Whether it’s for a job, a school, or an internship, interviews are an important process that everybody has to go through at some point. Thanks to COVID-19, the majority of interviews are now being held online. Should you prepare differently? What’s the etiquette like? Where should you sit?
Keep reading to find out seven things you must know to ace your virtual first impressions.
Having an organized workspace is a great place to start.
1. Test your technology.
One of my greatest fears when doing an online interview is that there will be a technology issue. It’s frustrating if you can’t hear the other person or if you’re frozen. To avoid as many issues as possible, test out your technology beforehand. Set up a call with a friend, check your internet connection, and make sure you have whatever app you’ll be calling on downloaded long before the actual call.
2. Pick a good location.
Find a spot with plenty of light, good internet connection, and a background that isn’t distracting. Your best bet is to try to find a blank wall to sit in front of. Don’t have your device on your lap. That is, firstly, a bad angle and, secondly, not very professional. If you can, set up a table, a tray, or even better, a desk.
Just like any interview, you need to prepare. Practice the usual interview questions. Maybe do this over video chat with a friend, so you get used to the format. Record yourself and watch it over for anything you want to correct. Print out your resume before the interview, so you can have it in front of you in case you need something to talk about. It’s also good to prepare a pen and paper to take notes on before the interview. I usually write down some questions beforehand so I’ll always have something to ask. It’s also crucial to do research on the company you’re interviewing for. You want to know what you’re applying for so that you’re on the same page as the interviewer.
4. Dress appropriately.
Because it’s on video, online interviews tend to feel more casual, but don’t let that fool you. You want to be as presentable as possible. If you dress the part, you’ll feel the part, and please, wear pants. You never know if you might have to get up, so it’s best to be prepared.
5. Be on-time.
Every video interview I’ve had so far has started exactly at the time it was scheduled for. To be ready for this, I normally set an alarm 2 minutes before the call, giving me just enough time to make sure the link to the call works, and that I’m there before the interviewer.
The reason I advised you to take physical notes on a pad of paper instead of directly on your computer is that it will look weird if you’re clicking around and not making eye contact during the interview. This is especially important if you’re doing a technical interview, so it looks like you’re not looking up answers. Body language is important. Use the video you can see of yourself to make sure your posture is good. It looks like you’re not paying attention if your eyes are on other things, so you should close all other tabs and windows. You don’t want any distractions during the interview. Additionally, you should silence your cell phone for both in-person and virtual interviews. Speaking can sometimes block out the other person’s audio, and there might be a delay, making it sound like you’re interrupting if you’re making sounds of agreement while they’re talking. Instead, nod and smile to show you’re engaged.
7. Follow up.
Finally, for any interview always follow up with a thank you within 24 hours. Use the notes you took to formulate an email that will reference back to things you talked about to really make yourself stand out. Good luck!
Have no fear. With these tips, you'll "zoom" your way to the top!
Message from the Empowerly team:
For more tips, seek out a college admissions professional!
Our counselors and enrollment team are available to help you along this journey, and will assist you in standing out among other strong applicants so you can stand above the rest. If this sounds good to you, book a consult with our team to discuss further!