How to Prepare for an Online Interview

1 year ago

Anyone who’s looking for a job these days knows that applying online is practically unavoidable. An online interview is a video chat interview via Skype or Google Hangouts, which allows the interviewer and the candidate to see each other and talk. If you’ve never done an interview online before, there are a few steps you need to take to ensure that your first one goes well.

Prepare for your interview

-Research as much as possible about the company's culture before going in. 

-Research the company website, their services, products and see if you can find answers to your questions.

-Know what information they're trying to get out of you - such as: why do you want to work for the company? What's your background/experience? What are your weaknesses?

-Write down at least 10 of your most important points on an index card so you can refer back to it.

-Find a few good examples of how you've responded to difficult situations. It's also helpful when people ask for examples of challenging situations that have happened in the past, or similar ones that occur in daily life.

-Practice... and practice... and practice. Go for a walk. Make a video of yourself. Practice writing it all down on index cards just like we mentioned above.

-Write some positive words down in the margins of your index card to help you retain what you're trying to say in an interview.

-Keep it short and sweet (remember we said this is an online interview). You don't have time to waste here.

-Try to be as concise as possible... e.g., if they give you questions that are 3-5 sentences long... try to write just 1-2 sentences.

-Be positive, enthusiastic, engaging, and confident.

Prepare and test your equipment

If necessary, start by installing the video conferencing software of your choice on your computer (Teams, Skype, Zoom, ...). Adapt your photo or profile picture to the situation, also consider changing your username if you use a nickname. To avoid technical problems that could destabilize you or even worse make you lose your calm in front of your future employer, check that your connection is optimal and that your webcam and microphone work. Finally, do the last test by having a skype conversation with a friend for example. On D-Day, make sure to arrive on the site about ten minutes early to deal with any technical problems.

Dress Code

There's no hard and fast rule about what you should wear to an interview, but there are a few things to keep in mind: You want to look like the job you're applying for (e.g. if you're interviewing for a marketing job, your dress should match that), but you don't want to look too dressed up (e.g. if you're going for a creative design position at an online or web company, wearing a suit is probably overdoing it).

Be Prepared

You want to be ready for any scenario, so it's a good idea to dress simply and take any props (e.g. laptop, portfolio) with you in case they're needed. Don't rely on the interviewer to bring them for you.

There's no hard and fast rule about what you should wear to an interview, but there are a few things to keep in mind: You want to look like the job you're applying for (e.g. if you're interviewing for a marketing job, your dress should match that), but you don't want to look too dressed up (e.g. if you're going for a creative design position at an online or web company, wearing a suit is probably overdoing it).

Practice

Practice both what you're going to wear and the actual interview with a friend or partner. It's much better to do this sort of thing with someone else than it is to try it on your own, especially if you're interviewing on Skype.

Consider your background

You can choose to show off your surroundings if you want, but try not to let that be the main focus of the video chat - keep it simple so that the interviewer can see you better.

At least, avoid leaving a mess in the field of view of your computer's webcam. Choose a neutral décor. Good to know, especially if your room is cramped or if you live together in a small apartment: some remote meeting applications (such as Teams, from Microsoft) allow you to blur the background of the subject. Also, test the framing to be to your advantage before the meeting starts. Also, check the light source. To avoid backlighting, do not place your back to the light. Otherwise, your interlocutor may have an image of you that is too dark.

Be yourself

Have fun with it! That's the whole point of the exercise, after all.

You'll do fine. Anyone can do this! The best way to prepare for an online interview is by researching interviewing techniques and watching videos of actual interviews - then don't forget to practice until you're confident enough to nail it on the first try.

Having success in an interview is important - but so too are new skills such as networking and presenting yourself in a professional manner.

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