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BY petevanepps

Sample Conversational Virtual Interview

Recently we completed our first “virtual” Career Conference (you can read more about it here.) Almost all of the interviews at the Conference were conducted over a video teleconference platform (Zoom, Cisco WebEx, MS Team, etc.)

In preparation for the Conference, my colleague Joel Junker and I created a sample conversational virtual interview to give a better idea of what an actual interview might look like (here). In this scenario, I was the hiring manager interviewing Joel. We did not rehearse prior to the call and I did not send him the questions I planned on asking ahead of time. We simply agreed on a time and I sent him the Company Information Sheet containing information about the company, job, hiring manager, location, salary and benefits. So, this was completely unscripted so that the JMOs attending the Conference could get a good feel for how the interviews might go. Here are a couple of key takeaways from the call:

Have a Conversation

Joel and I had a conversation.  He worked to build rapport with me by listening to what I was saying and either asking a question, connecting his experience or demonstrating his interest. It was natural. He was present and in the moment. He was not preoccupied with thinking about what he’d say next or delivering a perfectly scripted answer.  For most people, having a conversation is natural; having a conversational interview is not. We encourage you to engage in a Study Group to practice not only interviewing, but having a conversational interview.


I am sure you have heard it before, but is true – in an interview, Always Be Closing and Connecting. Before our virtual interview, Joel studied the job description and the company information. During the interview, notice how he was deliberate about expressing interest and making experience connections. We often encourage officers to put themselves in the job. What we mean by that is imagine yourself in the environment, with the team and doing the type of work described in the job description. When Joel brought up his Army experience, he did it through the lens of the position for which he was interviewing.

Professional Background & Appearance

When conducting a virtual interview, ensure that your background is professional. A neat and tidy background goes a long way to demonstrate that you are serious and prepared for the interview. Avoid having clutter and make your background inconspicuous. You don’t want to have your dishwasher, bed or pets in the background. Make sure that your head is toward the top of the frame and that your camera is at eye level.

Here are a few candidate testimonials from the April 2020 Conference.