How to Prepare for a Virtual Interview

The Prepped Team

April 15, 2020

10 minutes

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As job search technology continues to evolve, the process by which we interview for potential jobs is growing as well. The virtual interview is a concept that continues to gain momentum in the industry, and during times where working from home is necessary, interviewing for a position virtually has become an essential tool for job candidates and recruiters alike. Knowing how to prepare for a virtual interview will prove vital to your success. In this webinar, Prepped partnered with RBC Senior Recruiters, Amanda Bibeau and Kathryn Tooley to discuss best practices for virtual interviews, along with tips and tricks for how you can prepare to shine in front of the screen.  

What is a virtual interview?

The only difference between a virtual and in-person interview is the location. Virtual interviews take place online through a video platform chosen by the company you have applied to work for. You are still expected to show up in the same manner you would for an in-person interview. As a bonus, you won’t waste time struggling to find the building or specific location — just sign in online!

Types of virtual interviews

There are two types of virtual interviews with only a few differences that set them apart.

Pre-recorded interviews

  • One-way interaction with the camera
  • Review the recording software used for the interview
  • Responses to pre-set interview questions are recorded and sent to the recruiter

Live video interviews

  • Two-way, real-time interaction with the interviewer
  • Review the conferencing software used for the interview
  • Questions are asked directly by the interviewer

What to expect in a virtual interview

Expectations for a virtual interview should feel similar to an in-person interview. Where your interview is and how it begins may feel different, but the flow of conversation and style of the questions will remain the same.The calendar invite - The recruiter will send you a calendar invite that includes the day and time of your interview, the “room” (the video platform) where it will, and the name of the person interviewing you (if different from the recruiter).The “room” - You may hear recruiters refer to the “room” you will interview in, which is just formal talk for the video platform where the interview will take place. The person interviewing you will be waiting in the “room” for you. The interview - The interview itself will follow the same format as an in-person meeting. You will be asked various questions about your experience and the role you are applying for so the interviewer can get to know you better.

4 ways to prepare for a virtual interview

1. Research the company

It’s essential that you research the company and the role you have applied for prior to meeting for the virtual interview. Learning the company background and its purpose and values will help you feel at ease when you speak to your reasons for applying and will help to display confidence in your ability and experience.

2. Test your tech

Ahead of your virtual interview, prepare your space by testing the lighting and background of where you will be sitting for the video meeting. You may also consider running updates on your computer ahead of the call. Make sure you have a reliable internet connection and don’t forget to test the platform you will be using to connect.

3. Look the part

Make sure you dress the same way you would for an in-person interview. Your appearance will matter just as much over video as it would in-person, and it will help you feel more at ease to know you’ve dressed for the role you want.

4. Actively engage

Above all else, make an effort to actively engage with your interviewer by nodding your head in response, displaying enthusiasm in your responses, and smiling on camera the same way you would if you were interviewing in-person. Looking for more tips to prepare for your interview? Read our article on the most common job interview questions.

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How to stand out in a virtual interview

Behavioural questions are common in many interviews across the majority of industries, and they can often feel tricky to navigate. Leverage the STAR method to help you get started:

  • Situation: provide the background of the environment and who was involved
  • Task: define what was expected and your responsibilities
  • Action: explain what you did in the situation
  • Result: what was the outcome and what did you learn

The key to a successful virtual interview is no different than a regular interview - preparation is key. Watch the full webinar and use our interviewing module to help prepare for some of the most common interview questions, and use our interview recording tool to help practise these questions on camera.