Online job interviews come with unique challenges that in person ones don’t: background distractions, technical issues, dress codes, and more. Knowing how to navigate through these challenges will help you master your virtual interviews.
Below are a few tips so that you can ace your online interview.
Have a Good Background
It’s important to choose a good background for an online interview. Choose a good location in your home that can make a good professional impression. A good background should be clean, simple, and clear of any distractions. There should also be efficient lighting to ensure that your face is seen clearly through the camera. If possible, use natural light, and don’t have any direct backlighting. You should also avoid using any virtual backgrounds. They’re often low-quality, take attention away from you, and are overtly fake and inauthentic. A real background makes you seem more professional and trustworthy.
Wearing headphones during a job interview is important because it ensures you can hear the interviewer clearly, and vice versa. This can aid in a more productive conversation and improve your ability to answer their questions with confidence. This shows the interviewer that you’re prepared for the interview
Log on Early
Before your interview starts, it’s a good idea to login to your computer early to ensure that your technology is properly working. Run some last minute tests to make sure your headphones are working, the video software you’re using is logged in and ready to go, and your wifi is working as expected. As with an in-person interview, it’s suggested that you arrive 15 minutes early. For an online video, it is suggested that you’re ready around the same time to ensure everything is working and ready to go one last time. The last thing you want is to show up late to an interview because of technical difficulties.
Since you’re in your home, it’s important to eliminate any distractions that typically occur. Your environment should be quiet to ensure your interviewer is completely focused on you and not any background noises that may occur. Make sure that you turn off your phone and tv, and that you’re in a quiet room, ideally by yourself. If there are others around, you can ask them to remain quiet during your interview. If you have loud pets who are prone to barking, consider leaving them outside of the room.
It can be difficult to remain present during an online interview–you are still at home, after all. You might be tempted to look at what’s happening outside your window, check your phone (as the interviewer can’t see this), or pet your cat or dog that may be sitting on your lap. If you do this, you may not be fully present during the interview. Think about it, if you were in person, it would just be you and the interviewer (sometimes more than 1 person), sitting in a room. That’s why it’s important that you enter this interview with complete presence, making eye contact, thinking about what you’re saying, and giving the interviewer your undivided attention.
Even though you’re at home during the interview, it’s important to dress appropriately. Depending on the position you’re interviewing for, consider a semi formal or formal outfit. Also ensure that your hair is well-kept–you don’t want to look as if you’ve just rolled out of bed (even if that’s true). It’s also important to dress in full attire. Just because your interviewer won’t see anything from the waist down, doesn’t mean you should only dress appropriately on the upper-half of your body. Dressing in full attire will help mentally prepare you for the interview, and put yourself in the right headspace.
Look at Your Webcam
It can be difficult to remain eye contact with your interviewer through a screen. You may be tempted to look at yourself or the interviewer. What you need to do is look directly at your webcam when you’re speaking and listening. Looking at the camera is as close as you can get to making direct eye contact with the interviewer. Looking at your computer screen can make it appear as if you’re staring off into space.
It’s hard to participate in an interview from home, but it’s important that you get yourself in the mood to talk. Interviewers can tell if you’re tired or unexcited for an interview, which can give them a negative impression. Energy and enthusiasm are key indicators that a candidate is interested in the position, and are some of the things a recruiter looks for. Before your interview, practice answering questions. You can even record yourself to see and hear how confident and excited you are.