Career Coaching

Remote Internships: Prepare for a virtual interview

By in Career Coaching

 

Congratulations! One of your dream companies has reviewed your CareerUp profile and would like to meet with you! You have officially made it to the second round of the review process which means it’s time to put on your best smile and master your interview! Be it in-person, remote or pre-recorded, interviews are universal. The process is designed to not only help interviewers get to know you and your skillset better, but also for you to learn more about the company, the position and ultimately determine if this opportunity is the right fit for you! 

Typically, CareerUp interviews are conducted using video conferencing tools like Zoom, GoogleMeets, Skype, WeChat, or occasionally over the phone. In order to properly prepare you for your remote interview, we’ve compiled a few useful pointers to help you get ready!

 

1. Research your company.

Even before the start of your interview, researching the company and position you will be applying for is essential to your success. Proper research allows you to gain valuable insights into the company’s mission, values and goals which in turn will provide you with more information to bring into your interview. Hiring managers love to see motivated interns who go out of their way to learn about the company as it shows proactiveness and professionalism. Even if it’s just a quick sweep of their LinkedIn profile, website or social media outlets, any research is better than going in blind!

 

2. Get comfortable with your tech.

When it comes to remote interviews, there are a few basic tools that you’ll need at your disposal. For one, you’ll need a strong internet connection. Secondly, you’ll need some form of technology, preferably a computer or laptop with a webcam in order to properly display yourself in the meeting. Alternatively, if you do not have a working computer available, a tablet or smartphone can be used. Thirdly, when it comes to your audio, it is recommended to use a headset for your interview (including headphones or airpods) as they will allow the interviewer to understand you more clearly. 

Moreover, the specific technology used during your interview like Zoom or GoogleMeets can be a little tricky, so it is important to get familiar with them in advance. More importantly, if you are using a personal account (either gmail, skype or zoom), please make sure that your username and profile picture are professional. It’s a small detail that can make a big difference in demonstrating your professionalism to hiring managers. Don’t let a technical issue get in the way of your success! 

 

3. Be mindful of your environment.

Just because the interview for your remote internship is virtual, doesn’t mean that you can conduct it from just anywhere! First impressions are hard to change, so you want to be sure you are presenting the most professional version of yourself. This means you should avoid conducting your interview from bed or your couch or a busy cafe.  It is important to project an environment that is clean, professional and distraction free, especially for a video conference interview. There are a few key elements within your space that you want to be mindful of like lighting, sound and distractions. 

Lighting 

For starters, you want to make sure that your face is properly illuminated within the camera frame. This means you should avoid any backlight (example: having a big window behind you) as it darkens your profile and makes it harder for interviewers to clearly see you. If you’re in need of a fast brightness booster and happen to be using a duo-screen, we’d suggest opening up a white page (like a word or google doc) as the reflection instantly brightens your features. 

Sound and Distractions

Next, you’ll want to focus on your sound space. It’s best to avoid completely empty spaces as they create a large echo which might distort your sound. On the other hand, you want to be in a clean room with minimal distractions. Distractions are anything that can divert the interviewers attention from you, including messy rooms, bright patterned walls or wallpaper, people or pets in the background and heavy noise. This also means that you want to create a space where you are also not distracted. Also, we suggest closing browsers and apps that are not needed and placing your phone on silent mode during your interview. 

Finally, if distractions/interruptions are inevitable due to extraneous variables like construction noise outside your window, for example, then be proactive about it during your call. Let your interviewer know in advance that it might occur. This not only makes you look professional, but also avoids any awkwardness or negative impressions.

 

4. Dress appropriately. 

Interviews, be they in-person or remote are no place to get too casual, so rummage through your closet and find a clean outfit. You don’t need to be in a tux, but you do want to make sure you are either wearing a blazer, jacket or a shirt (depending on your preferences). As long as you are not wearing a hoodie or tshirt, you should be good! Now, given that this is conducted virtually, there are a few extra details you want to keep in mind when picking out your professional attire. Specifically, it is recommended to avoid all white or all black outfits as they may overexpose or underexpose your face respectively. Webcam lighting is quite different than natural lighting, so opt for softer tones, while avoiding bright patterns (in both your shirts and ties). Furthermore, if you do wear glasses, please take a second before hand to make sure there is no glare when facing the webcam. These little dress code details will go a long way to projecting your most professional self to employers.

 

5. Pay attention to your non-verbals.

Non-verbal communication cues are any form of communication that does not have a direct verbal translation, meaning they don’t involve words. The tone of your voice, eye contact, gestures and posture, to name a few, are all types of nonverbal communication. Interestingly, it’s estimated that 60-90% of meaning from verbal messages are conveyed through nonverbal cues (Nelson et al, 2020, p. 155). This means that when you are trying to communicate to your hiring manager your interest or excitement in a position, you should be paying attention to your facial expressions, tone of voice and body language. Of course, it is much easier for someone to pick up on your nonverbal cues in person, so here are a few tips to project the right nonverbals through your computer screen. 

For example, direct eye contact (in certain cultures) expresses confidence and assuredness. Thus, during your interview you want to make sure you are staring at the webcam when you speak, rather than at the interviewer in your screen to recreate eye contact. Furthermore, we suggest nodding frequently and smiling throughout your interview to demonstrate engagement. Another way of demonstrating engagement is by avoiding any yawning, fidgeting or expressing boredom by looking around the room.  Moreover, if you are looking to project an air of confidence and openness to ideas, we suggest arranging your posture. A straight back, a chin held high and feet firmly planted on the ground can do wonders for your confidence during an interview. 

Lastly, it is necessary during the interview to be mindful of your tone of voice as it may convey both excitement or boredom to a hiring manager. If you pay attention to your tone, pace, how long you pause and your pitch throughout the interview, you can make adjustments as you go along. Try to sound excited and enthusiastic about the role as interviewers will be picking up on not only what you say, but how you say it!

 

6. Practice makes perfect 

Be this your first interview or your 21st, practice does make perfect. Read about common interview questions and be prepared to comfortably answer them (the “Tell us about yourself” question is inevitable!). If you are feeling hesitant about any of the technology used during the interview or any of the interview questions that might arise, please take the time to practice beforehand. You can ask a parent, sibling or friend to practice with you over Zoom, GoogleMeets or any other platform to help you feel more comfortable with the remote format. 

Lastly, at the end of your interview, please do not forget to say thank you and follow up with a quick email afterwards. The extra effort will not only show your professionalism to hiring managers, but leave them the right lasting impression. With these tried-and-true methods you are sure to not only nail your virtual interview, but stand out in your remote internship! If you’d like a little more practice or help with your remote interview skills, please do not hesitate to contact your career coach as they would be more than happy to offer you a helping hand!

With these tried-and-true methods you are sure to not only nail your virtual interview, but stand out in your remote internship! If you’d like a little more practice or help with your remote interview skills, please do not hesitate to contact your career coach as they would be more than happy to offer you a helping hand!

 

 

These videos also have fantastic tips on how to nail your interview:

 

Follow these quick tips and you will become a dominant remote candidate ready to intern remotely.  For further tips on how to improve your chances of securing the top virtual internships, inquire with your Placement Coordinator. Best of luck to you!

If you need a little extra help, explore our coaching services designed to help you reach your professional goals. To learn more ways you can improve your resume and career readiness, book a consultation with one of our career coaches today!

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