- Prepare as diligently as you do for in-person interviews
While the format may be different, you still want to prepare just as diligently for remote interviews as you do for the ones that are in person. See the following list of resources to help you know how to answer common questions and the best ways to articulate your success stories.
- Interviewing Channel on Penn Career Services site – https://careerservices.upenn.edu/channels/interview/
- Big Interview – online system that combines training AND practice to help improve your interview technique and build your confidence.
- Career Services Online Course on Interviewing
(scroll down past resume and networking courses)
- Case Interview Prep
- Blog post on video interviewing
- Dress Professionally
When you are dressed professionally (and appropriately for your target industry), you will have more poise and confidence. Do not fall into the trap of only wearing professional clothes that are visible to the camera. I once spoke to an interviewer who asked a candidate over Skype to stand up – the student had a suit jacket with shorts and flip flops. Don’t let a sloppy appearance undermine all of your hard work in preparing for the interview.
- Minimize Distractions
Be sure you have a quiet space where you will not be interrupted by pets, family members, roommates, or other distractions. Ensure you have a stable internet connection and that there is not excess street or construction noise. While pets are adorable, you do not want anything to make you lose focus.
- Optimize Lighting and Sound
Try your computer screen in a few locations and see which is best in terms of how your face is illuminated – so you will not be squinting or in shadows. Test out your sound – headphones may help.
- How to Look Good in Skype Interviews – helpful video
- Download and test the software in advance
Don’t wait until the day of the interview to download the software for your interview. You may think you have it and then need to download it and it could take longer than you think. Always add cushion time in so you are not caught short on time the day of the interview.
- Familiarize yourself with various platforms and practice ahead of time
Try Skype, Blue Jeans, Zoom, and other platforms as practice with friends and family (and Career Services during mock interviews), so when it comes to interviews you are comfortable with them.
Practice recording yourself ahead of time and consider your tone of voice.
Think about how you might present examples of your work online like portfolios, Github, etc. Most online meeting platforms allow screen sharing – plan ahead of time how you will show the interview or your work in this way.
- Have a backup plan if online does not work
Be sure the interviewer has your phone number (and that the phone is with you and sufficiently charged) in case the connection is bad.
- Maintain optimal eye contact and show engagement
Try to look at the webcam and maintain steady eye contact (without staring them down). Find the balance where you are looking at them like you would in a normal conversation and not staring at your own little video in the corner of the screen or letting your eyes wander around the room while you speak. That’s another reason why avoiding distractions is so important.
- Arrive a few minutes early
Log into your computer at least 15-20 minutes before the call (just in case it decides to update at an inopportune time) and join the call just a few minutes early. Consider jumping onto the platform (Zoom, Skype) 5-10 minutes early to ensure it’s working, but actually joining the call 3 minutes early.
That way, you are not there so early that it’s awkward, but you give yourself some time for technical difficulties in case they arise. If that happens, stay calm and do your best to work it out. We have all been there. If your computer won’t work, see if you can join from your phone (not ideal, but in a pinch it can work). If you can’t get through that way, call on the phone or email and let the interviewer know what’s going on with you tech. professional communication is the key.
- Don’t interrupt and try to maintain conversational flow
Online interviews can feel awkward at first, but they get easier the more you do them. Watch a person’s body language and try to really listen and not interrupt. The conversation should flow back and forth. Just as with in-person interviews, try to keep your answers in the 90 second to 2 minute range (unless it’s a case interview – see the guide in the links under #1 for tips for those types of questions).
- Mention your experience working remotely
If you have had a remote position this summer or worked remotely before, let the employer know and provide examples of how you are self-directed and your ability to work without direct supervision. Offer Solutions – think about where you are applying, what kind of challenges they may face currently and how your past experience could help them.
Career Services is here to help. You can sign up for mock interviews via Handshake. You’ve got this!!