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Classroom to Careers: How to Rock a Virtual Interview!

Author: tbrow | Image: tbrow

While doing interviews virtually has been a common practice for employers in recent years, now more than ever it’s important to know how to rock a virtual interview. During this pandemic, it may be the only chance you get to show off your skills!

I’m here to give you some steps you can take to ensure you not only feel comfortable doing a virtual interview but tips and tricks so you can knock their socks off!

1. Prepare for this interview as you would for any other interview.

While virtual interviews can seem different from in-person ones, but the content and expectations are the same! You should be doing your research on the employer, practicing your answers to questions, and pulling knowledge from past work experiences to share. You can schedule a mock interview with one of our advisors by scheduling an appointment through CyHire, emailing lascs@iastate.edu. You can also use Big interview to practice some of your skills!

2. Understand the technology you’re using.

Whether you’re using Zoom, WebEx, Google Video, or others, it’s essential to know how each software works. Get on a couple of days before your interview to test out settings and see how the platform is laid out. See what you can and can’t do with the audio and video settings. Check to see if you can change your video setting to the highest quality so that it is crisp and clean on the employer’s end. By doing this, you can help eliminate some of your nerves, and it will help give you credibility as an “online professional.”

3. Consider your image and interview environment.

You still need to dress professionally, as a virtual interview is just as important as an in-person. I know some people use the trick of just putting on a professional shirt, but still wearing sweats/shorts. I found it very beneficial to get fully dressed in the clothes I would have worn in-person. It helps put you in a professional mindset!

You also need to consider the environment and background you are in. Ensure that the background of the interview is consistent with what you want to portray to recruiters. Try to minimize clutter or distracting images. Maybe try to find a blank wall you can sit in front of, and make sure there is enough light in the video. Also, practice talking to the camera. During the interview, when you are talking or giving an answer you should be looking directly into the camera. It would be good to test out video locations while you are testing all of the other settings in the step above.

Try to eliminate as many distractions as you can, such as your phone going off, computer alerts, music, pets, roommates, and more! Not only for the employer but also to keep your mind on track!

4. Test all settings and wifi connections beforehand.

Make sure all settings are optimized, and connections are working before the interview. In case issues arise during the interview, have a Plan B ready. Have your cell phone ready to use in case the connection isn’t reliable.

Now, no matter how much preparation you do, technology conflicts can still arise, whether it’s on your side or theirs. What’s important is to stay calm and flexible with how the interview may need to be adapted.

If you want even more interviewing resources, check out our interview page on the LAS Career Services website, as well as our COVID-19 page for other resources on navigating the job/internship search.