Preparing for a virtual interview: Graduate School Admission Edition

In today’s digital age, there has been a paradigm shift in the way companies and educational institutions select candidates, whether for job roles or admissions into prestigious programs. All thanks to the emergence of covid 19, before the covid 19 era, little was known about remote jobs but now, companies all over the world can conveniently source the best brains irrespective of the company’s location. The same principle applies to selecting the best candidates for admissions consideration. There are specific courses that require that the students get on an interview panel before they are considered for the place. Medical courses such as medicine, nursing, biochemistry, bioscience and the like.  However, excelling in a virtual interview requires a unique set of skills and preparation.

In this blog, we’ll explore how you can leave a lasting impression on admissions committees through virtual interviews.

  1. Adequate Preparation

As the popular saying, preparation is key. The drill is that, if you’re looking to build a house, the first thing to do is to count the cost. What this does is that it’ll give you time to adequately prepare and guide you to making informed and better decisions. Now, the sequel to your application processes, you’ve been admitted and invited to a Zoom meeting: congratulations. The next thing to do now is to adequately prepare for the meeting. You can only do this when you research the program and read about the program and the members of the faculty, the university and the country at large. Understand that the admissions committee wants to test your understanding of the program you’re putting in for and also determine if you’re a good fit. You’d want to read wide and if possible, research some core members of the faculty and know all you can about the program, the course, the school and the country as a whole.

  1. Prepare questions to ask after the interview

The members of the panel who make up the admissions committee will want to hear back from you. Always prepare valuable questions to ask the admissions committee because, as little as this is, it could leave a lasting impression on the committee that you are a worthy and bright student. Avoid asking vague questions that could spark up religious, homophobic conversations. You’d want to save yourself from that stress

  1. Test Your Technology

There are students who shy away from Zoom meetings because they’re overly anxious and they’re not used to it. If this is your situation, understand that there are thousands of people like yourself and you’re not in this alone. In order to be on the safe side, test run your computer, and have a mock interview session with a friend, colleague or acquaintance. Make sure your laptop is up to date and you have Zoom, and Microsoft Teams installed and also, ensure that your microphone and internet connection are working perfectly.

  1. Dress Professionally

Understand that the first impression matters and you’d want to take advantage of that to communicate value and class to your interviewers. Do not dress casually because it is a virtual meeting, dress the part. Look sharp and presentable. Understand that this is an official meeting, and dress the part.

  1. Choose a quiet place

For this call, you’d want to choose a plain, quiet background. Make sure your background isn’t looking so tattered and clumsy. There are private hubs all over, you can visit one of these offices for your call.

  1. Maintain eye contact

Look directly into the camera to stimulate eye contact. This helps establish a connection with the interviewer and this shows confidence and poise. Avoid wavering around, it sells you off as someone with low self-esteem.

  1. Give structured responses

Everything requires adequate structuring and planning, while answering questions, make sure your answers are set out in introductory, pain points and conclude like a boss.  Prepare insightful questions that’ll show that you have done adequate research about the program, faculty, research opportunities, and more to demonstrate your genuine interest. Avoid questions that spark religious conversations, and political and homophobic conversations.

  1. Express gratitude

Immediately after your interview before 24 hours, Send a follow-up email thanking the interviewer for their time and expressing your continued interest in the program and the university.

  1. Follow up

If after some reasonable time, you do not get any response from the admissions committee, send a subtle follow-up mail. This could be weeks after your interview,  be careful not to spam them with follow-up emails. Understand that they have a lot of applications they are working on and in due time, they’ll get back to you.

  1. Stay Positive

Virtual interviews have become an integral part of the admissions process, allowing candidates to showcase their qualifications and fit for a program from anywhere in the world. By following these tips and putting in the effort to prepare, you can impress admissions committees remotely and increase your chances of securing a spot in your desired postgraduate program. Remember, a successful virtual interview not only demonstrates your qualifications but also your adaptability and professionalism in the digital age.

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