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Career coach shares top tips on virtual interviewing, latest trends in digital recruitment

Career coach shares top tips on virtual interviewing, latest trends in digital recruitment

May 28, 2020 at 1:25pm

Ashley Rizzotto, a seasoned career advisor and assistant director at Career and Talent Development, has advised students many times on work-appropriate attire in the span of her professional career. 

Usually Rizzotto meets with students during personal appointments at Career Services in SASC 305 to provide best practices. But amid the coronavirus pandemic, she has tweaked how she works as well as what she recommends to students. 

Rizzotto shares with FIU News her top tips for one of recruitment’s latest trends: virtual interviewing. 

Start prepared, stay ahead.

  1. Rizzotto recommends having access codes or meeting room links at hand prior to the interview to ensure organization and timeliness. 
  2. Invest time into backgrounds,” Rizzotto says. “Be mindful of what the interviewer will see. You want the interviewer to focus on you and not remember your interview for the wrong reasons.”
  3. Be on time. Rizzotto recommends logging into the session at least 5 minutes prior to the meeting time so that interviewees can troubleshoot in the event that there are technical issues. 

She also recommends testing the technology of your audio and video ahead of time to ensure no technical glitches or faults that may distract the interviewer.

Additionally, Rizzotto recommends using a professional username when entering Zoom calls or interviewing chat rooms. “To interviewees, I always say that they should utilize their full name on resumes or applications,” Rizzotto says. “The interviewers may not feel secure letting you into the chat room if you have a nickname or alias.”

Dress as if you’re meeting in person.

  1. Attire impacts your mood. “If you stay in pajamas all day, you're gonna feel like you want to stay laying in bed,” Rizzotto says. “Dressing appropriately will not only present you professionally, but also help to put you in the right headspace for an interview.”
  2. She recommends opting for neutral clothing that is well-fitting with simple accessories. “You don’t want anything too bright or too bold to take the attention off of what you are offering,” Rizzotto says. “If you want to be funky or unique with a pop of color that’s great but remember to dial it down a bit for the interview.”
  3. Rizzotto also mentions the importance of wearing appropriate pants. She says that you want to be in appropriate clothing if you need to stand up unexpectedly, like if you need to grab a charger for your computer. 

Think about what the interviewer will see.

  1. Beware of windows,” Rizzotto says. “You don’t want to create any distractions for the interviewer. Especially if you wear glasses, don’t be positioned in front of any bright lights as they will reflect on your lenses. Also keep in mind that facing away from a window may cast a shadow on you.”  She recommends adjusting lighting so that you are clearly visible, without shadows or distracting reflective lights.
  2. In terms of positioning, Rizzotto recommends that students sit so that their heads and torsos are clearly visible and centered. She mentions the importance of having good posture, even in virtual interviews.
  3. Virtual eye contact. “It feels unnatural,” Rizzotto says, “but you should raise your eyes to the camera. That’s going to seem like you’re looking directly at your interviewer. If you don’t, it may seem like you are looking down while you speak or that you may be distracted.”

Things don’t always go right, but you can do things to help.

  1. Maintain politeness. If someone walks into the room, address it. Rizzotto recommends that interviewees ask for a moment, mute themselves then ask the person politely to leave the room. “Your return should always be opened by saying, ‘My apologies for the distraction,” Rizzotto says.She adds that this rule also goes if there may be too much feedback on the interviewee’s end. “Apologize and ask for time to fix it. Mute your microphone if necessary,” Rizzotto adds.
  2. Interviewees should feel free to ask their interviewer for his or her contact number, in case the connection drops mid-interview. 
  3. Be present. For technical interviews in which candidates may be asked to solve a problem, Rizzotto says that using the internet during an interview is not recommended. “Interviewers can see you typing away,” Rizzotto says. “You want to be mindful and in the moment with those interviewers. Anything that you need, should  be done prior to the interview.” 

Rizzotto says that interviewers understand the changing times and are adapting to be more flexible with technology. She adds that although much of the interview landscape as we knew it is now modified, much of its essence remains the same. 

“You always want to be prepared. You want to practice. You want to be ready for any question that may come your way,” she says. 

“I hope these tips not only help [interviewees] to better manage the technology of the transition, but also help to master the content of interviews and show themselves and their skills during that interview,” Rizzotto concludes. 

Career and Talent Development is hosting a Virtual Exploration Series in which students can learn about navigating virtual career fairs. Students are encouraged to visit the department's YouTube page for videos in a mini-webinar series with tips for navigating Linkedin, Parker Dewey and Handshake.

FIU Handshake is the university's career development portal, where students can apply for jobs, set appointments with professionals, and learn helpful tips on the hiring and negotiation processes. Virtual appointments are available, visit for more interview resources.