How to Create a Virtual Interview Cheat Sheet

Published: Dec 27, 2023

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Job interviews can be tough, especially if it’s your first time or if it’s been many years since your last one. Nowadays, many interviews take place over applications such as Zoom, which you can use to your advantage if you’re not totally comfortable talking about your resume and experience just yet. Here’s how you can put together a nice cheat sheet for a virtual interview.

The Company

First, create a section on your cheat sheet that includes key details about the company you’re interviewing with. The list should include the names of the executive leadership team, the company’s mission statement and values, its offerings, and perhaps a brief rundown of its history. Here, you may also include a couple reasons why you would like to work at the company.

With this information readily available, you should be able to answer any questions the interviewer asks about your interest in the company with relative ease. If you’re feeling particularly confident in your abilities, details about the company can also be woven into your conversation with the interviewer whenever its appropriate. Just make sure you do your best to come off as natural so you don’t seem like you’re shoehorning anything in.

Your Resume

It should come as no surprise that your resume will be a topic of conversation during a job interview. If you’re not entirely confident speaking about your work history, skills, and achievements, or you’re about to take on your very first interview, you can rely on your cheat sheet to get you out of a jam.

Rather than lifting bullet points straight from your resume, try creating miniature “stories” that you can tell during your interview. These stories should be short and concise, and should align with the role you’re applying for. For example, if you’re a software developer and you want to talk about a previous experience, you could try something along the lines of “At [Previous Company Name], I played a key role in developing a new customer-facing application using React.”

The same philosophy applies to soft skills. Let’s say you want to talk about your problem-solving skills. Here, you could try something like “At [Previous Company Name}, I led a problem-solving session where my team brainstormed solutions.” In this example, leadership qualities are also on display. If you are able to combine skills and achievements in this way, you will not only come off as confident, but you’ll also save precious space on your cheat sheet.

Questions and Answers

Next, put together a list of common questions and answers, along with any questions you might have for the interviewer. You can search common interview questions by industry to come up with some of your own, or check out our previous two-part blog for answers to some tricky questions you might face.

For your questions, try to think of what aspects of the company are most important to you. Are you curious about what a typical day looks like? Do you want to learn more about the company culture? Here are some sample questions to help get your started:

  • What are the KPIs for this role?
  • How does [Company Name] support career growth and advancement?
  • What opportunities are there for team-building and social interactions?
  • What are some examples of projects I might be working on?
  • What is the next step in the hiring process?

Of course, the questions above are only a starting point. Depending on your knowledge of the company and the industry you work in, your questions could look very different.

The Cheat Sheet

You might be wondering how all this information is supposed to fit on a small cheat sheet, but not to worry, as there are a few ways you can go about creating your cheat sheet. One of which is writing everything down on a piece of paper or typing up a Word document and printing it out. When using this method, you could hang the cheat sheet just above your computer monitor so it’s easy to maintain eye contact during your interview—just make sure you can read your cheat sheet.

Another way to accomplish this is to customize the window sizes on your virtual desktop in such a way that your cheat sheet is just above the Zoom window. Again, this will help you maintain eye contact throughout. Lastly, you could take post-it notes and hang them around your computer screen, but this method will take a bit more finesse when you’re juggling eye contact and looking for answers on your cheat sheet.

To save space, you can use shorthand to condense information about the company and your resume into easily-recognizable notes. Get as creative as you’d like, just make sure you understand your notes before you use them for the first time. Even when using a cheat sheet for a virtual interview, you may want to consider running some practice interviews to get comfortable talking about your resume.

Most importantly, your cheat sheet is best suited as a backup. Remember, you can look to your cheat sheet if you get stumped, but try not to rely upon it for each and every exchange during your interview. In certain cases, simply just having the cheat sheet available is enough to build confidence, and eventually you’ll find that you don’t need one at all.