Virtual Interviewing Tips
Prepare your space, prepare your technology, and prepare to do well!
Before any interview, review our advice on interviewing:
- Do Your Research.
- Practice, Practice, Practice.
- Plan Ahead. Make sure your interview day is as stress-free as possible.
Prepare your virtual interview space and technology
- Have the light source behind or next to your camera.
- Position your camera to eye level. If using a laptop, consider placing it on top of some books or a box.
- Select a neutral background. If interviewing from your bedroom, make sure that everything in the background is neat and tidy. If using Zoom, consider using a virtual background. Do a test run to see what your background looks like with you in the frame.
- Test your audio and video. Headphones are usually helpful for improving audio.
- Find a quiet space with little to no possibility for interruptions. If you share a space, communicate in advance the time you’ll be conducting your interview. Also, consider finding a quiet space on campus or reserving an interview room in CAPD.
- Clear your screen and close extra browsers, especially if there is a chance you’ll be sharing your screen.
- If your industry uses portfolios, have that ready for sharing.
- Before the call, silence your phone and turn off other notifications (like email, or slack) and make sure your device is charged.
Want more tips? Watch this short video on how to look good in a Skype interview (or any platform)
- Consider light exercise, meditation or yoga the morning of your interview.
- Recognize and acknowledge that there might be awkward pauses or that you might speak over each other.
- Remind yourself of previous successes and accomplishments!
How to strengthen your virtual presence and non-verbal cues during the interview:
- Look into the camera to make eye contact, especially when answering questions.
- Smiling is helpful in establishing a positive virtual presence and connection with interviewers.
- Be sure to sit straight up, consider sitting near the front of your chair to help maintain posture.
- Create some space between you and the camera.
- If there is sometimes background noise in your location, mute your audio when not speaking.
Want more tips? Watch this LinkedIn Learning Module: Executive Presence on Video Conference Calls
How to handle technical issues
- Prior to the interview, test out the video platform you will be using.
- Make sure that you have your phone available, and the interviewers phone number, as a backup option if technical issues do come up.
- If there is a delay with your video, consider setting up a space closer to the wifi router.
- If technical issues arise during the interview – first, stay calm.
- Communicate through the chat feature to let your interviewer know what’s going on.
- Consider logging off and logging back on.
- If you are unable re-connect, consider emailing the recruiter and offering to finish the interview via phone call or consider using you phone to call into the video platform.
Preparing for one-way interviews
Sometimes an employer will have a one-way interview as part of the initial screening process for candidates. In this type of interview, candidates log into an online platform and respond to interview questions that have been prerecorded rather than responding to a live person.
- Refer to each employer’s instructions for specifics. They will likely share important information like deadlines, login info, and special instructions.
- Unless otherwise stated, assume that you will only have one attempt to record your answers.
- Prepare lighting, background, and technology the way you would for a live virtual interview.
- Once you log into the system and begin recording, look to see if there is a timer. Most one-way interviews will set a time limit on your responses that you’ll want to be mindful of so your answers are not cut off.
- Don’t wait until the deadline to complete the interview in case questions or technical issues arise as you may need to contact the employer for assistance.
Need a Phone/Video Interview Room?
Rooms in CAPD E17-294 are available for students and postdocs to reserve for participating in virtual interviews. Our interview space is private, has a digital phone, WIFI, and is available Mon-Fri from 10am-4pm except on holidays and school closings.
- To reserve, please fill out our CAPD Room Request Form (MIT students and postdocs only).
- Employers looking to participate in on-campus interviewing can reserve interview rooms and organize schedules through Handshake.