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UMGC Career Connection Tips for a Successful Virtual Interview

Samantha Mitchell
By Samantha Mitchell
UMGC Career Services
By UMGC Career Services

As virtual interviews are becoming more common, it is important for job seekers to know how to best present themselves within this format. These types of interviews provide a platform for candidates and recruiters to meet virtually from all over the world. They also afford recruiters the opportunity to virtually assess candidates by observing facial expressions and body language. To ensure you are prepared, go through the following tips to enhance your success in your next virtual interview.

Understand the Technology and Prepare a Suitable Background

Today, virtual interviews are often held on platforms, such as Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the technology prior to your interview. Test your camera, microphone, and internet connection settings to ensure a smooth interview experience. It is also important to ensure you are connected to a reliable power source before your interview starts.

Make sure that you are in a well-lit space with a professional background. Ensure that the area you are in is a clean and quiet space. You should also be aware of reflections or glare from windows. This will help to keep the focus of the interview on you and not your surroundings.

Tip: Looking for a quiet space? Consider reaching out to your public library to see if they have a private meeting space or study carrel you can reserve.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice common interview questions with VMock’s interview practice tool to familiarize yourself with the interview process. Focus on articulating your responses clearly and confidently while looking at the camera. Remember to sit up as straight as possible and maintain good posture while practicing so it starts to become second nature for your actual interviews. Record yourself if possible, and review to identify areas for improvement.

Interview questions can fall under a few types. The three most common are:

  • Open-ended Interview Questions
  • Behavioral Interview Questions
  • Situational Interview Questions

Common Interview Questions:

  • Tell me/us about yourself.
  • Why are you interested in {Insert the position title you applied for} position?
  • Why are you interested in working for {Insert the organization name}?
  • What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?
  • Tell us about a time when you had to work with a difficult client/customer?
  • Tell us about a time you made a mistake?
  • Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict with a coworker. How did you handle that?

Research the Company

Demonstrate your interest in the company by researching its values, mission, and recent achievements found through its website, related articles, social media, and press releases. Tailor your answers to show how your skills align with the organization's goals. To gain further industry insight, you can use research tools, such as Vault, CandidCareer, and Steppingblocks, for a more in-depth overview of your area of interest. By doing these simple preparation steps, you will impress interviewers and showcase your commitment.

Develop a Storytelling Approach

Craft stories that demonstrate your skills and recent achievements relevant to the job. Utilize the S.T.A.R. method for interviewing to help build a concise narrative while focusing on the impact you made. Storytelling not only captures the interviewer's attention but also helps convey your message effectively.

Ask Thoughtful Questions

Prepare a list of insightful questions to ask the interviewer such as information on team dynamics, company culture, future projects, and goal setting for the position. This demonstrates your genuine interest in the position and the company.

Common Questions to Ask:

  • What does success for this position look like? How is it measured? 
  • What brought you to {insert company name}? What’s your favorite part of working here? 
  • What do you think the biggest challenge is going to be for this role?
  • What are the next steps?

Dress Professionally

Make sure to present your best self! It is important that you dress professionally for your virtual interview and treat it as if it were in-person. In addition, make sure that your general appearance is clean and put together. Remember, you want the interviewer to remember you for your personality, professionalism, and capabilities, not for something you wore.

Follow-Up with Gratitude

Send a thank-you email within 24 hours after the interview to express your appreciation for the opportunity. Take this time to reiterate your interest in the position and briefly mention key points discussed during the interview. This courteous gesture will help to reinforce your professionalism.