Navigating A Virtual Interview

You got this!

With the great measure of what is going on in the world right now, everyone transitioning to work from home or are unable to attend in-person classes means interviews are going virtual. First things first… it’s okay. You can still ace that interview through a screen. Plus, we, at Career Connections, are here to help you along the way.

 Interviews, in general, are very nerve wracking, and for some even more so through a screen. There seem to be more variables that could “go wrong” such as dropped calls, not so private space, maybe kids who need your attention, etc. I don’t highlight those things to make you more nervous but to tell you that is exactly what I want to help you with by writing this article. Together, we will help you maintain a confident, prepared attitude for the interview. 

Types of Virtual Interviews

While most interviews will go for video interviews through Zoom, Skype, or a similar platform, they may opt for phone interviews. You may even have both depending on the level of interviews the employer has set up. There are a few tips that look different, but for the most part, they can be applied to both video and phone interviews. Let’s start with phone interviews.

Phone Interviews

  • Personality is not so easily captured – especially if you are more on the quiet side. You may have to speak up so they can hear you engaging in the conversation
  • Practice by recording yourself will help gauge how you sound through your phone. You could have a family member or friend call you and test out some questions
  • What to wear You can interview in your pj’s (huge plus if you ask me)
  • You can have notes in front of you but don’t just read from them as it may come off as scripted to the interviewers 

Video Interviews

  • Make sure your background is simple and clean. In other words, make sure nothing on your walls would be distracting 
  • Lighting will also be key. You don’t want any harsh shadows or poor lighting 
  • You want to be making “eye-contact” with the camera. Try to get the camera as close to eye level as you can, so you are not looking down at them. They will see you looking down or sitting hunched over. Glancing down is okay every now and then to make sure technology is still working
  • Body language is still very important. Sitting up-right with an open, inviting posture. If you are like me and speak with your hands…be cautious of how that reads in a camera. Smiling and soft facial expressions will help too!
  • Clothing Obviously you want to wear the top half of your interview outfit. If you choose to wear sweats on the bottom half, just make sure you don’t get up or move a certain way until the video 100% ends! 
  • Notes are fine to keep nearby maybe even a copy of your resume. Just be mindful of how much you are looking away, as the interviewers will be able to tell 

Now, what applies to both?

Both Phone and Video Interviews

  • Speak up, speak clearly, speak at a good pace Both mediums may not have the best connection so this will help with not having to repeat a lot
  • Background noise this can definitely hurt your interview. Scout the quiet places in your home. Make sure other devices are off, doors are closed, people know not to contact you, etc. If you have animals, make sure they are not around you just in case something perks their ears and causes them to get a little rowdy. 
  • Test how you sound and/or look to work out any glitches
  • Ask how to proceed if a call gets dropped or the screen freezes if they don’t say this before the interview starts
  • Have your questions written out and in front of you for that portion of the interview (just like you would for an in-person interview)

If you want to practice the video interviews… we have a great resource. Big Interview is a platform where a person pre-recorded common interview questions (even have them by industry), and then you get to video record yourself answering them. You are also able to share that video with your career consultant and we can give you feedback!

To reflect…

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen”    -Brene Brown

In this trying time, remember your skills and talent are still just that, your skills and talent. You were offered this interview for a reason, and you can still wow them over the phone or through video. The change in venue does not reduce your value or worth to the job/profession you are hoping to get into. 

From all of us here at the Career Connections Center, we are here for you and are available via appointment to practice interviewing, sprucing up your resume, helping with cover letters/personal statements, etc. Don’t forget to check out our resource page to see resume samples, interview questions, document templates, etc. 

We will all work together! 

By Bryana Ortiz
Bryana Ortiz Career Consultant, Houston Campus