need to try and remember your schedule but can refer to it quickly and easily.

  1. Do a test run

Test out your lighting in your chosen interview space beforehand. Run the call with someone using the same programme that is being used for your virtual interview (Skype, Google Hangouts or Zoom are most common). Check that they can see and hear you clearly, and if you do switch on any lights in the background, that they don’t cause glare on your screen. Decide whether you are going to wear headphones or not and test these out too.

  1. Re-charge afterwards

Carve out time after the interview to go for a walk or have a meal. Virtual interviews can be quite draining as you are forced to stare at a screen and be on high performance mode continuously for a stretch of time. Do whatever relaxes and re-energises you afterwards if you can, rather than going back to working on another task.  

A virtual interview can actually be more stressful in some ways than in-person interviews, because you are responsible for making sure the setting is appropriate. You don’t have to think about travelling to the interview location, but you do have to consider more equipment and technology-related issues. You don’t want your laptop running out of battery in the middle of the conversation! So make sure that you prepare for the practical side of virtual interviews as well as the interview questions themselves.

If you are ready to take your career outside the lab and want to know how to start, book a Beyond the Lab Breakthrough Session here.


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