Mastering your online interview: Useful tips and tricks
August 27, 2020
It is no wonder that interviewing is the most intimidating part of the job application process.
Whether it is because you live far from work, or due to the Covid-19 social distancing policy, there are many ways to wow your employers in an online interview. Although a virtual interview often comes with many challenges, when done right, it can provide unbeatable advantages.
In this article, we have collected some useful tips that will help you prepare and perfect your online interview skills.
Before the interview
Careful preparation is an important element for any interview, but it is especially critical for a virtual one. The video call is an open window to your personal life, so try your best to be professional, on time and organized.
Dress to impress
Just because you’re on video doesn’t mean you can slack off on your appearance. Dressing conscientiously will communicate your level of professionalism with the interviewer.
You will want to be just as formal as you would be in an in-person interview. Dress yourself with clean, smart casual. We recommend wearing solid colors though, as stripes and complex patterns can appear ‘glitchy’ on the video.
Set up your environment
When you go into an office, the company and your interviewer are in charge of the physical setting, but for a video interview, you are.
Most importantly here, pay careful attention to your background. Keep it blank, uncluttered and move all distractions so they don’t interfere with the camera focusing on you.
For lighting, try to avoid any direct backlighting or light shining directly over your head. Besides the natural light, you could add a lamp to one side or in front of your face to get your whole self well lit.
Additionally, don’t forget to silence anything that could interfere with your conversation, including your phone and notifications on your computer.
Check your devices
In this day and age, technology can be overwhelming and with online interviews especially, you need to feel comfortable using whichever meeting platform your prospective employer prefers. Once you’re familiarized with the software, make sure that your webcam, headphones and internet are fully working.
Keep in mind that it is preferred to do your video call on a laptop, as joining a call from a mobile phone can come across unprofessional if not done properly.
One day before the call, you can cut down on technical difficulties by testing out the setup with the same software and hardware you’ll be using for the interview. Make sure that you have a backup plan, whether it is a spare headset or an extra line of internet connection.
During the interview
Appropriate eye contact speaks of confidence and self-esteem. However, making eye contact during an online interview is more difficult than you might think. When answering questions, you will need to focus your gaze directly into the webcam instead of the computer screen. Avoid looking at yourself or the interviewer on the screen because it will show that your eyes are looking elsewhere and may create a feeling of disconnection.
Reading body language through a video is hard, so be especially aware of your nonverbal cues. It’s distracting and feels off-putting to fidget, swivel the chair, or leave the frame during the interview. You need to sit straight, hold your head high, and be cheerful to show your interest and excitement.
Also, try to take hand-written notes! Keep a notebook nearby so that you can jot down questions or key takeaways from the interview without having to disrupt the flow of the conversation with loud typing.
After the interview
Once you have finished the interview, be sure not to abruptly end the call. It is best to let the other side leave the conversation first, as you may hang up before the interviewer think of something that they want to ask you. After the call, a brief follow-up email that shows your thoughts and appreciation is just as important as in a physical interview.
Want to discover more tips on the recruitment process? You can read our previous articles on ‘Writing an impressive CV’ and ‘Making a good impression in a face-to-face interview’.