With all the craziness going on with COVID-19, job searching is a challenge. For now, everything has been moved online, and it’s harder to make a real human connection with other people who may want to hire you when there’s a screen between the two of you. Today, I wanted to talk about the virtual interview and how to perform the best you can. For further tips, check out the Career Center website.
Practice your interviewing skills using Big Interview, our mock interviewing platform. You can get advice on how to answer tricky questions and how interviews are conducted, and you can record yourself answering sample questions and have others rate your answers! If you would like the Career Center to review your interview answers, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and a Career Peer will watch your video and rate it.
Test your equipment! Make sure your camera and microphone are working before the interview, that way if you need to make a new purchase, you have time to do so.
Dress professionally! Wear appropriate business attire for your virtual interview. Not only can your interviewers see your professionalism based on what you are wearing, but it’ll give you a little confidence boost too.
Pick a neutral background! Make sure the background in view of your camera is neutral and not distracting.
Do your research! As with all interviews, be prepared for the questions they might ask, as well as have the knowledge about the company that you need. It is okay to have notes for your interview, just don’t make a script. Organize your notes according to your skill sets with corresponding anecdotes that exemplify those skills.
Sit up straight and smile! You can’t shake the interviewer’s hand, so you need to show enthusiasm and attentiveness through your body language. Sit up straight, but be sure to appear relaxed enough that you don’t seem nervous or tense. Smile at your interviewers when greeting them and at appropriate times throughout the interview.
Finally, look in the direction of the camera, rather than to the side, above it, or below at the interviewers face. That is the best way to simulate eye contact when you can’t be in the room with someone yourself.
These are unprecedented and challenging times we live in, but that doesn’t mean that life should be put on hold. You can still job search and interview during COVID-19, it’ll just all be online! The Career Center is here to help you with every step of the process.
Makayla Gleeson, UMBC Graduate Student and Career Center Career Peer