The MHA@GW Video Interview: Tips for Success

Video interviews are often used by colleges and universities — including the George Washington University — as a means for getting to know prospective students. More personal than a phone call and more convenient than an in-person meeting, a video interview provides us an opportunity to learn firsthand about your academic interests and career goals. Plus, it offers you the chance to learn more about the academic program to which you are applying. Participating in a video interview can be a powerful way to stand out from other qualified applicants.

Lights, camera, interview!

In theory, participating in an interview via web camera may sound easy enough. However, this type of interview requires some additional preparation. Should you be invited to take part in a video interview, keep in mind the following tips: 

Before the interview:

  • Plug in and power up. Don’t let a technology glitch interfere with your performance. Check in advance to see that your equipment is working, your web camera is functional, your audio is at an optimal level and your connection is clear. If your Internet connection frequently drops out, it might be smart to have a backup plan.
  • Consider your environment. Find a quiet room with good lighting and a simple background. Make sure the room is not only free of any interruptions, but also neat and presentable. Dirty clothes in the background or piles of papers on your desk are distracting and can convey that you are messy and disorganized.
  • Do a trial run. As with anything, practice makes perfect. Enlist the help of a friend or family member to do a few trial runs. This will help you get a feel for how you look and act on camera — and adjust as necessary.

During the interview:

  • Dress your professional best. A common mistake for video interviews is to approach the situation more casually than an in-person meeting. Now is not the time to skimp out on hygiene. Brush your teeth, comb your hair, and ensure your attire is professional and clean. Avoid wearing bright colors or patterns, as they can be distracting.
  • Be prepared, but not scripted. It’s a good idea to research the school and prepare answers to potential questions. However, avoid sounding too scripted in your conversation. Have a few bullet points on hand so that you can remember the points you want to make without sounding too rehearsed. Two questions to expect during your MHA@GW interview include:
    1. What is your typical way of dealing with conflict? Give an example.
    2. Give an example of a time when you tried to accomplish something and failed. What did you learn from that experience? 
  • Look into the camera, not at the screen. While it may be tempting to look at your interviewer on your computer screen, this does not look good from the interviewer’s end. Treat the camera as if it is another person in the room with you and make regular eye contact with it
  • Relax and be authentic. Speak clearly and smile. Demonstrate your enthusiasm through body language and other nonverbal communication and let your personality shine.
  • Ask questions. A video interview is a great opportunity to ask your admissions counselor any questions that you have that can help you get a better feel for the program and what might be expected of you if you are accepted.

After the interview:

  • Follow up. Just like an in-person interview, it’s important to thank your interviewer. Make a point to send your interviewer a thank-you note — via email or mail — soon after your discussion.

The big difference between a video interview and an in-person admissions interview really boils down to one thing: location. Everything else about it — the objective of the interview, the questions you will be asked, and the manner in which you present yourself — remains the same. As a result, you have more control over the setting and atmosphere than you would in person. Use this to your advantage to help ensure you give your best performance possible.

For more information about the role a video interview plays in your MHA@GW application, as well as how to apply, visit the Applications Requirements section of the MHA@GW website.