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Woman preparing for a virtual interview

The Virtual Interview: 5 Ways to be the Obvious Choice

This is a guest article by Stephanie Bickel of Speak by Design.

Are you prepared if a hiring manager reaches out to schedule a virtual interview? Can you ace it? Many applicants are not ready for this. Virtual interviews are becoming a more popular process, not only because of the Covid-19. It also helps managers narrow down their talent pool quickly as well as reduce costs.

It is easy to stand out virtually if you prepare. You want to stand out in every way. You should be the obvious choice because of what they see and hear over video. The more organized you are in your space and in your messaging, the more they will trust you. Here are the interview tips that will give you an edge in your next virtual interview.

1. Design Your Set

Turn your workspace into a beautiful studio that will instantly be inviting and spark conversation. Ensure the background is such that you are still the focal point. There should be no clutter.


Ensure there is enough light in the room. Positioning yourself near a window can help. You can also have a few objects to act as conversation starters.


Be sure to turn off all buzzers, email notifications, and other sounds that could detract from the experience. If you are comfortable investing, a laptop stand and high resolution camera really help. High resolution cameras can make it feel like you are together in the same room.

2. Dress Formal

Other candidates will dress casually in their homes with Corona beards, t-shirts, and hoodies. Not you. Signal sharpness with geometric shaped accessories for women and collared shirts for men. Treat the virtual interview as though it’s a physical one.

Professional attire not only makes you appear confident but also prepared. Similarly, avoid any overpowering patterns or distracting nail polish and glossy lips. This ensures that you remain the focus and not your attire.

3. Prepare Your Content

Answer common interview questions with uncommon approaches. For instance, in responding to “tell me about yourself,” have a 3-minute description ready that includes the most interesting aspects about you.

Start by making the answer personal and end with an insight on their business opportunities. Share something personal to build a relationship and a memory with the interviewer.

Prepare a success story from your previous place of work. Make sure it highlights your key personality attributes, like high initiative, humility, and the ability to be a team player.

Always be ready for a question on challenges at the workplace. This is your time to shine. Prepare a nice war story showing personal growth, lessons learned, and the ability to overcome adversity.

4. Show Expertise - Be a Futurist

Prepare a picture of the future that shows your profound knowledge in the field you are in and is positive. Give some industry insights to expound on specific questions. For instance, explain the market trends for the future. What aspects should the company focus on at the moment to have the edge over competitors? These insights immediately show how you will bring value to the company.

Tell the hiring manager the problems you can solve and how. You can only do this if you have done your homework on the company operations, customer trends, and their recent news.

5. Articulate your Value

This is what sets you apart from the rest. Articulating the value you will create is key to landing the job. What revenue streams will you help them grow? How can you help them protect cash or prepare for a big strategic move? Will you help them expand new service offerings?

If your value cannot be measured with math, articulate the qualitative impact. How will life for them be better with you around? Make the salary that you are asking for be a tenth of the value you will bring. If you can demonstrate that kind of value, you will get an offer immediately.

Bottom Line

Ultimately, the aspect that matters most in acing a virtual interview is preparation. How you prepare through your dressing, communication about your value will determine if you get the job or not. Always remember preparation is key.

Author Bio

Stephanie is the Founder and CEO of Speak by Design.  She created the Lead by Design methodology for all Speak by Design programming.  She recently launched Speak by Design University to help sustain the impact from their programs. Speak by Design has deep expertise launching new CEOs, coaching TED talks, preparing management team presentations to investors, and helping Sales professionals win new business.  

Their signature courses include: Presence, Presenting with Impact, Storylining, High Impact Meetings, 360 Leadership Communication, Handling Difficult Situations, and Trusted Advisor Training. Speak by Design help people become consistently compelling forces for their organizations. www.speakbydesign.com

Need more tips on enhancing your personal presence and communication skills?

See courses available from Stephanie and the rest of the Speak by Design Team and get in touch to find out how they can help you reach your goals!

Learn more

Last updated: 05 Aug 2020

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