How to Make a Good Impression in a Virtual Job Interview

Follow this guide to prep and perfect your video interview skills.

Guidance Provided By: The Handshake Team

There’s no question that for many job-seekers, interviewing is the most intimidating part of the process. But what if you could do it from the comfort of home? For many employers, virtual interviewing is the future—whether you live far away or need to interview remotely for another reason, video conferencing is an easy fix that many companies utilize when meeting candidates “face to face.” 

While video interviewing doesn’t allow for some tried-and-true methods for making a good impression, like giving a firm handshake, there are many ways to wow your potential boss from behind a screen. Simply follow this guide to prep and perfect your video interview skills. 

Prepare in advance 

Be sure to do your research on the employer ahead of time! Log into Handshake and check out their profile, read reviews from peers who’ve worked or interned there, and scope out recent news coverage of the organization for developments. The better equipped you are to ask thoughtful questions, the smoother your conversation will go throughout the interview.

Also use this time to review your resume and the job description, and consider how your past experience might help you exceed in the role. Having this information fresh in your mind will help you feel more confident during the video call.

Show up on time 

This is one of the easiest ways to start things off on the right foot: show up on time! While you don’t need to log on 15-minutes early like you would when arriving for an in-office interview, definitely enter the video chat promptly at the set start time. To ensure that everything goes smoothly, make sure that you’ve got the correct software loaded (if necessary), and consider a test call with a trusted friend to work out any kinks in your connection.  

Dress for success, even remotely

Make sure that you look polished and professional — at least up top. (The beauty of video calls is that nobody will know if you wear sweatpants with your Oxford shirt and tie!) Consider a button-up shirt or blouse, and be sure to groom just as thoughtfully as you would for an in-person meeting. Not only will this help you make a great impression with your interviewer, but wearing clothes that make you feel confident will also help you get your head in the game!

Think about your background

You probably wouldn’t invite your future boss over to your house if it were strewn with socks, right? So don’t let them see that on video! Find a clean, quiet area of your living space where you can take the call. Be sure to speak with any housemates in advance to ensure that nobody will walk behind you or make loud noises while you’re in the middle of discussing your professional strengths and weaknesses.    

Make “eye contact” with the camera

If it helps, consider putting some googly eyes next to your webcam to remind you to look directly at it throughout the call. This gives the appearance of making eye contact, not distractedly staring at your screen! Making eye contact, even if through a laptop, helps foster a sense of genuine connection and attentiveness; it can make all the difference when trying to hit it off with your interviewer. 

Stay focused and visibly engaged 

One way to show your interviewer that you’re motivated and engaged is by practicing active listening. Consider nodding your head to give affirmations of understanding while they talk, and asking clarifying questions when necessary. Also, take hand-written notes! Keep a notebook nearby so that you can jot down questions or key takeaways from the interview without having to disrupt the flow of the conversation with loud typing.

Don’t rely on a cheat sheet, but be prepared

If relevant, be prepared to share your portfolio or examples of work to your interviewer; keep some tabs at the ready and offer to share your screen if the topic comes up. Also, come to the interview with questions that you’d like to ask your interviewer. This shows initiative and genuine interest. (You can find some good examples for interview questions here.)

Remember to stay responsive after you wave goodbye

After you end your call, be sure not to “ghost” your interviewer. Download the Handshake app to ensure that you respond to recruiter messages promptly, and check your email at least twice per day to stay abreast of any outreach or next steps that might land in your inbox!

With these tips in your back pocket, you’ll have all the keys to succeed in your video interview. Now all you have to do is find the right opportunity! Check out this helpful advice for finding a job or internship online, and discover ways to make the most of a remote internship once you’ve got an offer. 

How to Prepare Questions for the Winter Career Fair, With Examples

Tips for developing questions that will help you learn more about employers.

Guidance Provided By: The Handshake Team

Attending DePaul’s upcoming virtual Winter Career Fair (Feb 24) on Handshake will help you get an internship or job as employers focus on hiring students virtually. Virtual career fairs sessions are a great opportunity for you to connect with and learn more about the organizations hiring DePaul students. But how can you stand out to employers and make a great impression? One way is by showing up prepared and having thoughtful questions to ask. Here are some tips for prepping questions, and some examples to help get you started.

Learn about the employer

The first step is to do some research on the employer. Start by reading through their Handshake page, where you’ll get an overview of the organization, see student reviews, and check out the open jobs and internships. Then go through their company website and do an online search for recent news articles, press releases and other relevant information. 

Spending some time before the session to learn more will pay off because it shows the employer your interest in their organization and in getting a job. It’ll also keep you from asking something that is easily found on their Handshake page or website. If you go the extra mile and demonstrate that you’re informed, the employer ambassador will definitely be impressed!

Create a list of questions

Now that you have more information, you can start writing your list of questions. Take time to think about what interests you the most about this employer. What do you want to learn more about? What qualities are important to you in a potential employer? What will help you decide if they are a good fit for you? 

Make a list of your priorities and then fill in questions for each. It’s a good idea to have several questions for each session, in case some are answered by the employer before you have a chance to ask them.

When to ask a question

There are group and one-on-one sessions during virtual career fairs. If you’re attending a group session, make sure to wait for the host to announce that it’s time for questions. Depending on the session, you may have an opportunity to ask your question on video or type it into the chat. One-on-one sessions are an open conversation with the employer, so you should feel free to ask questions as you go. 

Examples of questions

Here are a few examples of questions you can ask during virtual sessions. These are inspiration to help you get started. It’s important to tailor your questions depending on the type of session and your unique interests. 

General employer questions

  • How would you describe the culture of the organization?
  • What is the office environment like? Is it formal or more casual?
  • How does leadership promote diversity and inclusion within the organization? 
  • What support, initiatives, and/or training around diversity and inclusion are available to employees (i.e. employee resource groups, mentorship programs, leadership development)?
  • Are there professional development opportunities?
  • Does the organization encourage employees to pursue advanced degrees? 

Questions about a specific team or job

  • What does success look like in this role? On this team?
  • How would you describe this team? The manager?
  • What are the opportunities for growth in this role? On this team?
  • Do managers encourage innovation and creativity? 
  • How do managers measure success for employees/interns?

Questions for one-on-one sessions

  • What do you like most about working for [employer]?
  • Do you participate in employee resource/social groups?
  • What other teams do you work closely with?
  • What is the best part of your job?
For more tips, check out our guide to attending virtual career fairs.

Your 10 Biggest Virtual Career Fair Questions, Answered

Find answers to the most common questions about virtual recruiting events on Handshake.

Guidance Provided By: The Handshake Team

You may have heard that meeting employers at virtual career fairs will help you land a job or internship this year. But we know you also have some questions—from what to wear to what to ask. is coming up in two weeks, so we’ve gathered the ten most commonly asked questions from students and answered them below so that you can be ready for DePaul’s upcoming Virtual Winter Career Fair on Feb 24.

1. What’s the difference between a group session and a one-on-one session?

Group sessions are primarily for employers to share more about their organizations with students. There is usually a Q&A portion where you can ask the employer a question. One-on-one sessions are 10 minute conversations between you and an employer to discuss your background and experience, as well as current job and internship opportunities.

2. Do I need to sign up for sessions before the virtual career fair starts?

Yes! You should start signing up for sessions once you’ve registered for the fair. One of the biggest benefits of attending a virtual career fair is that you can secure your spot with the employers you want to meet. So it’s important to go through the fair schedule and sign up early for the sessions you want.

3. I don’t see any available sessions with the employers I’m interested in. What should I do?

If you don’t see available sessions, it may mean that the employer is in the process of setting up their sessions, or their current sessions are full. Be sure to check back on the fair schedule in the days and hours leading up to the fair to view newly added sessions. You can also connect with your career center and ask if they’re working with employers to open more session times. 

We also suggest having an open mind when deciding which employers to meet during virtual career fairs. Instead of focusing on the brand names you know, go through the full list of employers who are attending and view their Handshake pages to learn more. You may find a great match for you in an unlikely place.

4. Do I need to be on video?

Having your video on during sessions is optional. You may also communicate with employers through audio or chat features. For one-on-one sessions, we recommend turning your video on to help employers make a strong connection with you. 

For group sessions with more than 15 attendees, student video will not be enabled unless you are asking a question. To ask a question during a group session, click the hand icon on your screen to “raise your hand”. The host will be able to call on you and enable your video.

5. What should I wear if I’m on video? Do I need a suit?

You definitely want to dress to impress during virtual career fairs. But you don’t have to have the full head-to-toe ensemble (unless it makes you feel more confident, in which case go for it!)

You’ll want to look professional up top—that could mean wearing a collared shirt, dressy sweater, or similar top. Choose whatever makes you look pulled together and feel your best.

6. How do I share my resume with employers?

The easiest way to share your resume with employers is to upload it to your Handshake profile and make it visible. If you already have a resume, be sure to mark it as visible so that employers can view it. After you attend a virtual career fair, employers will have access to your resume when they download a list of participants from their sessions. 

Learn more about document visibility in this Handshake Help Center article.

For more information on uploading your resume, watch How to Upload a Document.

7. I don’t want to be late. How soon can I join a session?

You will be able to join a session 5 minutes before the scheduled start time.

8. What types of questions should I ask during a session?

Virtual sessions are an opportunity for you to learn about employers and decide which are a good fit for you. Think about what interests you most about the employer you’re meeting with. What do you want to learn more about? Is it company culture? Career growth opportunities? Make a list of your priorities and then fill in questions for each. 

Take a bit of time to research each employer before your sessions. This will help you come up with a list of questions. It will also show the employer that you’re informed and prepared—two qualities they like to see!

Check out their Handshake page for overview of the organization, student reviews, as well as open jobs and internships. Then head to their company website, and do a quick online search for recent news articles, press releases and other relevant information. This may help inspire your list of questions.

You can find more tips for preparing questions and sample questions here.

9. How should I introduce myself during a one-on-one session?

The employers you meet during one-on-one sessions want to learn more about you and see if you’re a good fit for their open jobs or internships. So it’s important to prepare a brief introduction about yourself, including your background, studies, and career goals. Then practice with a friend or family member ahead of the fair so you’re ready.

Find more tips for drafting your “elevator pitch” here.

10. Can I drop out of group sessions early or should I wait for them to end?

If you want to make a good impression with employers, you’ll want to stay for the entire session. You wouldn’t leave a one-on-one session early—so don’t disappear from a group session either. Employers have busy schedules just like you, and they’re taking valuable time to help you get to know their organization. Staying until the end of a session demonstrates that you’re responsible and respectful of their time.

For more tips and advice, check out our guide to attending virtual career fairs or visit the Handshake Help Center.

50+ Black-Owned and Led Companies to Follow

Dozens of Black-owned and Black-led companies hire students and recent alumni on Handshake. Follow these companies to discover your next career move.

Guidance Provided By: The Handshake Team

Below is listed 50+ Black-owned or Black-led (Black CEO) companies across diverse industries that have hired students who are on the Handshake network. This list includes Fortune 500 companiesdozens of fast-growing startups, and non-profit leaders. Explore this list, then log into Handshake and search for the companies you’re interested in. Hit “Follow” to receive notifications about upcoming opportunities. You can also reach out to peers on the Handshake network who have worked at these companies for more information.

NameIndustryHeadquarters
Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm ProjectFarming, Ranching and FishingCalifornia
Ariel InvestmentsInvestment / Portfolio ManagementIllinois
Baldwin Richardson Foods Co.CPG – Consumer Packaged GoodsIllinois
BCT PartnersManagement ConsultingNew Jersey
Black Aids InstituteNon-ProfitCalifornia
Black Girls CODENon-ProfitCalifornia
Black Women’s BlueprintNon-ProfitNew York
BlavityJournalism, Media & PublishingCalifornia
Bridgewaters InteriorsManufacturingMichigan
CastleOak Securities, L.P.Investment BankingNew York
Chemico, LLCOther IndustriesMichigan
Citizens Savings BankCommercial Banking & CreditMississippi
Cipher Skin Inc.Other IndustriesColorado
Color of ChangeNon-ProfitCalifornia
Daymond John – The Shark GroupAdvertising, PR & MarketingNew York
Destiny Arts CenterNon-ProfitCalifornia
Diversant, LLCHuman ResourcesCalifornia
Epitec, IncOther IndustriesMichigan
Equal Justice InitiativeNon-ProfitAlabama
Fair Oaks Farms (Wisconsin)Food & BeveragesWisconsin
Girls for a ChangeNon-ProfitVirginia
Global Commerce and ServicesInternet & SoftwareLouisiana
GN BankCommercial Banking & CreditIllinois
Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + CulturePerforming and Fine ArtsNorth Carolina
JOURNiOther EducationMichigan
KairosNon-ProfitOregon
Loops Capital Markets, LLCInvestment BankingIllinois
Merck & Co., IncPharmaceuticalsNew Jersey
My Brother’s KeeperNon-ProfitMassachusetts
NAACPGovernment – Local, State & FederalMaryland
NAACP LDFNon-ProfitNew York
National Urban LeagueNon-ProfitNew York
Nightlight Pediatric Urgent CareHealthcareTexas
OneUnited BankAdvertising, PR & MarketingMassachussetts
O, The Oprah Magazine (Hearst)Journalism, Media & PublishingNew York
Pharos Capital GroupInvestment / Portfolio ManagementTexas
PindropInternet & SoftwareGeorgia
Rocket LawyerInternet & SoftwareCalifornia, Utah
Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co., LLCInvestment BankingNew York
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and CultureTourismDistrict of Columbia
Tapestry, Inc.FashionNew York
TaskRabbitInternet & SoftwareCalifornia
The Anderson-DuBose CompanyTransportation & LogisticsOhio
The Essie Justice GroupNon-ProfitCalifornia
The Innocence ProjectNon-ProfitNew York
Thompson Hospitality GroupRestaurants & Food ServicesVirginia
TIAAInvestment / Portfolio ManagementNew York
Uncharted PowerUtilities and RenewablesNew York
Vista Equity PartnersInvestment / Portfolio ManagementTexas
World Wide TechnologyComputer NetworkingMissouri
Zume PizzaRestaurants & Food ServicesCalifornia