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How to Prepare for a Digital Interview

Erin Iafelice

If you’re looking for a new job this year, at some point soon, you may be asked to do a digital interview. Here’s what you can do to increase your chances of turning that interview into a job offer. 

What’s so different about interviewing virtually? It isn’t that much. Digital interviewing technology has advanced to the point where it’s nearly the same as meeting in person. And, in this everything-virtual world we’re in right now, most of us have had experience with connecting online. Still, there are a few differences to note. Digital interviews that are on-demand or asynchronous aren’t completed with a live interviewer. You’ll receive pre-recorded questions and record your responses via the interviewing technology. Some employers allow candidates to have a few tries at recording their answers in on-demand video interviews; others don’t. With live digital interviews, you may interview with a panel rather than just one member of a hiring team. Some digital interviews are audio-only, like a traditional telephone interview, but candidates can connect through the interviewing technology.

Questions to expect in a digital interview

The good news is you aren’t so likely to get questions like, “If you were a flavor of ice cream, which one would you be?” any longer. Off-topic questions like this are fading away, thanks to Talent Board, which has surveyed hundreds of thousands of job candidates over the last several years to find out what job seekers think makes a good hiring experience. Hiring teams have heard loud and clear that job-relevant questions and assessments are what candidates prefer.

You can expect most of the following standard questions in your digital interview or some variant. The purpose of any interview, digital or onsite, is for the hiring team to know you.

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses in your work?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • Why are you interested in working here?
  • How do you handle conflict in the workplace?
  • Describe how you overcame a difficult work situation.
  • Where would you like to be in five years?
  • When can you start?

Another question that’s become common in recent times is, “Do you prefer to work remotely or on-premise?” 

The best favor you can do for yourself is to practice your answers diligently in advance. The goal isn’t memorizing responses word for word – that would come across as very rehearsed during the digital interview. You aim to know the material you want to cover thoroughly, so you can answer smoothly and project confidence. Two additional benefits of the practice: Your answers will be more concise, and you avoid that regret of thinking of a better response after the interview is over. For some idea-starters on strong responses, simply Google the keywords common interview questions

Interview like a pro

Here are some strategies for completing a very polished digital interview.

  • If this is your first digital interview, take advantage of any orientation or early entry to become familiar with the technology. You can also ask for details in advance, such as the name and title of your interviewer(s) and the interview’s expected length. Getting these details in advance minimizes surprises.
  • Digital interviews are a give-and-take of information for you and the employer. Your interviewers will expect you to have questions for them. Plan some as you are doing your research about the employer, so you aren’t spending your time asking questions already answered in public information. Here are a few suggestions:
    • What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this role?
    • Will I receive on-the-job training? What learning opportunities are available?
    • How does this role support or fit with the company’s goals?
    • What are some challenges that might come up in this role?
    • What do employees find motivating about working here?
    • Do you have questions or concerns about my qualifications?
    • What should I expect next in your hiring process?

Be sure you follow up the digital interview with a personal email thanking your interviewer(s) for the opportunity. You can also use it to reinforce your interest in the job.

There are a few more aspects to digital interviews to keep in mind. As you are working on your questions for the interviewer, write up a few for company leadership or a potential co-worker. Digital interviews make it easy for others in the company to drop in for a few minutes to meet you, and you want to take advantage of those opportunities too to ask questions.

Finally, dress professionally and choose an appropriate setting or background. Though it’s become the norm with so much remote work to dress casually and have pets or children stop by during virtual meetings, you want to make a strong impression that you mean business in your digital interview. Remember to silence notifications on your mobile, and put it out of sight if you are not using it for the digital interview. You want your interviewers focused on you as the best candidate for the job.