5 Tips for Interviewing (Virtually)

1.    Prepare for the interview
As with any interview or other significant endeavor, preparation is important. Develop well-constructed answers for common interview questions and consider less common ones as well. You should know why you want to do pediatric orthopedics and be able to tell your story succinctly while leaving room for further questions. Doing practice interviews with colleagues or friends or even mentors can also help prepare you for your interview. However, you want to make sure that you still seem natural in your responses so if you are memorizing lines make sure you know them well enough to sound natural. Part of this practice should be looking into your camera instead of your computer screen. Recording yourself speaking into the microphone and camera and then reviewing it will help you to fine-tune your gaze, speech patterns, and even the length of your answers. It will also help you ensure that you are dressed appropriately for the interview and that any patterns or colors you are wearing appear as expected on the screen.

2.    Know your interviewer
Before your interview, you should read and learn about both the institution and if possible, your interviewer. You want to be able to ask informed questions and demonstrate your interest in the position during the interview. If you can find interests of your interviewer to discuss during the interview during lulls in the conversation that can be helpful also. You want to have an engaging conversation with your interviewer regardless of where the conversation leads and frequently this will deviate from the work itself.

In addition to knowing your interviewer, you should also know how to work with the virtual interviewing software that you are using. Be familiar with how to log in and out and what to do in the event of a malfunction as well. Make sure your software is updated to the latest version as you don’t want to get stuck with Zoom updating for an hour while you are trying to log in to the interview.

3.    Set up a good environment
Make sure that the virtual aspect of the interview is not a distraction. This means that you need to have a good internet connection throughout the entire interview with capable upload speeds and a reliable signal. This may mean connecting your computer directly to the modem instead of the Wi-Fi router or it may even mean doing the interview outside your home where the service is better. 
You should also organize your background so that it is not distracting either. A clean wall without posters or distracting bookshelves is ideal – you want to appear professional and detail-oriented. A virtual background is less ideal but can be okay as well if the technology you are using can keep a high-quality image. Once again make sure that it is similarly simple and straightforward (no beaches or stars or other crazy backgrounds). Have sufficient lighting so that you can be easily seen without shadows and make sure your camera is close to eye level. You should also ensure that there are not any distractions during your interview such as children, dogs, or roommates walking around the background.

4.    Be Yourself
You want to be the best version of yourself in the interview to both impress and make sure that your priorities align with your employer. Appearing engaged on video can be more difficult than when you are in person, so you need to work harder to show your interest in what your interviewer is saying. This includes smiling, nodding, and even hand gestures that may at first seem unnatural in the virtual setting. If you have specific interests or questions to help determine a fit, make sure you communicate those as well. Do not hesitate to ask what you perceive as silly questions especially because it can be difficult to understand the culture of a place without being there in person.  Both you and your interviewer are trying to figure out if you can work together in a productive and collegial way. You don’t have to be best friends, but you want to enjoy being around the other person.

5.    Future Communication
Reaching out to your interviewers the next day to thank them is an important part of the process to show that you are both grateful and socially aware. They are taking time from their day to get to know you just as you are with them. Furthermore, you should be prompt in responding to further communication from your interviewer. This may include requests for further information, interviews, or more paperwork. If this interview is for a staff position and you don’t hear back with anything after two weeks, it is probably appropriate to ask if there is anything else you can provide or answer to help their process. This will both show that you are still interested and help direct your attention away to other opportunities if needed. For fellowship interviews, this does not apply as you may not hear anything from the program until match day.