We’re now more than a year into the pandemic, and, for better or worse, most people seem to have adapted to the virtual workspace. There is lots of talk of Zoom fatigue, but for some professionals, specifically recruiters, the transition to the virtual realm has not only been convenient, but also greatly resource-saving. It’s highly probable that the virtual interview trend is here to stay. What does this mean for you? It means that preparing for virtual interviews should now be a part of your preparation process.
Do not fear! Not only have we created a comprehensive guide for nailing the virtual interview, but we’ve also combed through dozens of tips and tricks articles from the past year to provide you with the four most important takeaways.
Become a virtual platform expert.
You know those exciting moments when someone points out a new video call shortcut that makes your virtual experience that much better? (Think video background, closed captioning, filters, audio settings, etc.) Create that “aha moment” for your interviewer! According to one article from the Harvard Business Review, in 41% of virtual interviews, problems with technology caused breakdowns in communication. In contrast, in 22% of successful interviews (those that resulted in an offer), the candidates offered the interviewer tips for video call settings. So, get familiar with whatever platform will be used for your interview (Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, etc.) by downloading it in advance and practicing with your friends or family. Let the tech assist you rather than hinder you.
Use notes wisely. Don’t write a script.
Yes, one advantage of interviewing virtually is that you can have a notebook close by or a “cheat sheet” open on your computer. However, don’t go overboard with your notes. Stick to organized bullet points that remind you of key points that you’ve already practiced. As well, be sure to keep your notes to one page. Anything longer than that will require you to scroll, which is visually obvious and distracting for interviewers. Chances are if you’re reading from notes, or it looks like you’re reading from notes, you won’t fully be engaged in the conversation.
Bring your enthusiasm.
You don’t want to come off as robotic. It can be difficult to read body language virtually, so lean into your excitement for the position by using hand gestures and head movements. Make sure you do your research ahead of time so you feel comfortable discussing what exactly about the organization, role, or department excites you. Establishing connection with the interviewer can set the tone for the rest of the conversation (and process). Pay attention to the interviewer’s body language as well. If they start to fidget, that may be a cue to wrap up an answer or ramp up your energy.
Know your narrative.
Back-to-back video interviews may start to blend together for recruiters. Differentiate yourself by clearly stating your value proposition. What do you most want them to know about you? If you can make a clear connection between who you are and the organization’s values, that is even better. Oftentimes, students are anxious about which stories to tell in an interview. Read through the job description and organization’s website in advance of the interview to determine what values are most important to them. Then, brainstorm a few stories that best exemplify times when you exhibited these values. Use the STAR method (Situation-Task-Action-Result; read more about this method on our website) to talk through these narratives. Make sure you practice so that you feel confident and comfortable when it comes time to shine.
As always, the Career Center is here to help you if you want to talk through your interview preparation strategy. Don’t forget that you also have access to Big Interview, an online practice interview platform that makes virtual interview prep easy. To access, go to bc.biginterview.com and click on ‘Register’ in the top right corner. Use your BC email address to create your account.