Online Interview? Make yours a doddle

by | 17.02.22

Job interviews are nerve-wracking no matter how they take place, but online interviews are especially daunting. You are trying to connect with the interviewer whilst dealing with the in and outs of camera, background noise and potential connection troubles. However, if you make plans in advance, you can be sure of success if you follow these tips:

What to expect

An online interview will have the same format and ingredients as an in-person one. But instead of the formalities of a handshake and figuring out which chair to sit in you’ll click a link and drop into a video call where hopefully your interviewer will be waiting.

Check your internet connection

A poor connection means you risk unclear audio on the call which is a real deal breaker. No matter what preparation you have made for the interview, if the interviewer can’t hear or see you the job is not going to be yours. Check your internet speed, make sure you have a good package. It is also a good idea to close out of any other programs that might slow down your computer or hog data before the interview starts.

Use the right hardware

Do not attempt to do an online interview on your mobile phone, if won’t work, it will be a disaster. Whenever possible do your interview on a laptop with a webcam. It’s a better experience for you   and the interviewer. Doing an interview on your mobile phone will come across as unprofessional if not done properly. Always wear headphones if you can, you’ll hear clearer and reduce the chance of an echo and minimise background noise.

Position your webcam well

Try to position your webcam just above eye level and about two feet away from you. If you’re working with a smaller laptop and don’t have the laptop stand you can always sit your laptop on top of some books during your interview to get your webcam slightly above eye level. Positioning your webcam well is absolutely crucial, I can’t tell you the number of conversations I’ve had with a chin. I’ve put up with it, but I promise you an interviewer will just make the interview very short, and you won’t get the job.

Check your tools

Take the time to learn and get comfortable with your equipment. This way technology will blend seamlessly into the background and your vibrant personality will shine through. Make sure you have the software you need for the interview. If not download it immediately and check it out. Practise using it with friends and family, get to know exactly how it works and how to get the best out of it.

 What time should you attend the interview

Join your online interview right on the scheduled time. No earlier and no later. Unlike in-person interviews there isn’t a reception area to hang around in while your interviewer gets ready. The interviewer needs a chance to fire up the call, so arriving early might not always go as planned. Also arriving late means you have kept the interviewer sat at their computer waiting for you.

Set the stage

Practice makes perfect, remember you have one chance of getting this job, so you need to use this chance to the best advantage. So, rehearse. Decide where you are going to do the interview, it needs to be a private quiet area where you can be on your own and undisturbed. Check your background to make sure there is nothing in shot which would distract from your interview: i.e., clothes hanging up. Since you probably don’t have ring lights and fancy light gear lying around, place yourself facing a window to take advantage of natural light. If you don’t have a good window to use, find a table lamp and place it a foot or so in front of you.

Be in a quiet spot

Don’t try to conduct an interview on your phone in your car, also don’t attempt to do one in the car park, walking down the street or in McDonalds. Background noise will be distracting, and you want to eliminate the potential for interruptions. You also want to appear professional, prepared and in interview mode.

Turn everything off

Your interview needs a 100% focus. Make sure you turn everything else off. By that I mean your phone, your TV, your radio and anything else which could disturb you. You need to focus on this interview and your phone going off midway through is not acceptable, neither is KISS blasting out of the radio. Concentration is the name of the game not distractions.

Do a test run

On the day of your interview test your system. You don’t want technology to let you down. Practice so that the technology will feel invisible to you and the person who is interviewing you. You can practice with friends or family it doesn’t have to be someone professional. If you’re  struggling to think of someone who would practice with you use this as an opportunity to reconnect with a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while. If you’re not used to online meetings, you’ll have a nice chance to experience other people’s reactions on a camera in real time.

Chuck everyone out of Online Interview? Make yours a doddle the house

If it is possible be home alone when you complete your interview. There is an old actors saying which is “never work with children or animals”. These two-house sharers should be the first evicted if possible. If it’s not possible maybe they should be downstairs and you should be upstairs, but if you’re upstairs there should not be a bed on view. Partners , parents and siblings should be banned from the area and told not to make too much noise. No shouting , arguing bashing about etc. Peace and tranquillity is the ideal environment to conduct an interview, not sitting worrying about the dog barking furiously at the postman.

Have a backup plan

No matter how much you prepare, a computer can break, software can go wrong or there could be an electricity powercut. All you can do is test your equipment on the day of the interview to ensure everything is still working and have the employers phone number handy. If the worse comes to the worse and technology fails at least you will be able to ring them to apologise and explain.

Be prepared to act

If you want to stand out in an online interview you have to perform well like as if you were on stage. Look into the camera, it might feel unnatural, but eye contact is really important. Concentrate and listen to what is being said to you, never ever interrupt the interviewer know what you are doing but remember if you are writing you are not looking at the interviewer so don’t write to much. If something happens with the connection be honest. Everyone understands that an online meeting can have some glitches so it’s always okay to ask the interview to repeat something because the screen froze temporarily. Make sure you have fun, smiling, laughing and showing you are enjoying the interview is something I would really encourage.

At the end of the day interviewing online is no different than interviewing in the conventional way. You still need to convey your passion for the job. Prepare thoughtfully so you’ll have confidence in the technology you are using so you can concentrate on the important job of presenting yourself as an excellent candidate for the job and knocking your interview out of the park.

Good Luck

Angela Burton