by Chelsey Augustyniak, Associate Director of Career Education
Congratulations! You’re sooooo close to graduating from college! Although you are now finishing your final semester online, there will be no commencement celebration in May, and the world seems to have completely changed for the time being, there are a few things that remain the same. What will you do after graduation? What jobs will you apply for? What companies are still hiring? How will you interview during a time of social distancing?
The truth is, people are still hiring, and they are still conducting interviews. These interviews, however, are more likely to take place over the phone and via video conferencing. This means that first impressions may not come in the form of a handshake, getting an initial vibe from a site visit, etc. This can be extra challenging for those of us who do not have a lot of experience with this. Not to worry! The Career Center has some tips and tricks for how to feel more comfortable in a phone or video interview, and we can always practice with you!
A few things to keep in mind about phone interviews. One of the challenges is that we miss out on visual cues. Without seeing our interviewer, it is hard to know how they are reacting to our responses. Don’t let a little bit of silence make you nervous. Perhaps they are jotting down some notes of things you said. Remember to speak clearly and not too fast, and always make sure you have a good connection if you are using a cell phone. One of the cool things about phone interviews is that you can have a couple of notes in front of you to reference. Don’t go overboard! I recommend maybe having a sticky note or two with just a couple of things that you really want the employer to know about you, like some of your greatest strengths or a reminder to tell one of your back pocket interview stories.
Video chats seem to be how we are getting through life these days. I bet lots of us are spending more time FaceTiming our friends and family, or if you are like me, you are attempting to teach your grandparents how to use Google Hangouts. One thing to keep in mind about interviews via Zoome, Skype, or some other video conferencing technology, is that it is still an interview. Keep it professional! Don’t let this method of interviewing trick you into thinking that the interview is any less formal. Dress up for the interview, position yourself in a well-organized space with a non-distracting background, and be prepared. If you have pets, make sure they are not in the room with you, otherwise you may have a cat jump onto your keyboard or your dog barking at the mailman in the background.
Again, all of this may be completely new to you. We recommend scheduling a practice phone interview or practice video conferencing interview with a Career Coach. Just log into Handshake, request a practice interview, and give us information about the type of job you are interviewing for. We will then come up with some relevant questions for you so that you can best prepare. If you just want to practice and do not know yet what you will be applying for, that’s great, too! We can go over some frequently asked interview questions and give feedback on your performance.
So, if you are about to graduate and you are concerned about having a job as soon as possible, keep up the job search! There are still companies who will be hiring and conducting interviews, just a little bit differently than we are used to. Your job search may take longer than that of past graduates. If you need to, try to find a part-time job while continuing your search and application process. Perhaps this extra time could even be a good thing. Allow yourself to take the time to think about who you are, who you want to become, and what impact you want to make in the world. Think of what will make you happy, but will also provide a living. The Career Center is always here to help you brainstorm ideas and help you prepare for whatever is next for you!