Useful Tactics for Virtual Interviews
The Office of Career Exploration and Success (CES) at Rutgers–New Brunswick views the health and safety of our students and employer partners as a top priority. All recruiting services and programming will be offered virtually in the fall semester. Services include the interviewing program, employer information sessions, and a new series of four virtual career fairs segmented by the types of recruiting opportunities and functions of each role.
InterviewStream allows you to rehearse interview questions online and further develop strong interview skills. You can select from thousands of sample interview questions and review your performance online individually, or with a Career Advisor. This system is open to Rutgers University-New Brunswick students and alumni.
Below are some tips for virtual meetings and interviews.
Tips for Video Meetings
- Dress either professionally or business casual and avoid bright colors
- Find a quiet, private, well-lit place, free from possible interruptions
- Always be mindful of the space you are in and what decor is behind you
- Get rid of any distractions
- Keep a good body posture
- Ensure your computer or device is at the eye level and you are not looking up or down at the screen
- Always address the interviewer by their correct name or titles
- When listening, nod and smile to show you are engaged
- Use hand gestures when appropriate
- Place your phone in silent mode
- Try to get online at least five minutes before the meeting
- Have a pen, notepad, and copy of your resume and cover letter on your desk
- Have all the required materials for the meeting close to you
- Have a stable internet connection and practice using the software before the meeting
- Charge your device before the meeting and keep it plugged in during the meeting
Tips for Phone Meetings
- Speak boldly
- Use the person's title (Mr. or Ms. and their last name) - only use their first name if they ask you to
- Smile, focus, listen and enunciate during the conversation
- Avoid non-upright positions when speaking as it becomes evident in your voice
- Keep a glass of water nearby in case you get a dry throat or cough during the conversation
- Use a quiet and private area free from noise and other distractions
CES Staff Virtual Advice
As communications with our office and many others are shifting to online platforms, we want to help students have the best virtual experience possible.
Below are tips from our staff to prepare you for video and phone meetings.
Set up your meeting notes in a picture stand/frame slightly behind your laptop to prevent you from looking down at your notes.
It's challenging to express warmth, energy, and interest without being in person. Make an intentional effort to smile, make eye contact, and exude enthusiasm for the role, even though you will not necessarily feel a reciprocated response back.
Make sure everyone in the household knows when you will be doing your interview, so there are no unexpected interruptions.
The camera loves rich jewel tones like sapphire blue, emerald green, ruby red, amethyst purple, and turquoise. These colors pop on camera and generally look great on everyone. Also, stay away from any intricate patterns or stripes because the camera will make it look like lines are moving all around your outfit.
If unexpected background noise occurs (e.g., neighbor's dog barking), be "present" (without interrupting) by acknowledging rather than ignoring it. Also, don’t forget to write a thank you follow-up within 24 hours.
Try to connect personally with the person on the other side of the interview table, webcam, or phone. The resume is what got you the interview; your ability to connect is what will get you the job.
Warm-up with a few FaceTime calls with others before the interview and have a prepared list of ten things you want to make sure you convey to the recruiter during the meeting.
It is essential to slow down your speech during phone and video interviews. Talking too fast can result in sound distortion. Also, wait for the interviewer to finish talking altogether, to help ensure you don't talk over one another.
Be aware of your lighting during a video interview. Avoid sitting with your back to a window or lamp, which can cause you to appear in silhouette. Instead, try to angle yourself so that the daylight illuminates your face from a window or a well-placed lamp. Also, be mindful of any distracting visuals in the background.
If something should go wrong with your connection, have an alternate way to communicate readily available and prepared.
Test the setup/angle of your camera on your laptop/desktop. You want to have your head and eyes in a neutral position so that you are not looking down, off to the side, etc. This may involve opening up your laptop at the right angle or putting a sticky note on your desktop as a reminder of where to focus your eyes.
If it is a phone interview, you should try to find a photo of the person that will be interviewing you in front of you to help with your interactions
while on the call.
Put warmth into your voice, sound energetic and enthusiastic, and get online 15 minutes early to test your equipment and make any necessary adjustments.
Take another look at the job description for which you are interviewing. This can trigger you to stay on point in the interview, and highlight transferable skills and experiences that relate to the role.
Articles by Rutgers Handshake
Find more information on how to make the most of a remote internship with these helpful articles:
- How to Make the Most of a Remote Internship
- How to Make a Good Impression in a Virtual Interview
- Four Tips from a Recruiter on How to Get a Job Online as a College Student
- How to Get a Job on Handshake (FAQ)
- How to Get an Internship on a Short Timeline
- 500 Companies Hiring Students on Handshake Right Now
Publications by FirstHand
- FirstHand Guide to Social Services Jobs, Second Edition
- FirstHand Career Guide to Health Care Management, Third Edition
- FirstHand Career Guide to Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology, Second Edition
- FirstHand Guide to Medical Equipment Manufacturing Jobs
- FirstHand Guide to Internet Content Jobs, Second Edition