16 Online Interview Tips for Successful Video Calls

Updated June 9, 2023

Many companies choose to conduct interviews online to make the process more efficient for both the employer and prospective employee. From remote positions to cost-effective first-round interviews, a potential employer may ask you to meet online for an initial discussion about a job. Knowing how to prepare for a virtual interview can give you confidence and help you prove your value as a job candidate during an online meeting. 

In this article, we provide online interview tips to aid you before, during and after a virtual call with a prospective employer. 

16 online interview tips

Preparation is a critical element for interviews. Consider following these steps to prepare effectively for your online interview:

1. Test the technology

Familiarize yourself with the necessary equipment and software before your interview appointment. Make sure that your microphone and speakers are working, and ensure your internet connection supports high-quality live video. You may also want to check and make sure you're using a professional screen name that interviewers can easily recognize.

2. Practice and prepare

After you've tested your equipment, it's a good idea to practice your interviewing technique. After you check technology with a friend or family member, ask them to practice interview questions over the video call. Practice responding to questions naturally and make sure you let the interviewer finish before speaking. Practice listening carefully and speaking clearly. The more you practice, the more confidence you build before the actual call.

Related: 11 Job Interview Tips for Teens

3. Consider your location

Before the scheduled interview time, select a location for your interview. Find a quiet room with minimal background noise and no distractions. Make sure you have adequate lighting (preferably natural) and that nothing is distracting behind you. Make sure your housemates know not to disturb you and shut any pets out of the room. A professional backdrop will show the interviewer you are serious about the interview and the job.

Related: Interview Types and Techniques To Ace Your Job Interview

4. Take notes

Keeping a notebook and pen next to your computer allows you to quickly write down important information during your interview. Writing down ideas throughout your interview shows your interviewer your engagement in the discussion. Taking notes also allows you to reference key points from your interview in a follow-up email or second interview

Related: 20 Common Interview Types and How To Succeed at Each

5. Get a resume ready

Consider printing out a copy of your resume to consult during the interview. Highlighting important dates or job responsibilities gives you a quick reference of points to discuss when an interviewer asks you a question. This also helps you gain insight into what employers find most important on your resume as you note areas of interest.

6. Prepare your own questions

Besides preparing answers to some common interview questions, it's also a good idea to prepare several questions of your own for a prospective employer. Ask the interviewer about job requirements or company values. You can also ask specific questions about their benefits package and salary amount. Asking questions that allow the interviewer to share additional information about what they expect from the ideal candidate can aid you in the next stage of interviewing.

Related: How To Ace Your Next Job Interview (With 14 Helpful Tips)

7. Start early

Just as you would in a face-to-face interview, get ready to start your interview before the actual time. Opening your online platform a few minutes before your interview shows professional courtesy and gives you time to fix problems with your technology. Although the interviewer may wait until the scheduled time to open the video call, showing you're ready to start can make a positive first impression on a hiring manager. 

8. Wear professional clothing

Although you may be conducting an online interview from your home, wearing professional attire can help you focus and give you confidence. Wearing comfortable, clean clothes and having your hair combed or pinned away from your face can make you feel more confident and allow you to communicate your experience and skills when meeting with an employer. Whether you're meeting with an interviewer online or in person, choose something that still reflects your personality and taste while maintaining your professionalism. 

Related: What To Wear to a Job Interview in the Winter

9. Practice active listening

To strengthen your interaction with hiring personnel, use active listening techniques to show your engagement in the conversation. As you interview, consider showing that you understand by indicating "yes" or "I understand" with an affirmative nod or word. Active listening also involves clearly processing what you hear and responding with thoughtful answers. 

Related: Interview Tips for Introverts (With Definition and Benefits)

10. Focus on your interviewer

Throughout the interview, keep your attention focused on the hiring manager by looking at the webcam instead of your video reflection. If you look away to take a note or glance at your resume, return your attention to the camera as soon as you're ready. This allows the interviewer to see your face as they would during an in-person interview. 

11. Have backup ready 

When you're preparing for an online interview, make sure you have backup equipment and resources available. For example, have a backup internet or hotspot, an extra device such as a laptop, tablet, or cell phone and a pair of headphones ready in case there's an issue with your main connection or devices. In such instances, you can use the backup resources to continue with the interview.

Related: Tips From a Recruiter: Mastering the Virtual Interview

12. Stretch or exercise before your video call

When you're preparing for an online interview, you may have the advantage of being in your home or private space before the meeting. This allows you the time and privacy to do some light exercise or stretch before the interview. Exerting some energy and getting some light activity before your video call can help you boost your confidence, calm your nerves and stay focused. 

13. Make sure you're prepared for the interviewer's questions

When you're getting ready for your online interview, you may want to memorize the questions a hiring manager may ask you based on the role and your prospective answers.  You can write all the interview questions with their respective answers, and practice them before you meet with an employer. You may also want to keep a hard copy of your resume available in case you want to reference it during your interview.

Related: Informational Interview Questions

14. Consider wearing earbuds

Tucking a tiny earbud into your ear can help you hear interviewers more clearly. These devices also provide less bulky sound amplification than a pair of regular headphones which may also prove distracting for interviewers. Practice speaking with your earbuds in to balance your volume.

15. Arrange for children and pets

Even if you're conducting the video interview from your home, it's a good idea to plan child or pet care to minimize distractions during your call. You may want to schedule at least an hour with your caregiver to allow yourself time to calm down and focus before an interview. If you ask the caregiver to come to your home, ask them to stay with your child or pet away from where you plan to interview. 

Related: Last-Minute Interview Tips

16. Send a follow-up

After your online interview, send an email to your interviewer thanking them for taking the time to meet with you. Mention what most excites you about the opportunity with a few details about what you learned during the call. If the interviewer asked you to include further documents or more information about your professional background, prepare your response quickly after you finish the interview and include a thank you note.

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