COVID-19 has had a major impact on all aspects of fellowship recruitment. To ensure the safety of candidates and interviewers, we’ve had to adapt and will be conducting interviews virtually. With this new process, there will be a learning curve while everyone adjusts. Here are some tips and tricks from two current fellows on how to make sure your virtual interviews go smoothly. We look forward to e-meeting you!

Belle Estee Dante (BD) is a second year Global Commercial Strategy: Rare Diseases fellow with MCPHS/Sanofi Genzyme. Cally Yan (CY) is a first year Global Drug Safety fellow with MCPHS/Alexion.

With interviews being virtual this year, how can candidates prepare?

BD: Once your interviews are scheduled, confirm with your scheduling coordinator what platform the interviewers will be using and any other specific expectations that they are able to offer at that time (i.e. expect webcam to be on, any virtual background that they prefer/are able to provide).

CY: Candidates can prepare by becoming familiar with the basic features of all potential technological platforms that might be used to conduct interviews (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Webex, etc).

What are some ideas to avoid glitches that may occur during an interview?

BD: Our team plans to use a single Zoom link with the “waiting room” feature enabled to ensure there is no confusion with Zoom links between candidates. We also plan to send a preparation guide in hopes of providing transparency and clear any uncertainty surrounding this new interviewing environment.

CY: It is a good idea for candidates to double-check their internet connection and surroundings (professional background and quiet location) before dialing into an interview.

Do you have any other advice for candidates?

BD: Try to be mindful of certain non-verbal communication elements that may be lost through a virtual platform. We want our candidates to be as authentic as possible! In order to let your personality shine through Zoom, please test out different lighting options so interviewers can see your expressions as clearly as possible. In lieu of “eye contact,” be sure to direct your conversation towards the screen with the webcam attached so your interviewers feel that you are engaged in the interview. We can’t wait to meet you all!

CY: I encourage candidates to take advantage of this unique situation and interview with more companies than what is possible in a physical setting.

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