Virtual Interviews: Talking to a Screen

Danielle Sanchez

Major production companies get thousands of applications for their incredible internship opportunities, which means someone has to look through all of them and select who should move on to the next round: the interview. Many of these companies have decided to get to know candidates through pre-filmed interviews. These commonly include timed verbal and sometimes written responses. Talking to a screen with no one to build an authentic conversation with is difficult, especially when trying to make a good impression on whoever will be watching your interview. This article contains some things I’ve learned while completing pre-filmed interviews with NBCUniversal.

1. Know the Virtual Interview Platform

There are many different virtual platforms used to conduct pre-taped interviews. Whatever the forum might be, look it up, read about it, and take a look at it on your own before clicking the link and entering the interview process. Make sure to find out how many chances that website usually gives and what the page set-up is like. The most common platform I have come across is, which consists of both recorded and typed interview options. It is simple to use and provides practice questions that pertain to the type of interview you will be completing.

Image via Greenhouse

2. Utilize Interview Stream

Interview Stream is a platform often used by college career centers to help students practice their interviewing skills, and better yet, you’re talking into a camera, just like the real interview! Whether you are on campus this semester or not, your college probably has some kind of career center with resources either in-person or online. Interview Stream has a wide selection of practice interviews, from medical school applications to general “get to know you” interviews. Afterward, you can privately share your interview with others, and they can provide feedback in the comments section.

3. Research the Company and Common Interview Questions

Without the natural flow of conversation, being prepared to answer questions in a designated amount of time is essential. Research the company and the position you applied for before starting the interview, write down any questions you might be asked, and prepare your potential answers. Having a split-screen of the video and your notes is not a bad idea, but ensure you’re not reading off your notes, or the reflection can be seen in your glasses. allows people who have previously interviewed at companies to rate their experience and document the questions they were asked. There is a high chance you will find honest accounts of what interviews at individual companies were like and what questions you can be expected to answer.


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4. Always Take the Practice Interviews

Most virtual interview websites allow you to practice an infinite number of times before conducting the real interview. Always take advantage of this. More often than not, these questions are either identical or extremely close to the questions you will be asked during the real thing, and it is a perfect opportunity to practice. It also helps you get acquainted with the program, see how much time is usually offered for reading and answering questions, and rectify any camera or microphone issues. It not only will help you prepare, but it will give you more confidence going into the real thing.

5. Set Redo Boundaries

When conducting pre-taped interviews, you cannot laugh off a siren in the background or take a moment to collect your thoughts if you misspeak. You are not talking to a real person, and therefore these usual aspects of conversation are lost without an interviewer. You only have a brief period to answer each question, and the timer won’t stop for construction outside your window. Unfortunately, most interview platforms will allow only one redo of either the entire interview or each question and not allow you to pick between your attempts; when you redo a question, you must go with it. It is essential to know what the redo process is beforehand and decide what will constitute a redo and what is not worth the risk.

Image via Lifeword

With many remote classes since the COVID-19 pandemic, we are way more equipped and accustomed to working virtually. This past year and the skills above should help you nail any interview you will face. Now smile. It’s almost time for your close-up.

Danielle Sanchez
Danielle is a rising Senior at LaFayette College majoring in Film & Media Studies and English with a concentration in writing.
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