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Virtual Interview

Interviews can be daunting, especially in this new era of virtual interviews. Unlike remote classes, which we can attend with our cameras off in bed, interviews on Zoom require more preparation. But, fear not! Here are some tips to help you with any upcoming interviews you may have online.

Prepare for basic questions

Just like an in-person interview, it is important to prepare answers to basic questions. These responses can give the interviewer insight into your commitment to your future job. Some questions to be prepared for are:

- Why are you interested in working for this company?

- Why are you interested in this particular role?

- What do you think your biggest weakness is?

- What is your work experience?

You should also come prepared with questions for the interviewer. Asking questions is a great way to demonstrate your thoughtfulness and interest. Some recommended questions are:

- What does a typical workday look like for the job?

- I read about [a current project the company is doing that you are interested in]; can you tell me more about it?

- If you had to choose, what would be some values that best describe the work environment of this company?

- What has been a favorite project of yours?

Additionally, you should not be memorizing and reciting responses. Instead, you might want to have them down as bullet points that you can sneak into your answers casually.

Check your devices

The worst thing you could do, both in person and online, is miss your interview. You should ensure that your device is fully charged, and be sure to keep an eye on its battery percentage, or—even better—keep it plugged in. Conduct a trial run by calling your friends or family and asking them how strong your connection is and if they can hear you clearly. You never know what a call might sound like on the other side, so the more prepared you are, the better.

You might also want to prepare for the worst and have a backup plan. You’ll thank yourself later if you have another device on hand, ready to go in the event of a power outage. There are different pros and cons that come with each device, so make sure to test them out as well.

Dress appropriately

It is easy for us to overlook the clothes that we are wearing while stuck at home, but interviewing in your PJs would make a bad first impression. Prepare your outfit the night before, and make sure you account for time to get dressed. Test out the framing of your camera beforehand to get an idea of how you’ll look on screen.

You might be tempted to wear a formal shirt with sweatpants because your camera can only see from your chest up. However, you might need to get up to grab something, so it’s best to wear professional pants as well. You wouldn’t want to forgo the opportunity to show off your awards or projects because you are afraid of standing up. Also, being formally dressed will help you get into the right headspace for the interview.

Check your online identity

Your professionalism also extends to your online presence. Make sure that your email address and your profile pictures are appropriate. It would be bad if your interviewer saw a profile picture you took while drunk or an email address with inappropriate references to your teenage life.

Be aware of how you carry yourself

Now that we’ve covered what you should say and what you should wear, let’s talk about what you should do during the interview. Here are three tips on how to act:

Be yourself

Interviewing is not only about getting the right job but also about being at the right company. Your compatibility with your potential coworkers matters. Be natural, and be yourself. This is a great opportunity to see whether you vibe with the company and whether they vibe with you.

Monitor your behavior

One of the great things about online calls is that you can always see yourself on screen. This allows you to keep an eye on your posture and maintain professional, yet relaxed, body language.

Additionally, be aware of your eyesight. It is easy for us to let our eyes drift off and stare at ourselves or the interviewer. Try to look into the camera rather than the screen to establish a better connection with the interviewer.

Connect with your interviewer

Speaking through screens can feel pretty impersonal, so you might want to share some common interests or a personal anecdote with your interviewer. This not only works to lighten the mood of the interview but will also help you stand out from the other applicants.

Follow up!

You should follow up with your interviewer within 24 hours after the interview. This is an opportunity for you to make a final positive impression and to show your appreciation and enthusiasm. Thank them for their time, and let them know just how excited you are about the opportunity. Keep this extra token of thanks short and sweet!

Staff writer Time Charupaisankit might not be applying for an internship this semester, but he understands the fear that comes with interviews. He hopes you find these tips useful. He can be contacted at Follow Spectator on Twitter @ColumbiaSpec.

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