Tips for Having a Great Virtual or Phone Interview

by Guest Author, Miles Oliver

One of the side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it forced many companies to either close their doors or transition to a remote workforce. What started as a temporary solution has proven successful, and now many companies are sticking with the remote model. This is good news for candidates that like to work from home, but it doesn’t change the importance of the initial job interview. Even if you are speaking to the recruiter on the phone or in front of your computer, you need to present your best self and be ready to impress.

Today, we discuss some interview tips to do just that.

Get Prepared

The most important part of a job interview is still to be there on time. While you do not need to leave your house for a virtual interview, you still need to take similar precautions to ensure that you are ready on time.

On the day before your interview is scheduled, make it a point to test your tech and ensure it is ready to go. If you are doing a phone interview, make sure that your device is charged. If the recruiter sends you an email with the details of the interview and a link to click to join them, then consider trying it out to ensure that you can make a connection. If you cannot, then contact the company just in case. It is better to be safe than sorry.

If you are taking the interview on your computer or tablet, then make it a point to test your webcam and your microphone to make sure that they work. To be sure, start a video call with a friend or family member and see if you can see and hear them properly.

It is important to find a good place to sit so that you have an appropriate background. You should not have inappropriate posters or subject matter in the background. Also, avoid busy backgrounds filled with books that could distract the interviewer. Instead, opt for a neutral background in front of a white or beige wall or maybe a non-distracting piece of wall art. The point is for you to be the star of the interview, not what is happening behind you.

Be Ready To Impress

Just like in-person interviews, it is important that you create a professional appearance for a virtual meet-up. Dress appropriately for the job at hand. You can’t go wrong with a button-up shirt or a nice blouse. Ensure that you are also well groomed. The great thing about dressing well is that you will impress the interviewer, and you will feel more confident during the experience.

Also, avoid looking at a cheat sheet during the interview and have your answers prepared just like you would if you were in person. Even if you are only talking to the interviewer on the phone, you should avoid trying to read off of notes, as the fact that you are reading can be obvious. To be as prepared as possible, spend the few days before the interview looking up commonly asked questions and coming up with answers from your own life. That way, you will be prepared for anything.

Finally, the best way that you can impress during the meeting is to maintain eye contact with the recruiter as often as possible. They will likely be looking at you during the conversation, so it will be odd if you avoid their gaze. You don’t need to stare at them the whole time, but by keeping eye contact, you can show that you are listening and that you really want to make a good impression.

Ask Important Questions

Many interviewers are impressed when you know things about the company beforehand, and they also like it when you ask questions about what you don’t know. This is especially important for a remote role. Ask questions specific to this type of job, like:

  • How do managers communicate with remote workers?
  • How often would you be required to be on camera?
  • Will there be any days when you will be required to be in the office?
  • Are remote workers a priority or an afterthought at your organization?

Since you don’t want to get into trouble down the line, this may also be a good time to ask about cybersecurity as a remote employee. Many companies have not yet transitioned fully to a paperless environment, so you still may have physical documents in your possession at times. Does this company have a remote document destruction policy where they will provide a paper shredder that you can use when necessary? Or will they send a mobile shredding service to your home to properly discard these documents? These are good questions that are important to know, and they will likely impress the interviewer.

Since remote work is becoming the norm, it is a good idea to research and learn more about the tech advancements occurring around this type of role. For instance, there is a lot of excitement around the role of virtual reality in business. Recent innovations include the ability to have meetings where you are at home, but you are virtually transported to a conference room just like in the physical office. The tech could also allow you to have virtual team-building gatherings where you can play games and feel like you are in the same room as your fellow coworkers. Asking these questions will impress your interviewer, and if they were not already thinking about these innovations before, then they likely will start now.

As you can see, it is just as important to be ready to impress during a virtual interview as it is when you are interviewing in person. Set yourself up for success, and you can land the remote or in person job of your dreams.

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About the author: Miles Oliver is a freelance contributor whose writing focuses on professional development. You can reach him at

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