Online Interviews – How to make yours a success

Because of coronavirus, social distancing and more employers working from home, online interviews are the new norm.  For a prospective employee trying to make a good impression via video conferencing software such as Microsoft Teams, Skype and Zoom can feel a bit daunting.  Here are some tips to help you reduce the stress and assist you with getting the job.


Test Your Technology

The minute you agree to a virtual interview, test your technology to ensure you are set up for success.  If you don’t have the required software download it is generally free – and become familiar with it prior to the interview.  Check your internet connectivity and confirm your camera and microphone are working – don’t leave these checks to the last minute, ideally you should do them the day before the interview and an hour before you are due online.


Set The Scene

Use a room in your house which has the optimal lighting, preferably near a window.  A blank wall in the background will guarantee you are the focal point of the conversation.  Whether you sit on your living room sofa or in your home office, tidy up your surroundings.  It’s hard to convince employers your detail orientated and organised when there is a pile of washing in the corner.  Once settled eliminate all distractions.  Turn off the TV, silence your phone, put the dog in the kitchen and send the kids to their room to play.


Sit Down Prepared

Just because this isn’t what you may perceive as a ‘proper’ interview does not mean you can just get online and wing it.  You need to be as prepared for this interview as for any interview.  Research the employer ahead of time and make notes for easy reference.  Also have a copy of your CV to hand in case you are asked questions on it.  Be prepared to answer common interview questions such as:-


  • Why are you interested in our job
  • What do you know about our Company
  • What are you looking for in a new role
  • Why are you leaving your current role


You should also have some questions prepared to ask the employer, these could include:-


  • What is a typical day like in this role
  • Where does the role sit within the organisation
  • What is the team like I would be working in
  • What is the next step of the recruitment process


Practice – Don’t Memorize

You don’t want to sound robotic throughout the interview.  It’s easy for the interviewer to tell if you aren’t being genuine, so it’s a good idea to practice your interview techniques with a friend or family member.  It’s important to keep things simple.  Don’t feel like you have to give long – winded answers if the questions you being asked does not warrant it.  Being clear and concise is one of the most important things in a job interview – particularly an online one.








Dress The Part

You might be sitting near your bed, but you should not look like you have just rolled out of it.  Dress as you would for an in-person interview.  Professional clothing will show your serious about the position, but there are personal benefits as well.  Studies show that people feel authoritative, trustworthy and competent when wearing formal business attire.


Monitor Your Body Language

You can’t firmly shake the Recruiters hand via a video interview.  But you can monitor your body language.  The main way to communicate confidence is to sit up straight, smile and keep the camera at eye level.  Research shows that employers are more likely to remember what you said if you maintain eye contact, so keep focus on the camera when talking not on the image of the Recruiter


Make A Connection

You don’t know how many people an employer may see for a position.  You might be at the end of a long list of people the Recruiter has spoken to that day.  This is why it’s important to make a connection.  It’s not easy to connect with everyone, but it’s a crucial part of a virtual interview.  You want the interviewer to be able to remember something about you.  This is the best way to prevent yourself from blending in with the other applicants.


Be Yourself

A key task for a Recruiter is to determine whether you would be a good fit for the Company’s culture.  This can be challenging during a virtual interview because there is a physical disconnection. It’s more difficult for the interviewer to understand your enthusiasm through the screen, so make sure you’re expressive when answering questions.  Give the Recruiter a reason for selecting you for the second round of interviews by showing them what you can bring to the business.


Immediately Follow Up

Within 24 hours of the interview send a thank you email to the Recruiter.  Not only will it show you value the time they gave you but it provides you with the opportunity to resell yourself and express the skills and experience you can bring to the role.  You want to leave a lasting impression and hopefully get the job


At the end of the day preparation is the key to having a successful virtual interview.  From ensuring you have the right software, to making sure your technology is working properly, to doing your research before the interview, being poised and comfortable at your computer and being ready for any questions you are asked.  This preparation will help set you apart from the other applicants and even in these terrible times help you find the perfect role in which to continue your career.



Good Luck