Virtual and phone interviews

Written by: UCAS
Published on: 24 Feb 2021

You might be in your home surrounded by your belongings, and possibly pets or kids, but it’s important to treat a virtual or phone  interview as if it’s taking place face-to-face.

Being prepared and doing your research is key to any successful interview, but there are some particular things to think about if you’re being interviewed by phone or video. 

Top tips for virtual and phone interviews

  • Make sure your settings are all working before the interview. If you’re having a video interview, try making make a test call with a friend or family member to check your microphone and camera – you don’t want any embarrassing video filters turned on! If it’s a phone interview, check it’s taking calls properly.
  • If you’re having a video interview, remember to unmute your microphone, and make sure your video camera is turned on!
  • Find somewhere suitable to sit where you won’t be disturbed and you have a good WiFi connection, if needed.
  • Check what’s behind you for a video interview – you want your background to be giving the right impression!
  • Turn your phone notifications off – you don’t want any distractions to make you lose focus. 
  • Dress smartly, the same as you would for a face-to-face interview – it will help you feel professional and get in the right mindset. And no pyjama bottoms, in case you need to stand up for any reason!
  • Start the interview sounding friendly and positive – thank the interviewer for seeing you and introduce yourself.
  • Listen to the interviewer’s questions and wait until they’ve finished before you start giving your answer. It’s easy to talk over each other online or on the phone, and conversations get garbled, ending up with you both having to repeat what you said. 
  • Have the job details nearby so you can refer to them and sound informed about the role you’ve applied for. 
  • Smile, even in a phone interview! You’ll sound more confident and enthusiastic, and it’ll help you relax.
  • Be aware of your body language – try not to fidget, sit up straight, and take some deep breaths – this can really calm your nerves and help you feel more confident. 
  • Keep some notes nearby to use as a prompt if you need them! This could include questions to ask the interviewer so you don’t have to reply on remembering them.
  • You want to make a lasting impression – at the end, thank the interviewer for their time, make sure all your questions have been answered, restate your interest in the job, and ask if there’s anything more they need from you.