I did my first online interview last week and I’ve discovered some important virtual interview tips and questions from the experience that can help you!

If you don’t want to look like an absolute newbie when you get asked to do a virtual interview or you decide to do online, phone or in person interviews to grow your list, you will want to read this!

My first virtual interview was with Joe Young from JoesephJYoung.com and was a fantastic experience!  I have done a some interviews on the local news, but doing a virtual interview was a completely different experience and one that came with a little bit of a learning curve.

Here are some tips for you if you have the opportunity to be interviewed, or the opportunity to interview someone else.  I’ve also included several virtual interview questions for you in this post too, so you can jump into doing interviews for your business!

Virtual Interview Tips:

1. Make your guest comfortable:

I am so lucky to have my first virtual interview be with Joe!  He’s an amazing guy, kind to the core, let me tell you, and I really enjoyed the experience!  He was the perfect host and made me very comfortable throughout the whole experience.

2. Getting the appointment for a virtual interview:

It started off simple with a message in Facebook from Joe asking me if I would consider doing an interview with him.  Prior to that we were introduced to each other via the Unified Tribe and he’d commented on some of my updates, blog posts, etc.  I knew who he was and I already liked what I knew about him, so obviously I’m going to read and respond to his email.

Joe shared how he would promote the video to get exposure, why he was doing a series of videos with other marketers, and what would be asked of me.  Most importantly, he shared how doing an interview with him would benefit me with extra traffic, exposure, experience, etc.

3. Be flexible with your schedule:

Initially you will want to set the appointment at the convenience of your guest!  If that means doing an interview at midnight because of the time difference than do it.

Joe and I set the date for our interview and I was really looking forward to it, but then I had to reschedule because my motherboard crashed and I didn’t have a web-cam on our old computer.  Joe was totally understanding and flexible, but still followed up and set a new date.

4. Be prepared with interview questions ahead of time and stay focused during the interview:

Joe sent me a list of interview questions he’d be asking me a few hours before the virtual interview so could glance at them and gather my thoughts.  (The email contained a link to oovoo where the video was created.)

Remember to ask open ended questions that are easy for your guest to answer. You don’t want to stump them with a tricky question.  That would be rude, unprofessional, and wouldn’t make for a good interview on either end.  You both will want the interview to go well and it’s your job as the interviewer to make your guest look good!

Also remember to have more interview questions than you think you will need.  Chances are if it’s a great interview you will run out of time before you are done talking, but in the event your interviewee doesn’t over-deliver on your virtual interview, have some extra questions to fill up the time.

And remember to focus 100% on what they are saying. Have a pen and paper to take notes if you need to.

5. Plan for the unexpected to happen during your virtual interview:

Aside from having to reschedule when the time of our interview arrived I had trouble logging in and then trouble getting any sound.  Joe was very helpful and offered some suggestions.  It turned out that I had to close down oovoo and then click the link to log into our interview again.  That solved some of the video issues, but he still couldn’t hear me.  This was due to something with my computer, but we eventually figured it out when I plugged in my mic from my headset.

Just as he started the recording the sound on his end started to fade in and out.  You will see this on the beginning of the interview.  Once again, Joe was totally professional, we experimented and the whole time he made me feel comfortable, joking and laughing about the technical challenges we were having.

6. Have fun and relax:

While we were having our technical challenges, just as we started recording the virtual interview, Joe was laughing and making jokes which totally set the stage for us both having fun in the interview.  I was much more relaxed than I might have been if he was stressed out and flustered trying to solve the technical problems.

7. Camera tips

Look at the webcam and not your computer screen.  I’ve seen some other interviews and videos on youtube where the person’s eyes are not quite looking at the lens and it’s a little weird.  Kind of when the voice and sound doesn’t line up with the actor’s mouth when you’re watching a movie. LOL   I recommend that you look at the lens and try to remember to blink now and again, but not constantly. :)

Set your laptop on a stack of books.  This is just a personal preference, and maybe it’s because I’m just self conscious, but I always feel like the webcam is looking straight up my nose and that I look heavier when it’s looking up at me. Plus I want people looking at my eyes, so I set my laptop on a pile of books so that the webcam lens was just above my line of vision.

8. Remember to pause:

Remember there is a delay between the two computers.  There were a few times when I felt like I was interrupting because I wasn’t accounting for the delay between the sound.  So sorry, Joe.

9. Go potty first and have a drink of water available!

While I didn’t need it, I felt good having a drink of water near by in case my voice got a little rough.  Because I was relaxed and having a great time, I didn’t even think of it, but I’ve been on conference calls or interviews where the interviewee gets a dry throat and a glass of water is an essential tool to keep handy.

And I am trying to potty train my son, so maybe it’s on my mind, but please go potty first. You don’t want to sit there wiggling and squirming!  (Any squirming you see me doing in the video was when I was petting the dog.)

10.Tell them how they can get more information!

If the interview is good your viewers are going to want to get more information.  At the end of the interview, let your viewers know how to learn more about the person you’re interviewing. You can share their web address, and if they have a product for sale talk about it.

Virtual Interview Questions:

If you’re going to do a phone, in person, or virtual interview with someone you will want to be prepared with some great interview questions.

  • Introduction: check out their blog, website, about me page, social media profiles, or ask them for a profile so you can give a little bit of background on them as you introduce them.
  • Ask them to tell you a little bit about themselves, what they’re passionate about, etc.
  • Ask them their top 3 tips for _____________.
  • Get them to expand on one of the tips.
  • Ask them about the mistakes they have made or the mistakes they see other people making.
  • Ask them what was the best piece of advice they’ve received regarding ___________.
  • If they were to start over, what would they do first?
  • What excites them most about _____________.
  • Ask them about their favorite mentors, authors, etc.
  • In closing ask them how people can follow up with them and if there is anything they would like to add…

Don’t over-think your interview questions.  Brainstorm a bunch of things you want to know about them, and a little research on Google ahead of time will help you make that easier.