Angeli: Video Interviews Aren’t That Scary

Ah, senior year. While your academic career might be slowing down, your professional career is only beginning. This time can thus be scarily summed up in two words: job search. Depending on your major and dream position, this *super* fun extracurricular might entice you as early as August or as late as May, but I’m sure I speak for all seniors when I say the consequent anxiety can last year-round.
I think what makes this chapter of undergraduate life so nerve-wrecking is all of the novelty it entails. Applying for internships is one thing, but applying for a full-time job is a very different ball game. The interviewing process often takes more rounds and requirements than you’re used to. You’ll likely be asked questions you’ve never prepared for. You’ll have to consider annual salary and benefits, vital necessities you’ve never really thought about before. Then, once you land the position, there’s the possibility of moving to a brand new city and having to find a new home and new friends.
I myself am still at the earlier stages of this course. I’ve started my application series and am now facing my own set of first’s. One of the most recent and most daunting is something we professionals like to call the “video interview.” For those who have never had to do one before (or yet), it’s an interesting concept to say the least. Essentially, instead of the traditional phone interview, a lot of companies are modernizing their first or second round of interviewing by using softwares that allow for online, recorded interviews. Here’s how it works:
 
1) You’re given a question to answer either written in text or delivered in a prerecorded video by your interviewer.
2) You have a controlled amount of time to think of your response (for me, it was 20 seconds.)
3) You have a controlled amount of time to record your response (for me, it was 2 minutes.) 
4) You revert to Step 1 until you’ve answered all of the questions (for me, it was a set of 6.)
When I recently received an email invitation to complete this kind of interview from a company at the top of my list, I was incredibly excited to have advanced to the next round of the application but also SO nervous. I had no idea what to expect, other than a horror story from my older brother about him cracking under the time-crunch pressure the last time he had to complete a video interview. Not wanting fear to get in the way of an immense opportunity, I aggressively surfed the web to prep myself as much as possible. Ultimately, I’m a video interviewer survivor quite happy with how it  turned out. I thought I should share what I learned with my fellow COM kids so you too can tackle this potential challenge.
Tip #1: PRACTICE.
Some video interviewing softwares, such as Wepow (the one I had to use), allow you to gain some experience before your actual interview via a couple of optional practice questions. I HIGHLY recommend taking advantage of this feature if it’s offered so that you don’t go in blind and can calm some of your nerves. If you’re unsure of whether you’ll have practice questions or want to build your confidence earlier, you can also take matters into your own hands by simply practicing with your webcam. Ask yourself some typical interview questions (see Tip #2) and set a timer of two minutes to see how eloquently you can answer under the constraint.
Tip #2: PREPARE.
Just as you would for any other kind of interview, make sure to do your research. Familiarize yourself with the company as much as possible but also see what you can find regarding its usual interviewing procedure from sources like Glassdoor and LinkedIn (hello BU alumni…) If you’re lucky, you’ll find questions asked to past applicants that can give you an idea of what to expect. If not, you can just look up and/or hypothesize typical questions asked in first or second rounds. From there, you can jot down ideas for answers that you can use while practicing. If you’re really lucky, you’ll end up prepping yourself for questions actually posed in the video interview. It happened to me!
Tip #3: POWER POSE.
Ever since I watched this life-changing Ted Talk in high school, I’ve been a huge proponent of power posing. If you’re feeling nervous as your mouse hovers over that interview link, take a moment to breathe and literally lift yourself up. Remind yourself that you’ve got this because the most important thing is to be yourself. Employers aren’t looking for robotic responses. You’ll want your recordings to feel as natural as an in-person conversation. And trust me, you’ll survive.

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Angeli: Unsolicited Advice from a Resident Senior

I think by now any consistent readers of this COM Ambassador blog will know that I’m the emotional one. Whether it was sappily reminiscing on my first Open House as a newly admitted student or somehow relating my Australian study abroad experience to Lizzie McGuire’s Italian love affair, I’ve managed to make all of my contributions here just the right level of cheesy. And now that I’m a senior, you should expect nothing less, my devoted fandom.
It’s only (already?!) October, and I can just about feel my time at BU slipping through my fingertips. To be as cliche as I possibly can, it feels like yesterday that I was a senior in high school, rolling my eyes as older relatives/teachers/neighbors/my parents’ friends/just about every adult I ever encountered preached to me how college would be the best time of my life. Though I may have gotten tired of that redundant spiel at the time, boy does it sound nice being that annoyed eighteen year old right about now. I never doubted those who set my expectations sky high for these four years, but I also never thought my expectations would be exceeded. Despite any rough patches I may had during college, as I’m sure everyone has, I would not change a single experience at BU, as I feel that all of them having truly shaped who I am today.
See, I warned you this would get sappy and quick. But please, if you’re a prospective student or underclassman especially, stay with me a little longer because I have some wisdom that might actually be helpful. I’m not going to sit here (in the Questrom library to be exact – great study spot btw) and act like I’m all high and mighty just because I’m a senior. Three years and two months in college has taught me a lot, but it sure as Rhett hasn’t taught me everything. I can, however, say that I know what it feels like to be a freshman, worried that you’re not taking the right classes or making the “friends for life” that your parents have…to be a sophomore, uneasy about declaring your major because what if you end up hating it in a semester or aren’t actually good at what you’re interested in..to be a junior, feeling on top of the world when on campus but far less confident in professional settings because that other intern seems to know a lot more about x, y, and z. Yep, that’s right. You’re not the only who’s had such insecurities nor will you be the last. Those times of unease and discomfort and maybe even a little embarrassment are as much what college is about as the courses you take or dorm life you have. Better yet, there’s no better feeling than being able to look back at an insecurity a year (or two or three) later and say that you’ve conquered it and that it maybe was a little silly to have in the first place.
Before I really go off on a motivational speaker tangent, I’ll leave you with a final anecdote. A couple of weeks ago, I had my COM Ambassador group over for cookies and updates. They all filled me in on their freshman/transfer transitions thus far and seemed to grow gradually more anxious as they asked me questions like “How do I know if  *insert major* is right for me?” or “How do I get an internship?” The question I was most surprised but also most glad to be asked, however, was “I know that good grades are obviously impressive, but what else do you think is important to have on your resume?” I reinterpreted this one a bit in order to fill them all in on advice that had been passed down to me through former peers, employers and professors alike, which I hope will only continue being shared. Yes, grades are important. And so are internships. And so are extracurriculars. And so is any and every other endeavor you pursue in college so long as you enjoy what you’re doing. Join a club because you want to, not because you think it’ll look impressive in the future. Then stick with it if you like it or quit and join another! Take classes and pursue those degrees that interest you because I promise, no matter how hard the material gets, you’ll want to master it. A minor in Comp Sci, for instance, won’t make you seem smarter or more “employable” if you never really put your all into it anyway. Bottom line, the only person who can waste your precious time these four years (because it is precious) is YOU. So take control of how it’s spent.

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