HOW TO ACE AN ONLINE JOB INTERVIEW
The face to face job interview disappeared when offices closed their doors in March. However, as lockdown restrictions ease and many of the Global workforce return to work, we have seen that employers are continuing to use the form of online interviews with candidates. Based on our experience and feedback from clients and candidates, we’re sharing our guide to making a success at an online job interview.
The new phenomenon of online interviews has many positives for those looking to embark on a job move. No more will candidates have to sneak out of the office for “dentist” appointments in work hours, be held up by a long commute or face other delays.
But on the downside, a number of technical problems and harder to read body language clues can make the online interview process feel like a disorienting out of body experience.
But fear not. We are here to help you brush up on your traditional interview techniques and adapt them to the new world of online interviews.
RESEARCH THE COMPANY
Traditional interview norms still apply, as ultimately, this is still an interview! Start by researching the company, making the most of its website to learn more about the business. There may be news articles in the press, including trade journals, which also present a useful raft of information. We would recommend also looking at employee reviews on Glassdoor; however, treat them with a pinch of salt like you would a TripAdvisor review.
Be clear on your stand-out reasons as to why you want to work for the company – this is a standard question asked at interviews including what can you contribute to the company
Use LinkedIn to find your interviewer and get some more information on their background. It’s always useful to check if you have connections or networking groups in common. And importantly, make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up to date and matches your CV.
LIGHTS CAMERA ACTION – PRACTICALITIES FOR VIDEO INTERVIEWS
- Ensure sure your lighting, camera angle, and background look professional. Good lighting is very important, as is not having anything distracting behind you.Overhead lighting does not complement anyone, so always use lamps if possible, and of course, natural light through windows works well.
- Avoid sitting with your back to the window, as the camera will expose for the light and make you into a silhouette. Face the window, which will give you soft, pleasant light.
- You want people to focus on your face, not on what’s behind you. Many people like to be photographed in front of a bookshelf, but items on the shelf will cause distractions. Keep it plain and simple, blank walls, or a wall with nothing but one piece of art hanging.
- Your computer camera should be at eye level or slightly above and tilted down. Stack a few books under your laptop until you see the webcam eye level.
- Ahead of the interview, make a phone call using your webcam to prepare. The call can be on your phone, but make sure your webcam is on so you can practise seeing yourself and your mannerisms – it really helps as you will become far more comfortable with the set up ahead of the live interview.
- Most people by now understand the limitations of home working, so if your child wanders by or the dogs bark and doorbell rings don’t worry! Remember the interviewer is at home dealing with the similar issues.
MAKE EYE CONTACT
- Making eye contact during an online interview is more difficult than you might think. You will need to focus your gaze directly into the webcam instead of at the interviewer’s face, which may be in a small box to the left or right of the camera. Maintaining eye contact during the call shows the interviewer that you are involved and listening attentively.
- It is harder to read body language through a video than in a room with a candidate, so be aware of your nonverbal cues. Another tip is to smile and nod when the interviewer speaks, behaving as you would during an in-person interview. Plus…try not to wave when your call is finished! Why we can’t stop waving at the end of video calls
- Remember to wear attire suitable for a job interview in your industry. You can get away with only wearing the top half of the outfit that will be in camera range, but your PJ’s are not something that will impress your interviewer.
- Practice listening carefully and speaking slowly and clearly. The more you practice, the more confident you will be during the actual call.
CHECK THE TECHNOLOGY AND DOUBLE CHECK!
Technical difficulties are understandable, but being prepared can make the whole interview run more smoothly.
- Before your interview, try a test call with a friend or family member. Make sure that your microphone and speakers are working and that your internet connection supports high-quality live video.
- Familiarise yourself with the video platform you will be using, Zoom, Skype, Teams, Google Hangout etc. All have similar functionality but there are differences between them all too.
If you have been asked to make a presentation check out you know how to share your screen.
- Remember with Skype to make sure you are using a professional screen name and not a high school nickname.
- Close apps and email notification on your computer so you are not distracted by pop-ups.
- Be aware of your computer’s tendency to lag and make sure you do not talk over the other person.
HAVE A BACKUP PLAN
- Technology is notorious for letting us down at inconvenient moments. Before your interview, discuss with the interviewer and agree a backup plan in case the technology fails. Swap to a phone call or reschedule for a later time.
Want to Practice before your real interview?
Take the next step to unlock your career. Find out more about our interview preparation and book a free initial consultation to see the difference it could make to you and your career and acing your interview.