How to prepare for an online interview?
Online job interviews are similar to traditional face-to-face interviews, and they have been around for a while now. However, there are some key differences to be aware of. Meeting someone via Zoom or Skype is not the same as meeting them in person, but it does not have to be difficult.
Regardless of the variations between in-person and online interviews, your objectives remain the same i.e. to stand out from the crowd and land a second interview. The suggestions and techniques listed below will help you succeed in your online interview.
Preparing for an online interview a day before
1. Gather information. How long will the interview last? Which online platform or application will be used for the interview? Is it going to be a video or just an audio call? How many people will ask you questions? They may not be able to provide much information until you ask, so ask your interviewer and do not be hesitant to call back if necessary.
2. Determine the venue of your interview. When preparing for an online job interview, one of the most critical factors to consider is your environment. Unmade beds, unclean laundry, and a cluttered office, for example, are not only unprofessional, but they are also likely to distract your interviewer.
This is not the kind of impression you want to make. Find a location with a neutral background, such as a blank wall, where you may be seen from the waist up on camera. If you do not have access to a blank wall, try manipulating your background to resemble a more professional setting, such as an (organised) office.
3. Provide adequate lighting. Natural light is desirable, but it is understandably not always possible. Avoid overhead or "cool" light sources and opt for an abundance of natural or diffused light. A perfect home setup is two lights in front of you, one slightly to your left and the other slightly to your right. It is particularly ideal if one of these is a window, but table lights can suffice. If you wear glasses, stay away from harsh backlighting or anything that will cause shadows or glare.
4. Determine which of your devices will function best. If you have various devices (tablet, computer, smartphone, etc. ), choose the one with the most reliable technology and with which you are most familiar. In most circumstances, this is a computer, but your phone's camera may be significantly superior to your laptop's. Prioritising a superior camera over a huge computer screen is recommended if you can set your phone to remain stationary during the interview.
5. Perform a trial run. Your online interview preparation includes signing up for an account with whichever video service your interviewer uses if you do not already have one, and making sure you download all of the appropriate software. Install the identical software on another device in case the first one fails.
To prevent noise for all parties involved, it is recommended to utilise headphones during an online interview, and checking them out beforehand is a smart idea. Running a sample interview with a friend is the easiest method to test everything at once, allowing you to test the video service, headphones, lighting arrangement, wireless connection, and sound to ensure everything is in working order.
6. Prepare for the interview customarily. Make every effort to prepare for a face-to-face job interview, including researching the company you are interviewing with thoroughly, writing and practising responses to common interview questions (both general and industry-specific), and considering some questions you might want to ask in return.
Examine the job description and your CV to ensure that your responses are tailored to their specific requirements. Do some research on the individual or people with whom you will be speaking.
Prepping for the day of the interview
An in-person interview allows an interviewer to gain a sense of your personality, presence, and even passion for the employment. While more UK employers are abandoning traditional face-to-face interviews in favour of video and phone interviews, the latter poses a distinct set of obstacles.
As a candidate, you will need to be extra attentive to your gadgets and surroundings to demonstrate to an employer who you are and why you are a good fit for their organisation. Here are some suggestions for making your interview day a success.
1. Dress appropriately. Because an interviewer will usually only see you from the waist up, the blazer with sweatpants may be appealing to you. However, dressing for an online interview the same way you would for an in-person interview will not only make a nice first impression but will also enhance your confidence, which will improve your focus. Look at the company's website and social media profiles while choosing an outfit. These can provide you with some insight into the culture and help you dress appropriately. Colours that are neutral and solid work best; anything too bright may cause exposure concerns with your webcam.
2. Remove all distractions. Your interview atmosphere must be as distraction-free and interruption-free as possible. Silence your phone and check for any scheduled notifications or alarms, then close all superfluous windows and tabs on your computer screen, as well as any doors and windows in the room. Check for visual distractions and make sure your pets (if any) are out of the room and tended to. While it is critical that you are not distracted, it is also critical that there be nothing in the room that will divert your interviewer's attention away from your talk.
3. Re-test your technology. Run some last-minute testing on all the things that could potentially fail, such as earbuds, video program, and network connection, about 30 minutes before your interview is due to begin. Ascertain that your lighting is as flattering and professional as possible and that your outfit appears well on camera.
4. Pay attention to your body language. Body language is nonverbal communication that includes things like facial expressions, posture, and gestures. Your body language is more obvious and essential without the face-to-face element of a regular interview. All of the same regulations apply as they would in a face-to-face meeting: Sit up straight, shoulders relaxed and back, chin high, and legs still.
Maintain genuine, attentive eye contact while keeping your hands visible. It is natural to peek at your preview while on a video conference, but this should be avoided whenever feasible. Make a conscious effort to stare into the camera, especially if you are using a computer, to imitate eye contact. To show interest, lean into the conversation rather than sitting back in your chair.
5. Get online at least 10 minutes ahead of time. In-person job interviews should be planned at least 15 minutes ahead of time; similarly, getting on at least 10 minutes ahead of time for your video interview will allow you to double-check that everything is operating properly.
6. Prepare your area. Spend some time preparing the environment surrounding you where you will be sitting for your interview before signing on. Make sure you have plenty of water, paper, and a pen for taking notes, a cheat sheet with your planned answers to typical interview questions, prepared questions for your interviewer, inspiring messages, and reminders regarding posture or eye contact, among other things.
Make sure you have a copy of your resume in case you need to look up dates, job titles, or qualifications. Post-it notes also make excellent cheat sheets because they may be pasted directly on your computer screen or a wall behind your computer, making them completely invisible to your interviewer.
7. Recognise the time zone. Your interviewer may not have taken your time into account when arranging your interview if you are interviewing for a remote job. Confirming the time zone of your interview will prevent you from arriving three hours late to the meeting.
Good online interview skills might mean the difference between getting a job or losing the opportunity altogether. Therefore, to ace your next online interview, communicate, do not overthink things, and apply these online interview techniques. Good luck!