Online Job Interviews

11/08/2020

If you are fortunate enough to be invited to interview for a post, chances are that interview is likely to be conducted online, perhaps using Zoom, or another Video conferencing facility. 

An online interview is a little different to a face-to-face interview. This blog looks at some of the factors to consider. 

  • Be prepared - prepare for the interview in the way you normally would for an interview in person. Make sure you research the company, and the role, and that you are clear on what they are looking for. Look for sample questions and practise answering them. Have one or two questions about the role ready. 
  • Dress the part - even though you won't be there in person, dress as you would normally dress for an interview, including make up and the appropriate apparel from the waist down (you may have to stand and it would be very embarrassing if you were wearing pj bottoms!) It used to be common to wear a suit for all interviews, although nowadays people tend to dress in a manner appropriate to the role, or smart-casual. When I was recruiting staff, I always found someone wearing a suit looked far more professional, so I tend to prefer candidates wearing suits. 
  • Test out the technology ahead of time - log onto an empty room using the Meeting Platform, and see how it works. If you are using Zoom, you will need to download some software ahead of the interview. Check your microphone and camera are working properly. I prefer to use a headset online, as the microphones on devices pick up the noise of any movements you make. 
  • Log in early - make sure you are logged in five minutes ahead of the scheduled time, just in case there is a problem. 
  • Check your hair and appearance in the mirror, before you turn on the camera. 
  • Select a clean 'background' - it won't create a good impression if your interviewers see an unmade bed and mess behind you. Zoom does allow you to blur the background, but it may make the connection slower. 
  • Eliminate distractions - if possible sit alone in a room with the door shut, and phones off, no pets or children present. 
  • Lighting - ensure that there is good lighting, and that it is above or in front of you, not behind you, so you can be seen clearly. 
  • Look into the camera, not the screen. It's tempting to want to see the person on the screen, but looking into the camera allows you to make 'eye contact' while if you look at the screen, it will appear that you are looking down. 
  • Be more animated - it's harder to see body language in an online meeting, so use more gestures than you normally would (but not so many that you're constantly wildly moving!)
  • Close down any other windows or apps on your computer to avoid distractions, but also to avoid sharing something you don't want the panel to see. 
  • Presentations - most platforms allow you to share your screen. If you have a presentation to deliver, make sure it is open and ready for when you need to show it, and practise delivering it on the platform ahead of time.
  • Creature comforts - make sure you have a comfortable chair in which you can sit up straight. Have a glass of water handy, but no other food or drink. 

Smile, keep calm, and take your time to answer the questions carefully and thoughtfully. 

Good luck!