How to Prepare for a Virtual Interview

Taking extra time to determine what and how to prepare for a virtual interview can significantly help job seekers and those who make regular media appearances. However, when COVID-19 first became a prevalent problem in the U.S., all TV interviews went entirely virtual. As we have adapted to this “new normal,” many broadcast interviews have continued to utilize Zoom, Skype, and other virtual platforms to maintain social distancing standards whenever possible. This change means that many interviews are conducted from home or an office, resulting in the rise of Twitter’s Room Rater, where the remote interview environment is critiqued. The account has nearly 355K followers, which is why preparation for an interview is so critical. If you’re skeptical, be sure to check out the @RoomRater feed – it’s a social media lesson that will quickly change your mind.

There are several tricks and tips for a great interview that anyone can follow, but for those prepping for their next virtual TV appearance, you’ll find these to be especially useful. Here we share some great ways to prepare for an interview and some essential tips to consider in order to look and sound your best.

How to Prepare for a Virtual Interview 

Find a Quiet Space

  • When preparing for a broadcast interview, make sure you find a quiet room where you can be alone – free from distractions.
  • Make sure there isn’t any background noise.
  • If you have small children, make sure they’re being supervised well away from your space, or you could end up going viral like Professor Robert Kelly

Good Lighting Is a Must 

    • For an impressionable virtual interview, make sure the room is well-lit with either natural or artificial light.
    • If it’s too bright, it can wash you out on camera. If it’s too dark, then you might not be visible to the viewers. 

Make Sure the Background Isn’t Distracting

  • If the wall behind you is heavily decorated or your surroundings appear cluttered, the audience may become distracted by your environment instead of listening to your message. (See @RoomRater)

Your Internet Connection is Critical 

  • Make sure your Internet connection is strong in the room where you will be conducting the interview.

Dress Appropriately and for Comfort

  • Even when virtual, it’s still important to look professional and put together. Wear a nice button-down shirt or blouse. If your company/organization has branded shirts, these can be a great option as well. The best part? As everyone jokes, pants are optional. Just be mindful of whichever route you chose (pants or pantless) when you go to stand up!
  • As you are preparing for your virtual interview, be sure to avoid wearing busy or loud jewelry as the mic could pick the sound up and distract from your interview. 
  • Remember, white or boldly patterned shirts are not a good choice. Choose solids or subtle patterns, and always avoid green, or you’ll risk being green-screened. It’s happened to many people, from news anchors and weather people to the Queen of England

Do a Test Run 

  • Virtual interviews can be nerve-wracking! If you’re nervous about using Skype, Zoom, or any other virtual video platform, there are many ways to prepare for an interview. Start with a test run before your real interview. 
  • Ask a colleague, friend, or family member to join you on the platform so you can get comfortable with the tool and understand all of its little quirks. Give your interview prep partner a list of potential questions and practice responding to them! You’ll get an extra boost of confidence by doing a mock interview.

Follow our mini-tutorial tips for ways to prepare for an interview, and you’ll be calm, cool, confident, and collected during your interviews and online meetings. If you’re going to appear in the media often, we recommend professional Media Training, which can teach you all the dos and don’ts and prepare you for virtually any situation. If you’d like to learn more, just give us a call or drop us an email!