Online job interviews have become a norm as many companies use technology to conduct interviews. Although online interviews should be treated the same as an interview in-person, there may be some major differences, for example, you are merely recording your answers rather than conversing with the interviewer.
It may seem stressful, especially if you are doing it for the first time. Don’t worry, here are some valuable tips to ace an online interview.
Once you have been shortlisted for an interview, start by researching the company and even your interviewers via LinkedIn or Google Search. Acquaint yourself with the information to show that you understand the company’s goals and make a perfect fit for the job.
Let’s look into other important aspects before the actual day of the interview.
1. Select your device
Decide which device you would be comfortable navigating, whether it is a computer, smartphone or tablet. More importantly, use a device that is reliable. In most cases, a laptop or desktop computer would be the best choice.
2. Select a suitable location
When you set up for an interview, bear in mind what the interviewer will be seeing in the background. A clean room that appears to be businesslike would be ideal. Avoid setting up in a common living area as it is unprofessional and tends to give away unnecessary information about the way you live. Ensure the space also has appropriate lighting for clear visibility during the interview.
3. Test the hardware and software
Test all the equipment you will be using on the day of the interview. These include your camera, lighting, sound, video software and of course, the internet connection. It is advisable to use an Ethernet cable for uninterrupted connection rather than Wi-fi as video conferencing takes up more bandwidth. Watch tutorials on how to use common software such as Skype, Google Hangout or Zoom and conduct practice calls with friends or colleagues.
4. Do a mock interview
Do a practice run of the interview (this includes your response to common interview questions and potential questions for the interviewer). Record the entire interview and ask for feedback from friends or colleagues within the same industry or even family members. Review the recording and make adjustments accordingly.
5. Have a backup plan
Be prepared if something goes wrong on the day of the interview. Inform the interviewer in advance that you may switch to a phone call if any connection issue arises.
On the day of the interview
Create a good impression by being early. This way you have ample time to log in or to fix any connection issues that may arise beforehand.
2. Test all equipment
Conduct a trial run at least an hour before the interview. Practice your sitting posture and angle via the webcam before the interview to ensure everything is working. Repeat the same routine about 30 minutes before the interview.
3. Appearance and attire
Dress appropriately for the job you are seeking. Generally, business casual is the preferred choice. Although you may be seated, it is advisable to wear proper shoes, especially when you are required to stand and greet your interviewer online.
The right attire creates a good first impression. Don’t forget to test how you appear on the webcam beforehand!
4. Avoid distractions
Be sure to switch off all apps or programs that could disrupt the interview. Put your phone on silent mode and switch off alarms and any other devices. Keep your pets away, too!
5. Body language
Maintain eye contact with the interviewer and smile when necessary. Look into the camera when you are speaking and not at the interviewer’s face on the screen and lean in occasionally. This will show the interviewer that you are engaged and not distracted by anything around you. Good posture is important to convey a positive image and keep your hands on your lap.
6. Speaking, Listening and Taking Notes
As you would be relying on technology, remember to speak slowly and clearly as there may be moments of delay in transmission through the microphone. Speak politely and enunciate your words so that the interviewer can hear and understand you clearly.
Be attentive and listen carefully to the interviewer. Take two or three seconds before responding to avoid any miscommunication. Keep your resume or notes off-camera for quick reference or to highlight certain points you might want to make. Subtly glance through your notes once in a while. Don’t forget to keep a pen and some paper handy.
Impress your potential employer with sufficient practice and the right preparation!