As students apply to jobs and internships, they are faced with the challenge of interviewing over a screen. Many companies have utilized virtual interviews more recently, and it is important students are set up for success when tackling this interview format.

To gain a professional perspective, I spoke with Career Exploration Specialists Daniel Pack and Kate Mercer (D/K) who shared their biggest tips regarding how to ace your next virtual interview.

Practice, practice, practice!

D/K:  Being prepared for the most likely questions you’ll be asked and having your stories ready ahead of time will allow you to relax and feel more comfortable during the interview. The best time to practice your answers to common interview questions is before you have an interview on the line. Through your Handshake account, you can access a free resource called Big Interview that’ll help you craft interview stories and practice them in a simulated mock interview.

Get comfortable with your tech set up.

D/K: Be sure to do a “test run” prior to your actual interview to be sure your lighting, sound and video are all acceptable. This includes practicing making eye contact with your laptop’s camera. Also, ask what tech will be used for the interview—you don’t want to download the tech 30 mins before your interview.

Dress for success.

D/K: Dress professionally, as if it was an in-person interview. It helps you to keep a professional mindset going in. Make sure you test your tech wearing your interview outfit so you can see how it looks on video, some patterns and colors can make the video wonky.

Smile on camera!

D/K:  Be happy you got the interview! Show the interviewer your enthusiasm for the opportunity, be the happy face they look forward to seeing in the office or on a Zoom meeting. Just like you would in-person, you want to engage with the interviewer/camera. If you’re on a laptop, try putting a post-it note above the camera lens to remind yourself to look up.

Attend Career Services.

D/K: Career Services offices across campus are always hosting workshops that are promoted through the “events” page in Handshake. Check the page regularly and sign up for workshops on everything from how to write an effective resume to creating a job search strategy, as well as opportunities to meet with alumni returning to campus for coffee chats or networking events.

Not sure where to begin?  Career Services hosts drop-in hours every Tuesday and Wednesday from 1:30-5 p.m. on the second floor of Schine Student Center. Take advantage of your resources and don’t be afraid to ask career exploration specialists how to succeed in a virtual interview. Regardless of the interview format, preparation is key to put your best foot forward.

Written By Isabella Podgorski ’22, College of Visual and Performing Arts