A Panther’s Guide to Nailing Virtual Interviews Follow these tips to ace that interview no matter where you are!
October 22, 2020
With the rise of Covid-19, Zoom and other forms of virtual interviews have become the new medium for the interviewing process. Many employers and educational institutions have switched from in-person interviews to phone and Zoom interviews. Although the process has changed, it does not mean that you are less likely to secure that job! Today, I would like to tell you all about how you can land a job in the virtual world.
BEFORE YOUR INTERVIEW
Research in advance
A great reason to conduct research before your interview is to help you prepare questions for the end of the interview. Showing that you did your research on the company by asking questions and raising topics that were not brought up during the interview is a great way to show genuine interest in the company!
Research could be the single thing that gets you your next job. Looking into the company’s culture and values, looking at recent news regarding the company, and going the extra mile to find information is vital during any kind of interview.
One way to research your company is to find them on Handshake using your Chapman email and password to check out their profile. Here, you can also read reviews from fellow peers about their experience with the company. Sometimes there will be someone who had the same role as you and can give you some insights on what the job entails. If you found the job through Handshake, look at the job description, and connect your past job roles to the description online.
If you didn’t find your job through Handshake, you can still do this by going to the source of the job posting and looking at the description there. You can further your research by going to the company’s LinkedIn profile and learning more about who they are and what they do. This will definitely give you an advantage in the interview.
To gather even MORE information, head to the company’s website, and don’t forget to check out Vault. Vault is a great place to learn more about a company’s environment and it can give you some insight into working with a specific company.
Use a computer
It is very important that you use a laptop or desktop computer for the interview instead of your phone. Using a laptop or desktop helps keep the camera stable and gives the interviewer a better view of yourself. It may not be a good idea to use your phone in this case. If you do not have a laptop or desktop, consider asking a friend or family member to borrow one for a short period of time.
Update any required programs
Before you begin your virtual interview, make sure you have all of the needed software loaded and updated all required programs, such as Zoom. Once you have done so, it is a good idea to have a test call with a friend to make sure the update is successful and everything will go smoothly for the interview.
Check your Wi-Fi connection
Before you begin your interview, make sure that the Wi-Fi connection is strong and stable. It must be strong enough to hold a Zoom call. To make sure your Wi-Fi is ready for the interview, you can Zoom call a friend or family member to check that your Wi-Fi connection doesn’t get in the way.
Be prepared to share work
Even though we are in a virtual environment, it is still possible that the interviewer may ask to see your portfolio. Make sure that your portfolio is ready and that you are ready to share your screen if the opportunity comes up.
Have an appropriate background
Fast fast! Facing a window with lots of light is a great way to add light and it lets employers see you clearly.
The best background is one that is free of distractions. If you are unsure about your background, we recommend a plain background with no additional distractions, such as clutter. If you are unable to find a clean and quiet environment, free of all distractions, it is appropriate to have items in the background, just make sure they are professional items only, such as desk supplies.
It is also important to communicate with your household to make sure no one will be walking behind you or making noises during the interview. To further limit noise, you can also close all windows, doors and turn off any television or music in the background.
In addition to having a clean and quiet environment, we recommend finding a room that is brightly-lit. Facing a window with lots of light is a great way to add light and it lets employers see you clearly. Having a window behind you can cast a shadow and make it difficult to see you.
Dress for success
Reminder: Wearing clothes that make you feel positive can help boost your overall confidence during the interview!
Although we may be participating in interviews in the comfort of our own home, that does not mean we should dress with comfort in mind. It is important to still dress in professional attire- the same attire you would wear to a traditional interview. Consider a blouse, button-up shirt, formal dresses, or dress pants, and make sure you’re groomed appropriately for the interview.
If you would like, you may only need to dress up the upper half of your body, but I recommend you dress up the same way you would for a traditional interview. You never know if you may need to show your entire attire to the interviewer.
Silence all your devices
Just like in a normal in-person interview, you wouldn’t want somebody calling you halfway through the interview, interrupting the process, and you shouldn’t be on your phone when the interviewer is present. The same rules apply to virtual interviews. To best assure that your phone won’t be a distraction, put it on Do Not Disturb and put it in a place where you cannot access it easily. If your computer is connected to your phone and gets the same notifications, it would be best to put your computer on Do Not Disturb as well. This way, your attention can be directed at the interviewer, rather than incoming texts and calls!
Show up on time
In a normal interview setting, it is recommended that you show up at least 15 minutes early to the interview. In the case of virtual interviews, you don’t need to show up 15 minutes early, but don’t show up too late either. We recommend that you join the video chat 1-2 minutes early. This means you may need to prepare with the Zoom code or link about 5 minutes before in order to join the video chat on time.
DURING YOUR INTERVIEW
Use appropriate body language
During your interview, make sure you are sitting up straight, with your feet on the floor and your hands in your lap. Make sure you’re not slouching or showing disinterest in the conversation.
Make “eye contact” with the camera
In all interview settings, eye contact is one of the most important things you could do during an interview. It helps with attentiveness and connection with the employer. It also shows your confidence to the employer.
In a virtual setting, to help you maintain eye contact while you’re talking, you can place something near the webcam to remind yourself to look directly into the camera, such as googly eyes. Looking at the screen rather than the webcam can hinder the overall connection with the employer. Make sure you are still maintaining eye contact during your virtual interviews!
Use the mute button when not speaking
In case there are loud distractions in the background, like construction across the street or a dog barking, use your mute button when you aren’t speaking. This helps the interviewer focus on what they’re saying when speaking rather than the noise coming from your end.
Stay engaged throughout the interview
A great way to show you are continuously engaged in the conversation is to practice active listening. This includes nodding your head when they’re talking and asking clarifying questions.
Another great way to show you are engaged is to actively take handwritten notes. These notes can include your overall takeaways from the interview, as well as questions to ask at the end of the interview.
AFTER YOUR INTERVIEW
Engage further with the interviewer
It is always important to remember that your interaction with the interviewer does not end with the interview. The interviewer is likely meeting with multiple applicants and it’s important to keep your name relevant. To do this, you can find the employer on LinkedIn or Handshake, and you can send them a quick message reminding them about who you are and how they know you, within 24 hours.
Try something like this:
Hi [Interviewer’s First Name],
I hope your day is going well! I interviewed for the [job title] position on [date], and want to thank you for meeting with me. After meeting with you, I am even more excited to work with your team. I firmly believe that I will be a true asset to the company.
Thank you again! I look forward to hearing from you!
If you cannot find the employer on LinkedIn or Handshake, but happen to have their email, you can go ahead and email them a similar message to the above example.
If you want to gain extra practice with the new interviewing format, don’t forget to check out our upcoming Virtual Mock Interviews which will be conducted through Handshake!
October 27: Business, Management, Marketing, PR, Arts and Entertainment
October 29: STEM, Healthcare, Human Services, and Government & Education.
The deadline to register for each event is 10 a.m. PT the day before each event, so make sure you do it fast!. After registration, you will get an email with a link where you will sign-up to meet with your preferred employers. On the day of the event, you will get another email with information on how to access your virtual mock interview. Each interview will last about 15-20 minutes. Don’t forget to bring your resume and dress professionally!