Congratulations! You applied for a job and got through to the interview stage and it is an online interview. You don’t have to leave your house! But don’t be fooled into thinking there is less preparation needed for an online interview than there is for a face-to-face interview. The interviewer has seen potential in your CV and wants to talk to you to learn more and see if you are the right fit for the company. Here is a list of tips how to succeed in an online interview.
This is still an interview and to succeed in an online interview the interviewer expects you to dress to impress. So dress as if you are going to a face-to-face interview. The general rule with dressing for an interview is whatever the dress code of the company you are interviewing for, you dress smarter than that. It is better to be over dressed than under dressed for interviews.
Another tip is video doesn’t cope very well with pattern so don’t wear patterns.
2. Silence is golden
You want the interviewer to pay full attention to you and so you succeed in your online interview. To do that there can’t be any background noise. If somebody is watching tv downstairs, the audio on your microphone will pick that up. Try to have silence in your home. If possible ask everybody to go out for a walk. If not, maybe bribe your children with sweets to keep quiet!! Also, your cute dog who always barks during your zoom meetings is not ideal for online interview will also need a bribe or a walk!
Your background is really important. You want the interviewer to focus on you and what you are saying. Anything distracting in the background, like a messy bed or a pile of laundry is going to give the interviewer the impression that you are not professional. Don’t use a virtual background, it tends to cut out part of your hair or face and makes it hard to concentrate.
Try to interview against a blank background like a clean wall in your house. Sit about 3 feet away from the wall. Set up your camera so it looks straight on and gives you a flattering angle. A tip is to use your ironing board as it is higher than most tables!
4. Good lighting makes all the difference
Ask any teenager who can take a nice selfie, lighting is very important. Daylight is ideal, the light should come in either at your side or in front of your face. Make sure the camera is not facing into the light.
If daylight is not an option, you can use a lamp and point it diagonally at your face.
5. Camera Quality
Is the camera on your laptop good enough? If not, maybe your phone’s camera is better? You could consider using your phone instead of your laptop. If you are going to use your phone, make sure it is set to silent and the do not disturb setting is on.
6. Body language
We know online interviews are new and daunting but don’t forget to be yourself! Show the interview your personality. Be enthusiastic, energetic and smile. Nod to agree with your interviewer. Remember an interview is just a way to get to know you and to see if you would be a good fit for the job and the company.
Eye contact is very important for making connections. With a video call you need to look at the camera on your phone and not the screen. I know it is counter intuitive but if you look at the camera, it looks like you looking directly at the interviewer.
Yep you read that correctly, cheat. One of the benefits of an online interview is that you can set up post-it notes with notes on questions all around your laptop. This does not mean that you don’t have to be prepared but it is very helpful. If you get tongue tied or nervous and you can’t remember what you wanted to say you have your notes to remind you.
8. Get familiar with the technology
If your interview is on Zoom make sure you know how to use Zoom. If you are unsure how to use Zoom watch this tutorial and have a practice video call with a friend or family member. If you are not good with technology ask for help or use a YouTube tutorial. Make sure you know how to turn on your video and your audio before the day of the interview to avoid any extra stress.
9. Practice, practice, practice
Interviewers are not trying to catch you out, they tell you what they want to know from the very beginning. Check the job description what are they looking for, write down all the questions they could possibly ask. If the job descriptions says you need good communications skills have an answer prepared on a time you showed good communication skills. Then it is just a matter of practice makes perfect. Ask a friend or family member to ask you the questions the interviewer will most likely ask.
Another good idea is to have a practice call with a friend or family member so that you check to see if your lighting, background and camera are working well.
10. Have a plan B
It is interview time but your laptop has crashed or your internet is down! Have you got a back up plan? Interviews are already stressful enough without these issues. So have a plan B prepared. Download the video app on your phone and have a phone number or an email address of your interviewer just in case there are any technical issues.
11. Follow up with your interviewer
If you meet a friend for a coffee you usually follow up with them to say it was lovely to meet them. The same goes for interviews. Follow up with your interviewer to thank them for their time and remind them of your chat. This is also a good opportunity to tell them any relevant experience you have that you forgot to tell them at the interview.
Now that you know how to succeed in an online interview all that is left is to wish you the very best of luck. If you have any other tips that you think are useful or any questions, let us know in the comments below.