02 May Virtual Interviews: Preparation for Success
As summer internship season dawns, college students everywhere are eagerly scouring the web for the best opportunities. Following the current trend of working from home, many of these companies are adopting remote or hybrid internships, and conducting virtual interviews as well. Being able to interview well on a screen is a highly coveted skill, and one that is becoming increasingly important as we transition to a more digital workspace. If you want to stand out and beat out the competition, read on.
Preparation is Key
Just like an in person interview, preparation beforehand is essential. First step for virtual interviews is to find a quiet place with a neutral background and good lighting to be interviewed. Nothing says amateur more than a dingy bedroom with FamilyGuy playing in the background. Securing a place that is clean and professional, sets you up to be comfortable and confident from the get go.
As for background research it may be tempting to wing it-don’t! Going in with a general understanding of what the company you’ll be interviewing with does, it’s mission, and any recent news will aid you greatly. No need to memorize facts, figures and the entire management structure. While looking into the company, ask yourself what about the company’s mission resonates with you and why. Figure out why you actually want to work there. With this in mind, you now have the driving force of your interview.
Don’t skip rereading the job description and any info about the internship you are applying to. You want to go into the interview feeling comfortable and confident that you know what you’re getting yourself into. While researching, jot down any questions you have about the company or position. This will come in handy later.
What Kind Of Questions Will I Be Asked?
When interviewing for an internship, expect to be asked about your schooling. Interviewers want to know what and where you study, along with any specific projects or extracurriculars you have that can help you with your internship. For instance, if you are a math major with a deep passion for songwriting who scored an internship at a record label, now is the time to share your aspirations and explain your background. What makes you stand out? The interviewer wants to get to know you as a candidate, so take your time to answer the early questions thoughtfully. Other typical interview questions can include:
- When was a time you failed? How did you rectify that situation?
- When have you experienced leadership in a group?
- How do you manage conflict in a group?
- How do you stay organized?
- What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
It’s easy to start rambling when answering a question. Instead, take a second to think after you are asked. Give yourself a moment to collect your thoughts before beginning. Make sure to never triple dip when discussing specific experiences. It may be alright to mention that you are president of the glee club once, or twice if absolutely pertinent, but after that it’s time to move on. There’s more than one thing that makes you a great candidate! The beauty of virtual interviews is that you can come up with a couple beforehand and stick them on a sticky note near your computer for easy access.
Important tip: Remember that above all else, your interviewer is a person! Treat your interview like a conversation. Since you both are in your virtual spaces, it can be easy to forget your interviewer’s humanity. Don’t!
There will be that fateful time, as there is with all interviews, where the interviewer will ask, “Have any questions?”
This is not a gotcha game.
They aren’t trying to test your understanding or how well you prepared, rather, this is the time to show your interest. Ask any of the questions you found while researching, or ask for clarification on any confusing parts of the job description. If you truly have nothing, ask one of the questions below.
- What is something the company hopes to gain out of having interns?
- Have any interns gone on to work for the company afterward?
- What does a typical day in the life of an intern at this company look like?
- What is your favorite part about working at said company?
Just make sure you do NOT say, “I don’t have any questions”!
Though social media and recruiter TikTok might suggest otherwise, there is no secret formula to perfecting virtual interviews. Going in prepared and confident, armed with a keen interest and curiosity in the company, is the way to go. Remember, that this is also an interview for you at the company. Are you interested in their work? Can you see yourself enjoying your internship with this company, or does this sound miserable? You are also searching for the right fit, so keep your eyes open and enjoy the process.
And maybe check your wifi once or twice beforehand 😉