Preparing for a Virtual Campus Interview

While many of us have been involved in a virtual interview as either the interviewer or interviewee, these experiences, most likely, have only lasted an hour or less. In light of COVID-19 and the various guidelines institutions are required to adhere to, institutions are turning to virtual campus interviews as a means to keep the search process moving forward.

Obviously, an eight hour, full interview day via a video platform is different than a one hour interview. While the same rules apply to location, background, your appearance and limiting possible distractions, preparing for a full day of interviews in front of a computer screen has some unique challenges. Here are a few things to consider:

  • When considering the location/room you will conduct your interview from, make sure you have a comfortable chair. After all, you will be in this chair for the day. Make sure it doesn’t squeak or make any other distracting noises.
  • Prepare for this interview just like you were going to be on campus. This is an instrumental step in the search process; the interview format does not change that fact.
  • Have water available; you will be talking quite a bit.
  • Prior to your interview day, check the lighting in the room as the day progresses. You may need to shut the blinds at some point during the day so sunlight does not interfere with the interviewers’ ability to see you.
  • Make sure you see the itinerary for the day. If breaks are not readily apparent, ask your contact about this. You will need to get up and stretch, grab some more water or food, or use the restroom. You need to have this time built in to your schedule.
  • Turn off your home and/or cell phone ringer(s) so you will not be disturbed.
  • Please make sure everyone in your house is aware of your interview and request (you might need to resort to bribery, eight hours is a long time) to have them remain quiet and away from your interview location.
  • This virtual campus interview is new for everyone. Random things are going to happen; your dog may have to let you know that a squirrel is in the yard, or the doorbell may ring. Do not get flustered, just roll with it.
  • As always, be yourself. The individuals on the other side of the camera are trying to get to know you as much as they want you to get to know them and understand their campus and needs.

Heather Larabee

Search Associate - Spelman Johnson

Heather Larabee earned her BS in marketing from the University of West Florida, her MEd from the University of Florida and her doctor of education in educational leadership from the University of Southern California. Heather has most recently served as assistant dean of students and director of campus activities in the division of student affairs at the University of Southern California. Prior to this, she served as the assistant director for cultural arts and activities. Heather came to the University of Southern California from Francis Marion University where she served as the director of student life in the division of student affairs. She also held the position of program coordinator in the division of student affairs at the University of Tennessee. Heather has published several articles and has been a presenter at the National Association for Campus Activities, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, and the Association of College Unions International national conferences.