Virtual interviews — Joyce’s Career Tip of the Week

The weeks that follow the Fulton Schools Career Fairs are peak seasons for on-campus recruiting. Our office has been bustling with teams of recruiters interviewing Fulton Schools students. However, not all interviews occur in person. Many companies are using technology and interviews can be on Skype, Google Hangouts, telephone or various in-house platforms.

Basic preparation for a virtual interview contains the same elements as an in-person interview:

  • Researching the company
  • Knowing about the position and industry
  • Articulating your skills, experience, interests and goals in ways that illustrate the value you will bring to the organization

Virtual interviewing does require a few more things to consider. It is important that you test the technology you will be using and get your environment in order. If the interviewer will be able to see you, make sure that whatever is behind you will not be distracting (or inappropriate). Consider others with whom you are living — family, roommates and pets. Make sure that nothing will interrupt you during the interview. Also, check (and possibly adjust) the lighting in the room.

I recommend that you practice. You can do this with a friend or record yourself using the Interview module on Optimal Résumé. You can access Optimal Résumé through Handshake. (Click on “Career Center” and then “Resources” which will take you to Optimal Résumé.) Practice with sample questions. Your goal is to sound natural and be able to show the interviewer what you can do for the company.

During the actual interview, dress professionally. Have some water nearby. Have your résumé and notes where you can see them. Remember to look at the camera and not at yourself.

If you are interviewing by phone, you and the interviewer cannot see each other. You will need to speak a bit slower than usual and take care to articulate your words clearly. In this case, you can have your notes spread out so they will be easy to read. Smile when you are speaking. It really does make a difference! Take care not to get so engrossed in talking that you forget about the interviewer. Your responses need to be concise and answer the questions.

You can schedule appointments with the Fulton Schools peer career coaches to practice interviewing — virtually or in person. If you are requesting a phone or Skype interview, make sure that the location (appointment medium) is not limited to in-person appointments.


Joyce Donahue is a certified career counselor in the Fulton Schools Career Center.