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The Art of the Virtual Interview: How to Ace That Remote Job Interview


The shift to a remote working culture has transformed how we do job interviews. According to recent data, a whopping 82% of hiring managers conduct virtual interviews, and candidates have quickly adapted to this new norm.

However, excelling in a virtual interview requires specific skills and preparation. This guide explores strategies to help you ace virtual interviews, offering practical advice on communication techniques and more to land that job offer.

What Makes Virtual Interviews So Challenging? 

While the comfort of home is appealing, virtual interviews come with unique challenges, including:While sitting in the comfort of your own home is appealing, virtual interviews come with a host of challenges. Candidates struggle with the following, among other things: 

  1. Lack of Physical Presence: Without face-to-face interaction, it’s harder to make a connection with the interviewer. Non-verbal cues and body language are often lost, making vocal tone and clarity crucial
  2. Technical Issues: Poor internet connection or software glitches can disrupt the flow of the interview, adding stress and potentially affecting performance. Even without issues, candidates worry about being rejected for the position if their internet fails.
  3. Managing the Environment: Controlling your surroundings to minimize distractions and present a professional backdrop is essential. If this isn’t possible at home, consider a quiet park or café.
  4. Enhanced Focus on Communication Skills: When you’re not physically present, you have to be articulate and expressive. Without practice, it’s easy to stumble over words and forget key points.

Tips & Techniques For A Successful Virtual Interview

Before we get into the nitty gritty, it’s important to emphasize that every candidate is different. While a cold shower before an interview works wonders for some, others may need to go for a walk. Every candidate is different, so find what works best for you. Here are some universal tips.

Create The Perfect Virtual Interview Environment

Creating an ideal virtual interview environment is essential. Choose a a quiet, well-lit room where you won’t be interrupted. Ensure that your background is clean and uncluttered, or use a neutral virtual background on platforms like Zoom or Google Meet. Position your camera at eye level to simulate face-to-face interaction, and test your lighting to ensure your face is clearly visible.

Check your internet connection, microphone, and webcam to avoid technical issues. Have necessary documents, such as your resume and notes, easily accessible but out of the camera’s view.

This sort of prep only takes a couple minutes, but will ensure a smooth and productive interview. 

Practice Your Delivery

Practicing your delivery is crucial. Start by recording yourself answering common interview questions. This allows you to evaluate your tone, clarity, and body language. Maintain eye contact with the webcam and use expressive gestures to convey confidence and enthusiasm. Practice speaking at a steady pace, avoiding filler words like “um” and “like.” Aim for 150-160 words per minute, which is ideal for conversation.

Follow the “Quark rule,” popularized by Google CFO Ruth Porat, where you explain complex concepts concisely. Porat had worked with physicists, whom she challenged in interviews to explain what a quark is in 30 seconds or less. While you may not be discussing physics, short, clear explanations are powerful tools.

Additionally, rehearse your responses to potential follow-up questions to ensure you can think on your feet. Even for complex subjects, with practice, you should be able to deliver high-quality, concise answers.

Prepare For Curveball Questioning

Curveball questions are designed to test your problem-solving abilities and how you handle unexpected challenges. To prepare, familiarize yourself with common types, such as hypothetical scenarios, brainteasers, and behavioral questions. Practice your responses by thinking out loud and explaining your thought process.

Stay calm when faced with an unexpected question. Take a moment to gather your thoughts before responding. Don’t get too into the weeds in your answers. Instead, focus on showcasing your analytical skills and structured approach to problem-solving. After all, you’re not just telling a story—you’re selling yourself. 

Treat It as if You’re Interviewing Them

Approach the interview with the mindset that you are also evaluating the company. Prepare insightful questions about the company culture, team dynamics, and growth opportunities. This shows genuine interest and helps you determine if the company is the right fit.

Start the conversation by asking about the challenges the team faces and how your role would help overcome them. This approach can reveal a lot about potential professional development and advancement opportunities.

Conclusion: Turning Virtual Interviews into Opportunities

Virtual interviews offer many advantages, especially convenience, but they can be challenging for those new to remote environments. 

Fortunately, with easy-to-follow notes, practice, and preparation, you can excel. Remember to rehearse, get enough sleep, and turn the tables on the interviewer by asking insightful questions.

Let Lensa help you find and land your (next) dream job! Start your search on today.

Picture of Russel Ridgeway
Russel Ridgeway
Russell Ridgeway is an American writer based in Budapest, Hungary. He writes in business, tech, and fashion, as well as creative fiction. You can reach him by email, or on LinkedIn and other social media platforms.

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