How A Cheat Sheet Can Help You Ace Your Next Video Interview

from Fast Company

One of the advantages of interviewing during a pandemic is that you’re likely to be able to do it from the comfort of your own home through videoconferencing. Not only does it save time by eliminating a commute; you can set up your environment to help you shine. Having a cheat sheet can help, but it also has the potential to derail your interview, says Cheryl Hyatt, a partner with Hyatt-Fennell Executive Search.

“Any candidate interviewing for a position, whether it’s in person or virtual, should make some type of notes,” she says. “When you’re in person, you may not pull them out to read from them, but looking at a list before you go into the meeting can help you remember what you want to discuss. When you’re interviewing virtually, though, you have the advantage of being able to have them out, but you still have to be careful using them.”

Don’t write long paragraphs, says Hyatt. Instead, create bullet points of things you want to remember or to share. Hyatt suggests creating notes on these three areas:

More here.

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  1. Due to Covid-19 many people are scared or can’t go out to many things such as interviews. Job interviews are very important, and while before you couldn’t have a cheat sheet, now you can due to zoom calls or team calls and you can have answers on questions you may stutter on or not be expecting so you have a little of time and to work on yourself. You also don’t have to wake up “early” and get to places and worry about being late, because if its on zoom then you don’t worry about a train delay or traffic depending on your transportation. It also maybe easier for some people to do zoom calls, because some may be shy or they may not be so talkative and may not be comfortable in front of other people so it may go both ways. Having a cheat sheet is a good way to organize your thoughts and idea of what questions you may have to ask because in person interviews you may forget so a cheat sheet would have your back. Also you could jot notes down while on the zoom call, which is something you probably can’t do in person so its a positive for a cheat sheet. However you have to make sure that you don’t glance at your cheat sheet for too long or look at something directly while you’re reading or they will think you are not prepared for the job. So you have to be aware of what you’re doing and be aware of how you can succeed or fail at your appointment so you just need to careful and make sure you make the best possibility.

  2. Over the better half of the last year, Covid-19 has drastically altered interpersonal interaction. The workplace has certainly not been immune to these changes, with hires and fires becoming common occurrence amid the uncertainty of the economy. This phenomenon has sent a great deal of the workforce back to the drawing board of interviewing. I see nothing ethically wrong with the idea of using a cheat sheet during an interview. With the nerves and pressures that come from interviewing, it is often difficult for people to present their best and most confident selves. If a cheat sheet allows you to present the premier version of yourself without commandeering the interview, I see no issue. Companies want you to succeed and feel comfortable in the hiring process, so you should do whatever (within reason) boosts your confidence to do so.

    As an aspiring professional applying for internships, I found this article relevant and comforting. A cheat sheet is no excuse for not doing my “homework” on the company but can ultimately aid in highlighting all of the hard work I have done to get this far in the hiring process. For example, I work as a Tour Guide with the Office of Admissions and have been giving virtual tours throughout the semester. Though I believe myself to be a strong public speaker and know the material well, it is difficult to give virtual tours based on photos alone in a slide show. Before each tour, I review the agenda of what I would like to cover and take notes. I then hang Post-It notes above my computer screen to help, in the event that I have a mental block or stumble. Though I do not refer to my notes often, it is comforting to have some sort of “backup plan” to rely on. This method ensures that I will give my best possible virtual tour and create a positive experience for prospective students. An article by Aja Frost titled, “Phone and Skype Interviews Are the Worst, Unless You’re Prepared Like This” suggests making one Post-It with notes including “the skills you really want to highlight, your most impressive achievements, or even the reminder to smile.” If done right, these simple reminders can be the key to successfully nailing the difficult art of virtual interviewing.

    In an everchanging and uncertain world, it may be useful to develop tactics that equip oneself to thrive in the diverse array of interview environments. Though video and phone interviews are not ideal, they may be a new reality of the job search. As mentioned previously, using a cheat sheet should not be an easy way to avoid researching the company, but a way to highlight key points to speak on in hopes of strengthening your case to join the team. You should always try to put your best self out into the work world, and a cheat sheet has the power to quell your nerves and boost your confidence come interview day.

  3. I thought that this article was extremely helpful for not only preparing for an interview, but just preparation in general. I have never done a job interview before, so this information is extremely helpful and will definitely be put to good use. I also thought it was intriguing that the article is saying the fact that the interview is online to your advantage. Honestly, this is just a good life skill in general; to be able to take advantage of your situation. The three-step system that the author creates, and employs is honestly quite simple and can be adapted to a multitude of situations. The first step being the company or topic. Here you must do a thorough search of your company/topic to find its basic history, key players, mission, values, and culture. The second step is identifying your strengths on your topic or your credentials for your field of work. Cheryl Hyatt, a partner with Hyatt-Fennell Executive Search, “Maybe it’s examples of something you’ve done within your current company that would be similar to something the new employer might find impressive,” says Hyatt. “You don’t need your full résumé; you know what you did. Prepare bullet points about highlights from your career that you want to share with them.” Personally, I thought these were important quotes, because you do not want to make it sound like you a reading, you want it to sound like a genuine conversation. The third and final step of process is writing down any questions about your company/topic or anything you are struggling with on the topic. Lastly, Hyatt ends the article off with this quote: “One important post-it to have up there is either a word or a drawing that reminds you to smile. If you smile when you’re talking it helps with your nerves and helps you better connect to the interviewer.” This quote is important as it is always imperative to maintain your “cool” and stay composed. Smiling will also help reduce stress and gives off the impression you are happy and are intrigued with the topic at hand.

  4. I really appreciate this article and the insight it offers about preparing for interviews. Now more than ever, we have the opportunity to be able to make ourselves feel more comfortable before heading into an interview by using virtual interviews to our advantage. Stephanie Vozza makes the readers aware of how to effectively provide ourselves with a cheat sheet that can help guide us during our interviews by highlighting important things to mention such as our accomplishments, qualifications, job history, etc. Personally, for the longest time I was highly terrified of being interviewed. Mostly due to the fact that I did not know what questions I would be asked and at the end of the day, I just wanted to leave a good impression. Sometimes it is easy to psych ourselves out when our nerves can simply be reduced by preparing ahead of time for the interview. One of the important things the article mentioned is not allowing the cheat sheet to consume us in that it makes our “notes derail the interview” (Vozza). What this means to me is that it is okay to prepare for interviews, but let your notes serve as an outline versus an actual script that offers no kind of flexibility.

    I think a lot of people do not really consider the effectiveness of preparing for interviews versus just answering questions in the spur-of-the-moment. At least that was the way I used to view interviews. I had to come to the understanding that interviews, although important, are not as much of a reflection of how well I can articulate myself and answer questions right on the spot. Instead, I had to understand being interviewed is a skill that requires strategy and a demonstration of great communication skills. As a result of me being very introverted and because I do not do too well with small talk, the questions like “if you were an animal, what would you be?” get me almost every single time. However, when I realized that the question was a lighthearted way of getting to know my characteristics and qualities, it became easier for me to answer the question and not freeze up because it seems like small talk. Careerwise advises readers that “Making a question like this work for you is all about preparation… as well as demonstrating that you can think outside the box.”

    I have not had many interviews in my past, but with the three interviews that I have had thus far, I noticed my nerves were more controlled when I rehearsed with myself some potential questions my interviewer might ask me versus just answering the questions the best way I know how in the moment. Anytime I prepare for an interview, I can leave knowing that I answered the questions really taking into consideration what makes me qualified to pursue the job. Whenever I do not prepare for an interview, I often feel insecure about how well I answered the questions and if I really proved to the interviewer that I am truly the one for the job. In essence, this article makes perfect sense because if the interviewer should prepare a set of questions to ask the interviewee ahead of time, what makes the interviewee any different from making sure that he or she prepares before the interview even begins?

    Works Cited

    Careerwise. “Unusual Interview Questions – What Kind of Animal Would You Be?” CareerWise, CareerWise, 21 Apr. 2020,

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