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Virtual Interviews

(Presentation recording is also available)

More than half of employers now use video or phone interviewing as one of their college recruiting tools. In many ways, you’ll prepare for these virtual interviews—and perform in them—just as you would for a face-to-face interview.

What is Virtual Interviewing?
It's essentially an interview that is not in-person and done in an online format. An interview with an employer for example could be live on the phone or on a screen. Recording your responses to a set of questions delivered asynchronously via computer is another form of virtual interviewing.

The purpose of a virtual interview is the same as an in-person interview, and you want to make sure your best self shines through!

Here are five tips to help you excel in your virtual interview.

1. Clarify Logistics

It's okay to do so! This information is likely to be shared when you are invited for an interview, but in case it isn’t, do clarify logistics by asking what you can expect. For instance, will the employer be contacting you via phone or via video conferencing software? (Clarify who will be contacting who.) How long is the interview? With whom will the interview be? What can you expect during the virtual interview?

2. Check Your Tech and Environment

Before and during the interview, make sure your technology works - internet connection and phone reception. We recommend using your headphones. Next, think about where you will interview. Arrange a space that is comfortable, has little to no distractions, and offers good lighting. Lastly, communication is key. At the start of the interview, check-in about how communication is going for you and the employer (i.e audio, connection, volume). This is also a good time to discuss a back up plan in case technical issues come up. Provide the employer with a number to best reach you.

3. Prepare Yourself

Just as you would for an in-person interview. Here’s what you can prepare.

Your Self-Introduction
Two of the commonly asked questions in an interview, that will likely be asked during a virtual interview are “tell us about yourself” and “why are you interested in the position/organization?”. Learn more on how to prepare your self-introduction at z.umn.edu/personalintro.

Prepare Questions
To guide you as to what to ask, think about what would be most helpful for you to know about the position and organization to assess your interest.

STAR Method
The STAR method stands for Situation-Task-Action-Result. It is a great interview strategy to communicate your Core Career Competencies and will come in handy during a virtual interview!

4. Do Your Research

Yes, it’s important to know a thing or two about the employer. Research basic information like the size of the organization, general history, mission, types of opportunities available, product(s), target market(s), and competitors. This will make it easier for you to talk to (and impress) representatives from these organizations.

Where to start?
Social media platforms, company website, LinkedIn, Google, Glassdoor, and University Library Business (lib.umn.edu/business).

5. Dress the Part

Yes, even if you're not meeting in person. Make every effort count. It's also confidence boosting! You want to dress wisely, in a way that makes sense for both the job/employer itself as well as for your own personal identity. Experiment a bit beforehand, with the help of a friend, to get a sense of how you look best on camera.

View examples at z.umn.edu/whattowear

Friendly Reminders

  • Avoid distractions
  • Silence your phone if you are in a video call
  • Let your housemates know-do not disturb
  • Take notes before and during the interview
  • It's okay to ask for a question to be repeated

Resources

  • Use InterviewStream to get practice interviewing.  Choose questions or question sets and respond via webcam.  InterviewStream video captures can be viewed by you and / or shared with a career counselor for feedback.  Go to umn.interviewstream.com, create an account, and begin practicing!
  • RATE stands for Reflect, Articulate, Translate, and Evaluate. A free tool you can use to communicate the value of your curricular and co-curricular experiences. Go to rate.umn.edu to get started!
  • Connect with a Career Counselor to do a practice interview! Schedule an appointment at clacareer.appointments.umn.edu.
  • Online interview guide