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Virtual Interviews: Five Tips for Excelling Through the Screen

December 01, 2022

From the Winter 2022/23 issue of New Jersey CPA magazine

By Nicole Garcia, Traphagen CPAs & Wealth Advisors

Job interviews can be intimidating, but virtual interviews can often be even more intimidating. Many employers have transitioned to virtual recruiting and interview processes. While this has many benefits for both parties, it opens the door to some possible complications or challenges. You should enter a virtual interview with the same mentality as you would for an in-person interview. Consider the following tips for navigating a virtual interview:

Choose an Appropriate Workspace

Making a good first impression is essential when interviewing. In order to do so during a virtual interview, it is important to set yourself up for success.

  • Ensure the area you’ll be using to take the interview has appropriate lighting and is clean, quiet and free from distractions.
  • No loud pictures or wall art, piles of papers, open windows or distracting noises such as cellphones, children or other adults, televisions or music should be present in your interview space.
  • If you don’t have an appropriate workspace at home, try a local library, university or communal workspace that offers private spaces.

Test All Electronics  

One of the added components of a virtual interview is making sure all of your electronic devices are working properly.

  • Make sure your speakers, microphone, camera and computer are working properly the day before the interview as well as a few hours before the interview.
  • Be familiar with the video software and have an account properly set up, if applicable.
  • Ensure access to reliable WiFi.
  • Don’t rely on your laptop’s battery power; use a power cord.

Dress to Impress

Although the interviewer may only see you from your chest up, it is important to dress professionally from head to toe. Dress as if you were going to an in-person interview. Presenting yourself in a polished and professional manner will not only project a business intent but will also help you feel more confident.

Present Yourself as You Would in Person  

Sometimes maintaining professional mannerisms and body language can be difficult in the comfort of your own home. However, maintaining good posture and eye contact with the camera shows the interviewer that you are giving them your undivided attention and fosters a better connection. You can also show that you are engaged in the conversation by giving a slight head nod or asking clarifying questions to reassure the interviewer that you are absorbing the information they are presenting.

Be Prepared  

Regardless of the format, you should always come to an interview well versed on your resume, the company you are interviewing with and the position you are applying for. Log into the meeting at least 10 minutes prior to the start. This shows the interviewer that you respect their time and understand the importance of being punctual. Prior to the interview, spend some time researching the company, their values, their culture and their leadership team. You should also come to the interview ready to answer questions about your skills set and prior work experience. In addition, be prepared with questions for the interviewer; this is your time to truly learn about the position and their expecta­tions and show that you are interested and enthusiastic about their company.

Interviews can be overwhelming at times, but regardless of the format, try to relax, be yourself and let your personality and professionalism come through the screen. By implementing these tips, you will be in a position to establish a strong connection to achieve your goal: an offer from a quality company!


Nicole Garcia is an accountant at Traphagen CPAs & Wealth Advisors. She is a member of several NJCPA interest groups and can be reached at