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Virtual Interview & Presentation Tips

To say things seem a little chaotic right now would be an understatement, and a lot of companies (and people!) are working and interacting digitally. You may find that your interviews are now happening online; either through Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, or a variety of other programs. I hope to provide you with a few tips to make the most of your upcoming virtual interviews or professional presentations.

Be Prepared and Practice

As with any interview, it is imperative that you are prepared before you begin. Make sure you research the company, understand the position, and reflect on your matching skills. Have some questions prepared to ask the interviewers, and make sure you have thought through your answers to potential questions you may get asked. They’ll expect the same level of preparedness and engagement as if you were there in person!

To practice for this different type of interview format, visit OhioMeansJobs’ Big Interview. This online mock interview software will help you get used to virtual interviews. While the software is a one-way recorded interview model, you will still be able to practice your approach.

Set the Scene

Wherever you decide to conduct the virtual interview, make sure that you have a professional or controlled background. If you can have a blank wall behind you, all the better, but try to keep distractions to a minimum. If you have pets, children, roommates, or anything/anyone else that may cause a disruption during the interview, mention it before you get started. Better to have warned the employer about it beforehand.

Dress the Part

Even though you will be interviewing virtually, the employer can still see you and so it is important that you dress appropriately. While that may not mean wearing a suit, follow the expectations given to you from the employer. Don’t end up in a situation where the more informal style of interview leads you to not meeting their level of professionalism. While the typical joke of wearing sweatpants during a Skype interview is funny, it won’t be as funny if the employer finds out. Don’t take that chance!

Test Your Technology

Anytime you’re relying on technology, it generally takes that moment to have an issue. To help avoid hiccups, double check everything before the interview starts; wifi, battery, mouse, webcam, microphone, etc. If you’re presenting as part of your interview, check the presentation as well and consider having it available in one or two files just in case.

Check your Body Language – But Don’t Stare At Yourself!

Body language is important, and it can be hard to get into the right mindset when interviewing digitally. With that in mind, be extra careful when considering your body language. Try to make “eye contact” when possible instead of just looking at your video feedback in the corner. If you’re unable to do that easily, use a sticky note to hide where you can see yourself on your screen.

Follow Up Afterwards

Follow up with the employer within 48 hours of the interview. Just a quick email of thanks with a point or two that you covered in the interview should suffice. You can also ask about next steps in the interview process and when you should be hearing back.

If you want to learn more about interview preparation, visit Handshake > Career Center > Resources and keyword search “interview”.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” - Confucius

About the author

Richard (Alex) Broshious

Alex is a Graduate Associate at Engineering Career Services.