Navigating a Virtual Interview

A virtual interview is an interview that takes place remotely, sometimes over the phone, but often using technology like video conferencing and other online communication platforms. Some virtual platforms that you might be expected to use include ZoomMicrosoft TeamsWebEx, or Adobe Connect. Below are some best practices for video interviews. "Video conferencing has taken the business world by storm in 2020. No one could predict this trend, but the fact remains that now we all need to get used to brand new daily habits and professional procedures." - Vault.   

Important Reminders 

  • Prepare for this just as you would for an in-person interview, you will want to do your research and practice with common interview questions.
  • For the interview, be sure your camera is as close to eye level as possible. This will make it easier for you to look directly in the camera for better eye contact with the interviewer.
  • Dress just as you would for an in-person interview from top to bottom.

Before the Interview 

TECHNOLOGY

  • One of the most common concerns is going to be the wi-fi connection. Check the speed with speedtest.net to be sure it is strong enough.
  • If you live with others that share the same network, ask for them to shut down their devices during the time to prevent the network from being stretched. You will also want to shut down all other applications on your computer for the same purpose.
  • You may also want to conduct your interview close to an outlet and have a charger at the ready in case of a low battery emergency.
  • Try not to use a device that accepts phone calls or text messages for your interview so that you are not disturbed during the interview.
  • Prior to the interview, be sure to have the appropriate software on your computer. Some might run through Zoom but there are additional platforms for virtual interviews. You will want to allow time to navigate the interface prior to the interview starting.
  • Develop a plan for if the technology cuts out. This could involve providing the employer with your cell phone number prior to the session in case it cuts out unexpectedly.
  • If the interview is in Zoom, be sure to use your UVA email address, not your personal email. It demonstrates a level of professionalism and brands you as a UVA student.  

INTERVIEW ENVIRONMENT

  • Where you conduct this interview is important. Try to find a location that is both well lit and has a neutral background. This may be difficult to find if you are in an apartment or shared space, so consider virtual backgrounds if need be or if the platform allows.
  • If you do live in a shared space, it is important you let the people around you know about your interview. You do not want there to be any interruptions so you can focus on the task at hand.

During the Interview 

Be sure to clarify the format of the interview with the recruiter. There will likely be information about the software required and if there is a password required. Interviews in the virtual world may be facilitated differently depending on the organization.

SYNCHRONOUS

  • The interview is present in the platform asking questions, much like a normal in-person interview.
  • Treat this just as you would a normal interview and pay attention to body language and positioning on camera.
  • Pay attention to your body language and positioning and look directly into the camera to maintain eye contact and position yourself at eye-level so that you don’t appear to be looking up or down at your interviewer. This may involve propping up your computer for better positioning. 

ASYNCHRONOUS

  • Companies send over a list of questions over video and students submit their video responses for evaluation.
  • Eye contact is even more important for this interview since you will likely not be seeing another individual when responding to the questions.
  • To practice, consider recording yourself in Zoom answering common interview questions and watch the recording for awareness of non-verbal and verbal behaviors.
  • Keep in mind, you may or may not have multiple attempts for these interviews. Be sure to familiarize yourself and read all instructions before starting your interview.
  • Sometimes, companies will send preparation material or ways to practice on their platform. Always participate in these to be sure you are ready for the real interview.

Questions to Anticipate 

As you practice your skills to ace your interview, we wanted to provide you with a few questions to practice. Questions take a different form toward a more virtual world of work, so take a look and see how you might respond to these in an interview setting.

  • What have you learned about yourself during the pandemic?
  • Have you ever worked remotely? If so, what changes did you make to adapt to an at-home work environment?
  • How do you handle stress?
  • How did you spend your time during the pandemic?

Eager to Practice? 

Make an appointment with a Career Counselor today via Handshake to fine-tune your skills. More information about interviewing can be found at www.career.virginia.edu/interviews.  

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Connect with alumni for insights about the process of choosing and starting a career in their specific field. 

Schedule a virtual or phone appointment through Handshake, or by calling the UVA Career Center at 434-924-8900 M-F from 8am-5pm.

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