How to ‘Stand Up & Stand Out’ in a Virtual Interview


With the onset of the coronavirus and shelter-in-place executive orders, the Summer Youth Initiative (SYI) Job Fair will be held remotely in the coming weeks. This means that TeenQuest students will have to prepare in a different way for their SYI interviews.

“In TeenQuest, we empower students to take initiative when meeting with potential employers,” says James Avery, director of Education & Training at the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, which administers TeenQuest and SYI. “Although that may look different with a virtual interview, we want to ensure that students still keep those practices.”

According to Avery, students who want to “Stand Up & Stand Out” during their virtual interviews should:

  1. Begin with a strong introduction.
    Make sure you begin your interview on a high note. Start with a positive greeting, thank the interviewer for the opportunity and introduce yourself and your goals. Remember, with the removal of handshakes and eye contact, your words and tone of voice are important.
  2. Be prepared to answer questions promptly.
    Review common questions asked during interviews to be prepared for a quick response. Keep your resume and notes with you for reference while interviewing.
  3. Keep responses concise.
    It can be easy to get carried away when answering a question, but it is always best to get straight to the point. With a virtual interview, elements that would normally keep your interviewer’s attention—such as body language and eye contact—are removed, so it’s important to keep answers under two minutes.
  4. Plan your location.
    Prepare for the interview by secluding yourself in a place with no distractions and little noise. With video interviews, make sure your background is clean and clutter-free.
  5. Test your technology.
    Ensure your interview goes smoothly by testing your technology beforehand. If you are doing a phone interview, make sure your phone is taking calls properly. For video, test your camera and microphone connection, and decide whether or not you would like to use headphones.
  6. Get in the zone.
    Before the interview, take some time to reflect on what you learned in TeenQuest. Get in a positive mindset and be sure to relax. You want to put your best virtual foot forward.

In the meantime, students who have applied for the SYI Job Fair should click here to validate their contact information. Interview dates and times will be sent to their emails in the near future, so it is important that Summer Youth Initiative staff has the most accurate information on hand.

TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative are made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.