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Words of Wisdom from the Professionals: Online Interviews


Virtual interviews are now a commonality among upperclassmen and recent grads due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The experience can be awkward and slightly more stressful than an in-person interview. The job market has bounced back compared to a year ago, when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

I spoke to two professionals who have plenty of experience with the virtual interview process about what students should anticipate in preparation for a successful interview.

Shelly Lummus-Parrish, vice president of Experian’s Business Information System vertical sales team, oversees the corporate recruitment team. Her recruiters conduct initial interviews, and then send prospective employees to her for a panel interview.

Panel interviews online are challenging! Maintaining eye contact with a group of professionals on screen can be just as intimidating as an in-person panel interview. However, Lummus-Parrish says it is extremely important to her process.

“The panel allows me to see the person in action and informs me of their ability to build rapport, comfort level with executives they don’t know, strength of sales process and business acumen.”

When asked what most graduates were missing from their portfolios, Lummus-Parrish said,   “Experience…identify opportunities while you’re in college to gain work experience that will support your career aspirations.” Apply for internships, attend career fairs, and be proactive during your job search.

In addition to experience, leadership is another important aspect of one’s portfolio. Find opportunities to be a leader on campus and reference those experiences during your interview. Show that you are confident in yourself and in your experiences.

Lummus-Parrish said her biggest piece of advice is to network, network, network.  Keep in touch with neighbors, coworkers, classmates, professors and use them. She said it is crucial for recent graduates to network and, “be curious and try to identify what you want and what you don’t want.  Lean in and make it happen.”

“No one is going to come knock on your door.”-Shelly Lummus-Parrish

Division Director, Trish Kellogg, manages a team of recruiters at Beacon Hill Staffing Group. Her team of recruiters serve to provide employment opportunities for office and administrative positions.

Kellogg has had a wide range of experiences and stories to share. The most interesting story being one of her recruiters witnessing an arrest during an interview. Kellogg shared that her recruiter could hear a knocking sound over the speaker of the interviewee’s device and soon after the police made their way inside. As it turns out, the interviewee was a felon.

When it comes to online interviews Kellogg recommends having the top five video platforms downloaded ahead of time in case of technical difficulties. Zoom, WhatsApp, and Microsoft Teams are just some of the platforms that are easy to access in case of technical difficulties.

Have a clean background and be sure you are well lit. Also, have your camera set at the right angle so that you can maintain eye contact without looking down.

“ Video interviews are challenging for the candidate because it can be difficult to have a personal connection during the interview…when speaking to a screen.”

Be prepared! Kellogg said there are two common problems that many recent graduates have during their job searches: Being unable to sell themselves, and having a clean, professional social media presence.

“ When you get into the work world you have to have a clean social media presence.” -Trish Kellogg

Kellogg and Lummus-Parrish encourage students to gain experience through internships and use all available resources at UNG.

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Words of Wisdom from the Professionals: Online Interviews