Many scholarship committees are meeting social distancing requirements by conducting scholarship video interviews instead of holding in-person meetings. While much of the process is the same for students, some nuances come with the video format. If your student doesn’t navigate the situation correctly, they may struggle to impress.
Luckily, when it comes to how to prepare for a video interview, there are several steps your student can take to increase their odds of shining. Plus, by embracing the right video interview tips, they can adapt to the unexpected once their interview is underway.
Yes, scholarships are still being awarded to deserving students, even during the pandemic. If you and your student want to learn more about finding scholarships, sign up for our free college scholarship webinar! Head on over to https://thescholarshipsystem.com/freewebinar to reserve your spot today.
If your student wants to increase their odds of landing a scholarship, here’s what they need to do to ace their scholarship video interview.
How to Prepare for a Video Interview
When it comes to webcam interview tips, the most important is to prepare for the meeting. Your student can’t nail their FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype video interview if they don’t spend a little time getting ready ahead of time.
Luckily, this part of the process is mainly the same as preparing for an in-person meeting. There are only a few steps that address the idiosyncrasies that come with a video interview format. Here’s what they need to do.
Review the Scholarship Requirements
First, your student should review all of the scholarship requirements. Usually, a committee’s priorities are reflected in the must-haves list and other materials describing the award. By examining that information again, your student can refresh their memory about these key points, ensuring they can speak to them during the scholarship video interview with ease.
Reread the Scholarship Application
Along the same lines, your student should reread their scholarship application materials, especially any essays they submitted. There’s a strong chance the interviewer will ask about the information your student shared, so it’s a good idea for them to take another look. That way, they’ll remember what they talked about before their Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime interview begins.
Research the Awarding Organization
Another critical “how to prepare for a video interview” step is to research the awarding organization. In most cases, your student can visit the organization’s website and focus on the details on the “About Us” page, as well as the mission and values statements. It’s another way to learn about the organization’s goals and priorities, allowing your student to align their answers to them during the meeting.
Practice Common Interview Questions
As with any interview, practice makes perfect. Before the meeting, your student should go over some of the common interview questions they may face and craft answers in advance. Then, if one of those topics comes up during the meeting, they can respond quickly and thoroughly.
If your student doesn’t know which common scholarship interview questions are worth practicing, here are a few to work on:
Tell us about yourself.
What is your greatest achievement?
Where do you see yourself in five years?
How do you plan on using the money if you are awarded the scholarship?
Why do you deserve this scholarship?
Pick a Great Scholarship Interview Outfit
In many cases, a scholarship video interview feels less formal than an in-person meeting. However, it’s crucial that your student treats it as the momentous event it is, and that they dress accordingly.
While the idea of interviewing in pajama bottoms might seem appealing, it could spell disaster if your student has to stand up during the meeting for some reason. Instead of running the risk, they should wear a complete top-to-bottom outfit, including shoes. They should be sure to select more formal scholarship interview attire, even if they won’t be leaving the house.
Get Your Tech Squared Away
Your student should test all of the technologies they will use at least a few days in advance of their scholarship video interview. This includes downloading any software, testing the webcam, doing a trial run with the microphone, and checking the speakers.
Subpar video and audio quality harm your student’s chances of making a good impression. In the worst-case scenario, technical issues could prevent the interview from happening at all, potentially leading your student to be removed entirely from contention. That’s why this is one of the most critical video call interview tips.
Prepare Your Video Interview Space
While your student is testing their tech, they should also take a close look at the space they’re going to use for the scholarship video interview. They need to see if the lighting conditions are appropriate, allowing them to be clearly seen.
Additionally, they should look at everything in the room that is being caught on camera. A poster, photo, knick-knack, or another item that they usually don’t notice could catch the interviewer’s eye. If there is anything overly personal or potentially inappropriate or controversial in the background, it should be removed. Otherwise, your student should choose a different interview space and repeat the process.
Plan to Be 10 Minutes Early
Your student shouldn’t be connecting to the video interview at the last second. Instead, they should plan to join early.
In most cases, your student should start preparing for the call about 10 minutes before it begins. This includes turning on all of the required technologies and getting situated in their seat.
Then, if they have a number to call or a link to use, they should connect about 5 minutes before the interview is scheduled to begin. That way, the likelihood that the interviewer will be left waiting diminishes significantly.
Tips for Scholarship Video Interviews in Progress
As the video interview begins, it’s going to be very similar to a traditional in-person meeting. However, there are some additional video call interview tips that can help your student shine. Here are a few extras that they can use while the interview is in progress.
Look at the Camera to Make “Eye Contact”
Making eye contact helps your student to forge a stronger connection and convey confidence. The trick is, if they look at the interviewer’s eyes on the screen, it won’t look like they are making eye contact.
To mimic eye contact, your student needs to look at the camera. That way, it will look right on the interviewer’s screen.
Resist the Urge to Look Up Answers
Since your student is using a computer for the scholarship video interview, they may be tempted to look up answers they don’t know (or refer to their notes or application materials). While this might seem smart, it isn’t. The interview can usually tell if your eyes are darting across a screen or if you pause to type.
Additionally, trying to feign a technical issue to disguise the activity or turning off your microphone to mask typing sounds is hard to pull off. The interviewer knows these options are available, so any sudden video losses or random moments of silence might come across as suspicious.
Take It Slow When You Speak During a Video Interview
When your student answers any scholarship interview questions, they need to focus on taking it slow and speaking clearly. Articulating is vital when you’re taking part in a Skype video interview or are having a meeting on any other platform. If your student speaks too quickly, they may be harder to understand, especially if their microphone or the interviewer’s speakers aren’t the highest quality.
Turn Off Notifications
Just like with in-person interviews, your student should silence their smartphone during a video scholarship interview. Additionally, if your student is using a computer, they should pause any system, messenger, or other notifications that usually pop up. Otherwise, when one goes off, their eyes may dart to it, causing them to come across as unfocused or distracted.
As with all scholarship interviews, it’s always best if your student focuses on being themselves. Remind them it was the information in their application that got them this far, so the committee must see something in them that’s worth exploring.
All they need to do is take a deep breath, smile, and do their best. If they can do that, your student can leave the interview with their head held high, and potentially a scholarship award on the way.
If you and your student want to learn about how to find scholarships, ensuring that their ideal school is affordable, sign up for our free college scholarship webinar! Take a trip over to https://thescholarshipsystem.com/freewebinar to reserve your spot today.