How to Prepare for a Virtual Interview

Can’t make it to campus?  No time, no money, no problem!   While it’s not an ideal situation to be in, some people have virtual interviews instead of meeting with their admissions committee face to face. Here are some tips on making the virtual (Skype) interview work for you.

  1. Systems Check – don’t let your interview be the first time you have used Skype within the last week.  Even if you have used Skype before (but it’s been a few months), hop online and Skype a friend or family member (or your Veritas Prep Admissions Consultant) to make sure your computer, your speakers, your microphone your camera and your internet are still working okay.
  2. Dress to Impress – just because you may be sitting in the comfort of your home/condo/flat, doesn’t mean you should interview in your pajamas.  Business attire is still required.
  3. Sit up Straight – for the same reasons as #2.
  4. Mind you surroundings – while you may have a very strong stance on Proposition 8, President Obama or the NRA, be a Grateful Dead groupie, or a collector of Italian Renaissance Art, your interview may not be, and could potentially be offended by the posters, pictures and décor in your Skype backdrop.   Keep it neutral, keep it simple (and no, I would not recommend running out and buying fan paraphernalia for the school you are interviewing for either).
  5. Maintain Good Eye Contact….with the Camera – unless you have a camera built into the middle of your screen, you should maintain good eye contact with the CAMERA.   While you may be tempted to try to look at the image of the interviewer, maintaining eye contact with the image will often result in you appearing to peer down (since most cameras are at the top of the screen or mounted on top of the monitor) anywhere from nine to fourteen inches, which depending on your gender and your interviewer’s gender, may be highly inappropriate.
  6. Dispose of the Distractions – definitely turn off your mobile phone (and any other phones in the area), email or IM notifications on your computer, make sure there are no walk-in surprises, dogs barking, babies crying or any other loud distracting noises to best the extent possible.  And if there are anyways, stay focused, apologize if appropriate, and keep moving on.
  7. Practice, practice, practice – just because you aren’t meeting the interviewer in person, doesn’t mean you can shirk practicing what you want to say and what ideas you want to convey.  Ideally, practice on Skype with a friend or family member (and of course, your Veritas Prep Consulting Team) to determine how to enunciate and ensure that voice inflections are coming through, and your personality shines.
  8. Send a Thank You – the interviewer still took time out of their day to interview you, even if it isn’t in person, so still send an appropriate thank you note.

Good Luck and rock that virtual interview!

If you have questions or if you want more information on our Admissions Consulting services, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Nita Losoponkul, a Veritas Prep head consultant for UCLA, received her undergraduate degree in Engineering from Caltech and went from engineering to operations to global marketing to education management/non-profit. Her non-traditional background allows her to advise students from many areas of study. She has successfully helped low GPA students get admitted into UCLA.