How To Nail Your Virtual Interview

We may be hunkered down in our homes, but many companies are still aggressively hiring. That means interviews have transitioned to video and that may be a new experience for both interviewers and interviewees.

Having recently been a hiring manager at a fully remote company, I wanted to put together some advice specifically for those of us that are new at interviewing over video.

Make Eye Contact

The odds are not in your favor on this one, so you’ll have to be mindful about making eye contact. The camera is likely on the very top of your computer or monitor. It’s not a natural place to look, especially since your interviewer’s video feed is probably only occupying a portion of your screen elsewhere.

Here’s what I like to do to help with this: resize the other person’s video window to be as small as possible and position it at the top center of your screen. This way, you can maintain perceived eye contact (or as close as you can get) while watching their video feed for visual cues.

Hide Your (Full of Your-) Self View

Let’s face it, we’re all narcissists at our core. If there’s a live video showing us, we’re going to look at it. I’ve found that when I hide my own video during conversations, it helps me be more present and concentrate on what the other person is saying — not checking to see if my hair looks good or stressing about whether I should have cleaned off the table in the background.


Minimize Sound Disruption

Obviously, you should take your interview from as quiet of a space as possible. But if you’re like me and are currently at home with a partner who’s working full time and a child, then that’s not very realistic.

My two less obvious pieces of advice here are to:

  1. Go on mute when you’re not speaking. Learn the keyboard shortcut for muting/unmuting on. Use it frequently!
  2. Look into noise cancelling software. I’ve personally had really good experience with

Remember to Speak Concisely and Take Pauses

While this is good practice for any conversation in general, it’s even more important when interviewing remotely. For whatever reason, people tend to be longer-winded when on video conference. Participants on video are also less likely to cut you off if they’ve already gotten what they wanted out of your answer. That means you need to be especially mindful of making sure you’re not talking too much.

In fact, err on the side of giving less information. You can always further elaborate, but when you talk uninterrupted for 15 mins when someone asks you to tell them about yourself you will come across as oblivious.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask to Share Your Screen and Show the Interviewer Something

Are you talking about your experience making changes to the sign up flow that resulted in a 30% better conversion rate? Don’t be afraid to share your screen so your interviewer can follow along with a visual.

Lastly, Don’t Forget to Make Some Small Talk

You may be literally talking to a computer, but don’t forget there’s an actual person on the other end. Remember to be yourself, share some of your personality, and try to establish a rapport with your interviewer.

It’s a strange time to be interviewing, so hopefully these tips and tricks will help you shine in your next virtual interview.

Good luck out there!

How To Nail Your Virtual Interview was originally published in Startup Grind on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Jeremy Webb Startup Grind - Medium

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Jeremy Webb

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