8 Tips for Online Interviews

With a second lockdown in place and uncertainty for the future, thousands and thousands of job opportunities have adapted their roles to be online-compatible. Zoom, at least from my own experiences, has been the most frequent interviewing platform utilised by companies currently hiring. However these steps can be applicable to basically any video platforms.

  1. Figure out your background. I know this is silly but in interviews, first impressions matter. Make sure your background looks clean and relatively organised. No dirty washing or half-eaten food! If you have a desk that should set you up nicely. If not, and you have access to a laptop, just set it up on your kitchen table – they’re not going to be able to tell. If you can, avoid large windows or mirrors behind you because they can be distracting. Whatever you do, don’t answer a call in bed. Just don’t. That is the epitome of unprofessional. 
  1. Make sure your top-half looks presentable. Honestly as long as you have a nice looking top, it could not matter less what you wear on your bottom-half! Personally I go for joggers simply because it’s what I’m most comfortable in therefore it makes me feel more comfortable in the interview. However some people prefer to go full out head to toe in what they would wear normally for an interview to make them feel more in the zone – whatever works for you and makes you feel most at ease.
  1. Have a drink with you. It will make you look more relaxed and confident. And hopefully it will make you feel more relaxed too. Often just having something you can touch when you’re feeling slightly stressed can help. Or a nice warm drink like a cup of tea can be very comforting. Plus taking a sip can give you a second to gather your thoughts before answering a question! Keeping hydrated is very important anyway, you want to be at your best for the interview. This also includes having some hearty healthy food/snacks at least an hour prior and having a decent night’s sleep the night before.
  1. Check your webcam. It’s very important to do this before the interview so you can check that it’s working, see what you look like and check the positioning of your laptop/computer. I always do these three steps before answering any important call!
  1. If you want to, use post-it notes.You can write down little prompts and things you want to make sure to mention on post-it notes and stick them around your computer/laptop near your webcam – they won’t be able to see them. Make sure these are very short word prompts because you should only use them if you have to, and only for a brief glance. The last thing you want to do is look like you’re reading off a piece of paper. 
  1. Utilise eye contact. Linking to the last point, eye contact is important. Obviously this doesn’t mean staring at them non-stop, but just try and use as much eye contact to the camera as you usually would if it was face-to-face. Simply because eye contact shows confidence.
  1. If you’re worried, do a trial. It never hurts to do a trial interview. Not only to check your connection but also to practise a couple of questions that could perhaps come up! Ask a friend or a family member to help you out. 
  1. Tell the interviewer if your technology messes up. Whether your signal is spotty, the screen is glitchy or the audio is cutting out – don’t be afraid to give them a heads up. Tech issues are an accepted factor of the times right now, so they won’t hold it against you. I know you may feel awkward interrupting an interviewer to mention this but trust me: it’s better to mention it now and try and find a resolution, then be on edge for when the next technological error is going to happen again. You don’t want to miss anything they say! I tackled this head on in an interview in the summer, and honestly I think it demonstrates confidence on your behalf to do this. 

Just remember- you’re only human! You can only do your best. Sometimes interviews go well, sometimes they don’t. You learn something either way. Hopefully these tips can help alleviate some of your pre-interview jitters as well as help you prepare & set up for a successful interview. Good luck!

Nia Clark is a Final Year English Language and Linguistics Student

Featured Image from Pixabay

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