Interviews for scholarships, internships and jobs are fast approaching as college and high school students begin their spring semesters. Interviews can be intimidating on their own, but they take on a new level of intimidation when you add an unreliable WiFi connection.
Abbie Paris, an admissions counselor at Mercer University, often conducts interviews for scholarship candidates. Here, she gives five tips for online interviews to help ease students’ anxieties.
1. Wear Professional Attire
It’s important to remember that just because you will not see your interviewers in person does not mean you should forget to dress to impress.
Professional attire “is just as important as it is in a physical interview,” Paris said.
If you’re unsure how to dress, check out this guide on what to wear from Indeed.
2. Create a Professional Background
Creating a professional background can eliminate further distractions during interviews. Paris said a blank wall or closet door are easy solutions, and your background can be elevated with good lighting.
“Try to find good lighting in your house,” Paris said. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be, like, the best lighting ever, but maybe try to find a window that you can sit by.”
3. Practice Beforehand
Interviews can be nerve-wracking, so Paris suggests practicing before your interview with a friend.
“Make sure you are taking the same amount of time to prepare for a virtual interview that you would for an in-person interview,” Paris said.
Paris suggests students answer five practice questions like the last book they read or the last show they watched.
Here’s a list of the most commonly asked interview questions to help you practice from The Muse.
4. Look at the Camera
“I know that that sounds kind of weird,” Paris said. “It’s hard to put into practice in a virtual setting, but if you have the ability to kind of look at them as they’re asking you a question, there’s something about even just like looking face to face with somebody.”
Looking at the camera can help create a connection between you and your interviewers and help you seem engaged in the conversation.
5. Do Your Research
“Always do a little bit of context study, it doesn’t have to be in-depth,” Paris said. “Having that background context helps with comfort, but it also helps you look good in an interview situation.”
Researching the school, internship, or job you are interested in applying to will allow you to ask more meaningful questions to your interviewers.
Paris reminds everyone interviewing this spring to “give yourself what you need to have before an interview to kind of take a step away, calm down a little bit, and remind yourself that you are who you are. You are great the way you are, and you’re just showing that to other people. You’re sharing that with other people.”