How to Stand Out in a Virtual Interview: Preparation Tips

June 5, 2023
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If you’re currently in the job market and are actively seeking a new role, then standing out at the interview stage is vital. This means preparing for your online interview effectively, ensuring you’ve practised virtual interview questions and answers, and checking you’ve got everything ready before the big day arrives.

In this article, we’ll provide advice on how to gain the most out of an upcoming interview, particularly if it’s to be held online via video chat, so that you can stand out from the crowd.

Representation of a happy and successful interviewee

What is a Virtual Interview?

A virtual interview, also known as a video interview, is a way for companies to interact with potential job candidates from afar. Virtual interviews are becoming increasingly popular, especially as we all move towards a world of remote working and hybrid working, where it’s no longer a requirement of the role to live in the same town or city as your employer.

Benefits of Virtual Interviews

Attending a virtual interview has many benefits for both you and your prospective employer, including:

  • Video interviews can be more convenient, as you’re less likely to need time off work to attend the interview or can schedule it for a time of day that suits you best.
  • Unlike a simple phone interview, a video interview allows you to see the person or people you’ll be working with. Not only does this offer you a friendly face, but it means you can read body language and make eye contact, just like a face-to-face conversation.
  • There are no travel costs incurred or overnight hotel stays needed, as you can attend the interview from your own home.
A virtual interview being conducted

Disadvantages of Virtual Interviews

As with anything, however, virtual interviews do also have their disadvantages, such as:

  • You need to ensure you have the right technology, such as a laptop or a desktop computer with a webcam and microphone, to be able to attend the video interview.
  • Video interviews rely on you and your interviewer both having a reliable internet connection that won’t disconnect or break up during the call.
  • You’ll need to find a suitable location to put your computer where you won’t be disturbed and where you can ensure a professional background to your video call. Aim for somewhere plain without distracting clutter, pets or people.
Representation of a video interview that is going wrong with a cat pawing at the laptop

Video Interview Preparation

Before attending a virtual interview it’s important that you prepare. This means preparing yourself, your location and your technology ready for the big moment – the last thing you need is login problems, being stuck on mute or a pet jumping onto the desk in front of you. A few areas of preparation to consider include the following:

Video Interview Software

Before attending your virtual interview, make sure you have the right software installed on your laptop or desktop computer. Your interviewer should be able to tell you which platform they are using for the call if you don’t have this information to hand. For example, are you meeting on Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Skype? Be sure to download the relevant application ahead of time and ensure you can login successfully to avoid any last minute panic.

Video Interview Practice

Have you rehearsed your interview technique or are you planning to improvise on the day? To be well prepared, it’s a good idea to simulate a virtual interview environment with a family member or friend before the main event, so that you can practise answering questions and test out your technology. We’ll cover the types of questions you might need to prepare for later in this article.

Video Interview Dress Code

First impressions count, so make sure you choose a suitable outfit for your video interview ahead of time. Treat the virtual interview the same as you would a face-to-face interview and dress modestly and professionally, even if the interviewer can only see your head and shoulders. Dressing the part shows you’re serious about the role and will give you a boost of inner confidence. 

A person dressed professionally during the virtual interview process

Video Interview Questions

As part of your virtual interview preparation, it’s always a good idea to research potential interview questions related to your particular industry. If the role you’re applying for requires home working or hybrid working, then you may also encounter questions about remote working best practices, and these could be questions you’ve not had to answer before when applying for a role with a set working location.

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Top Tip

Video interview questions often focus on certain key skills: communication, productivity, time management, initiative and motivation. Be sure to come up with examples of each of these areas ahead of your virtual interview.

Below are 15 examples of video interview questions related to remote working and working from home that you may want to prepare for:

  1. How would you minimise distractions when working at home?
  2. What does your home office space look like?
  3. How do you prioritise work when working alone?
  4. How do you stay organised when working from home?
  5. Tell me about what you do to manage your time, do you have any specific methods?
  6. How do you stay motivated when working from home?
  7. What’s your preferred way to communicate with colleagues?
  8. How would you reach out to a colleague if you needed help?
  9. Are you comfortable working alone and managing your own schedule?
  10. What do you see as your biggest challenge when it comes to remote working?
  11. Give me an example of a time you’ve had to collaborate with others remotely.
  12. Give me an example of a time when you’ve had a problem and how you handled it whilst working remotely.
  13. Give me an example of a time when you’ve had to use your initiative.
  14. Give me an example of how you manage your work-life balance.
  15. Give me an example of something you’ve done in the past to successfully bond with remote colleagues.
A happy individual doing sign language during their virtual interview process

If you’re interviewing for a role in a specific industry, visit one of the links below to see further interview questions and how to prepare for them:

Virtual Interview Questions to Ask the Employer

At the end of an interview, you’re usually given the chance to ask any questions you have. Asking your interviewer questions shows you are genuinely interested in the role and the company you’re interviewing for. If all of your questions have already been answered during the interview process, then tell your interviewer what you would have asked if you’d needed to. This shows to them that you’ve prepared – not that you just can’t think of anything to ask.

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Top Tip

Aim for up to 3 questions at the end of your virtual interview based around the role, the company or the people – but avoid questions about salary, working hours or benefits, which are better directed at the HR team.

Examples of good questions to ask at the end of a video interview are:

  • What is the most challenging part of the role?
  • What do you expect from me in this role?
  • What does the perfect candidate for this role look like?
  • What are the most important skills for a person in this role to have?
  • What kind of tasks would I be expected to complete in my first month here?
  • Can you tell me about the performance review process?
  • What’s the best thing about working for this company, in your opinion?
  • Can you tell me about what the company plans to achieve in the coming years?
  • Are there any particular challenges facing the company right now?
  • Is there any further information or evidence I can give you to enhance my application?
  • Is there anything I’ve said that needs to be elaborated on?
An individual during their video interview

Standing out in an interview is vital if you’re looking for a new job. We hope that this article has helped you understand how to best prepare for a video interview, and that the tips we’ve provided will help you on the path to success. If you have any further questions or wish to find out more information on the topics covered in this article, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at High Speed Training!

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