How to Turn a Downer into an Advantage
People everywhere are bumming out at the fact that they may have to do virtual rather than in-person interviews for their school search this fall. This is definitely a "glass half-empty perspective", when the virtual interview may actually really benefit you - the interviewee! In addition to being able to show up for an interview in your slippers and pajama bottoms(!)... you have several possible advantages now. Here are a couple of hints on how to crush the virtual interview:
1. Look and Sound Great!
Test your connection before the interview to make sure that you have a good connection - and that your sibling isn't hogging all of the bandwidth playing games. To look great we suggest using an older photography tip. When you set up your interview space, pick a place in your home or room without a window behind you, but instead have a light or window in front of you. The window behind you makes your face look dark while the light or window in front of you helps you shine!
2. Avoid Distractions
Virtual interviews come with a slew of distractions you wouldn’t normally have to deal with when you’re visiting an Admissions Office. Make sure you do what you can to eliminate any problems before they arise. You want to be sure you’ve turned off anything in your room which may make noise, silenced your cell phone, and be sure you’ve closed the window to muffle any honking horns or blaring sirens. Your interviewer will understand that you can’t prepare for every distraction, especially if you have much younger siblings, but taking the time to set up your space before the interview will tell the admissions representative you‘re interested in their school. We also strongly recommend you use headphones to eliminate sound distraction - for you and your interviewer.
3. Use Your Background to Your Advantage.
Are you interviewing in your bedroom or your parents’ living room? Think about the image you want to project to the interviewer. Your bedroom can be a real billboard for you. Do you want the interviewer to see the "I hate everything" poster behind you or the "Vote for Change" side of you? Perhaps you want to showcase a varsity letter or a quote from someone you admire - rather a poster that suggests that you would rather be partying!
4. Show Off Your Own Tech Prowess - And Your Own Accomplishments.
Ask if you can share the screen a minute to show them a piece of your work, or a very brief video of something that you have participated in, or a couple of slides that you have created to share with them. This should be very brief, and not too boastful, but could provide you the chance to showcase a special accomplishment, and show that you are savvy with using the available tech.
5. Get to Know THEM.
Every prep school you’re looking at has a website and social media. Take the time to scan their social media and mention an event, photo, or activity that interested you. This will show your interviewer that you took the time to research AND you’re really interested in their school!
6. Be Prepared for Common Interview Questions
We have you covered! We’ve put together a list of the most common boarding school interview questions, You’ll be glad you checked out this blog post.
Treat your virtual interview the same way as you would and properly follow up. Within 24 hours of the interview, send a thank you card or email to the admissions representative you spoke with and any additional coaches or students you may have met. Remember to thank you them for taking the time to chat with you and to answer your questions. What if you realized you could have given a better answer to a question (hey, it happens to all of us)? This is the time to expand your answer! Remember though, keep your answer concise, do not ramble.
And that’s it! Follow these tips and you’ll be prepared to wow the school of your choice!