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How to answer questions in a virtual interview

Virtual interviews can be particularly tricky. Not only do you have to deal with the usual interview jitters, but you also have to deal with technical issues, background noise, and potential connectivity problems. It can be difficult to make a good impression under these circumstances, but it's possible to avoid red flags and win them over when you know how to prepare for an online interview.

Here are some tips to help you improve your answers to questions in your next virtual job interview.

Before we take a closer look at the common questions you may be asked in an interview, you need to know about online interview preparation.

  • Make sure you have a reliable and fast internet connection
  • Conduct the interview from a laptop or desktop computer rather than a phone, as this will appear more professional
  • Wear headphones to ensure you can hear the interview questions
  • Practice using the tools or software the interviewer will use in advance
  • Place a light source in front of you – this can be natural light from a window or lamp.
  • Turn off notifications
  • Find a quiet place to conduct the virtual interview
  • Place the webcam at eye level, so the interviewer feels like you are talking to them

Read more here to learn about video interview tips for candidates.

Online interview questions and answers

Q: What inspired you to enter this profession?

The interviewer wants to be sure you are happy with your work and committed to the company for the long term.

How to answer it: It is always impressive to an interviewer to say that you have been interested in your chosen profession from a young age. This shows that you are passionate about your work and have put in a lot of time and effort to learn about it. Perhaps a teacher encouraged you to choose that field, or you read a book that made you want to pursue the same occupation. Whatever the case may be, make sure you mention the primary source of your motivation for your chosen career path.

Q: Do you prefer to work in a team or alone?

When interviewers ask you about your ability to work in a team or independently, they want to see if you are comfortable working either way. There is no wrong answer, but some answers may be more appropriate depending on the type of role you are seeking.

How to answer it: The worst way to answer this question is to pick a side. The employer wants someone outgoing because that helps with meetings, morale, and projects. Likewise, an employer may require you to work unsupervised and show some initiative to meet deadlines. Avoid saying “I prefer”, “I can’t”, or explaining why you don’t like working a certain way. Instead, try to use positive language that shows your willingness to work collaboratively and independently, depending on the situation.

Q: What are your salary expectations?

The way you answer this question can give the hiring manager an indication of whether you are over- or under-qualified for the job. Your salary expectations are usually consistent with your years of experience, so the recruiter can use this information to determine if you fit their ideal candidate profile.

How to answer it: Offer a salary range (based on salary data you have previously researched) with some options for negotiation. Talk about your openness to benefits such as working from home, vacation time, bonuses, or tuition reimbursement.

Q: Why did you apply for this position?

The employer is looking for an enthusiastic and motivated person for this position. Your answer will help them understand why you applied for the job and what attracts you to this opportunity.

How to answer it: Focus on the new position’s opportunities rather than any concerns you have about your current job or company. Keeping the conversation positive will make you appear confident and professional.

Find more sample answers to interview questions

A virtual interview can be a brief screening where the above questions may be asked. If it’s an interview for a job you have already been shortlisted for, you may be asked many more detailed questions to test your leadership, analytical skills, etc. Workable has prepared guides for many of them – check them out here to help you further in your online job interview preparation.

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