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Preparing for the Digital Interview

Guest blogger Amanda Callahan, a BASF recruiter, wants to help students be ready for digital interviews.

As if the thought of interviewing wasn’t intimidating enough, the world decided to throw us another curve ball… the necessity of virtual interviews. Virtual interviews will be part of life for now, so the best thing one can do is be ready to nail it! Here are just a few tips that will hopefully help you be prepared and feel more comfortable and confident for when your virtual interview time comes.

Test the technology ahead of time

You are going to see a myriad of technologies for digital interviews this year- Zoom, Webex, Skype for Business, etc. and, to keep you on your toes, all have slightly different functionality, system requirements, etc. Prior to your interview, log in to the interview technology to ensure everything is ready to go before the official interview starts. This will alleviate so much unnecessary stress later on for you.

But I tested the technology and I’m still having an issue- my chances are ruined!

Trust us, we understand! We’ve all been dealing with technical issues over the past 4+ months, but here’s the REALLY important takeaway here- a technical hiccup isn’t going to “ruin” your chances for getting the job, but your reaction to said hiccup could make or break the interview. This is a key time for interviewers to see how well you stay cool under pressure or how well you can adapt when things don’t go to plan. So, if technology goes haywire, focus on getting yourself back to a point where they can at least hear you, allow them to offer you some guidance, then put the issue in the past and get back to focusing on the interview questions that you worked so hard to practice.

Be sure to have an interview point of contact

In the event you run into any issues, make sure you have a company rep’s phone number or email address to contact them. At BASF, we make it a point to let candidates know how best to reach us if they have a problem. If you don’t have this information, reach out to whomever scheduled your interview to request “In the even that I experience technical difficulties, who could I reach out to during the interview time?”

Check your background/camera angles/lighting

If there ever was a moment to be Instagram-worthy, this is it! Before the interview starts, make sure there is nothing distracting or offensive in your background. Some software programs allow you to upload your own background or add a solid color background. You should also ensure that the camera is pointing directly at your face as best as possible (you don’t want your camera angle to be too high or too low), even if this means needing to use something to prop your laptop on like a box or book. Make sure the lighting isn’t too dark or too bright so that we can’t see your face. It may help to face a source of natural light, like a window, or add tabletop lights to each side of your monitor.

Also, while we’re talking about distractions, don’t fret if the dog suddenly decides to bark at the mailman or a parent struts into your room out of nowhere- these are all things that are part of the “new normal” and will not be held against you. As a matter of fact, your interviewers are human too, and there’s a good chance the same thing can or will happen to them.

Look at the camera

I know there is frequently the temptation to look at yourself in the bottom corner of the screen, but remember, if you were interviewing in person, you’d be looking the interviewers in the eye (…right??). Looking directly into the camera will give the closest perception of “eye contact” that you can get in a virtual interview.

Be aware of distracting gestures/mannerisms

Finally, something familiar! All of the same rules that you’ve learned about sitting up straight, no flailing hands, no gum chewing, etc. still apply during a virtual interview. Just be in tune to new or different distractions (can we say swivel computer chair? And I know this from my own personal experience of being a “chair swiveler”…)

At the end of the day, here’s what we want you to know:

  • We wish we didn’t have to meet you over video/technology

  • We sooooo wish we could be sitting in the Career Services office meeting you face-to-face.

  • We know that virtual interviewing just doesn’t quite feel the same.

  • We, like you, are going to have technology issues, our kid is going to unexpectedly run into the video screen, but none of that really matters.

  • What matters is that you prepared, you’ve worked hard to get where you are, and you nail the interview questions.

  • We’ll get through all that other “stuff”- we’re in this together. And together, we’ll make it work.

For additional information about how to prepare for a digital interview check out this extensive resource from Big Interview The Ultimate Guide to Acing Your Next Video Interview. This article provides a tutorial on how to set up lighting, sample questions, interview attire and much more. Don’t forget to tap in Lehigh’s Career Center resources. Schedule a mock digital interview on Handshake.

More about BASF

At BASF, we create chemistry through the power of connected minds. By balancing economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility, we are building a more sustainable future through chemistry. As the world’s leading chemical company, we help our customers in nearly every industry meet the current and future needs of society through science and innovation.

We provide a challenging and rewarding work environment with a strong emphasis on process safety, as well as the safety of our employees and the communities we operate in, and are always working to form the best team—especially from within, through an emphasis on lifelong learning and development. We are constantly striving to become an even better place to work. BASF has been recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of America’s Best Employers in 2019 and by Diversity Inc as #14 on the Top 50 Companies for Diversity. Come join us on our journey to create solutions for a sustainable future!

At Lehigh, we are specifically recruiting for our Commercial (Procurement) & Sales Professional Development Program, in which we’ll accept any business discipline or any other business-related major. BASF also hires Chemical & Mechanical Engineers, Accounting & Finance, MBA, PhD, and Supply Chain students for Internships and full-time rotational programs. Visit handshake for application instructions, visit BASF at the virtual Career Expo on Sept 10, 2020 or email

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