Virtual interviews reduce transportation costs, speed up the interviewing process and allow hiring managers to interview non-local candidates. If you are searching for a job, during this Covid-19 pandemic you might be required to participate in an online interview. In this article, we discuss what an online interview is and how to ace it.
Types Of Online Interviews
Employers can conduct online interviews using different methods. Before your appointment, make sure to ask your interviewer what kind of interview to expect. This includes finding out if the call will include audio, video or both. Additionally, make sure you know what time zone the interview will be calling from.
The most common type of online interview is a video call. When setting up a video call, the interviewer will typically contact you and ask if you have access to the necessary equipment. Most laptops have built-in cameras and microphones, so you should be able to find a computer that meets the requirements. The interviewer will schedule a specific time in which they will call using a program like Skype, Zoom or Google Hangouts.
During a video call, the interviewer will be able to converse with you like they would during an in-person interview. If you are familiar with webcam technology, a video call should be fairly simple for you to set up and navigate. The key to a successful video call is preparing thoroughly ahead of time.
Another method for online interviews involves you recording a video of yourself answering interview questions. To prepare for this type of interview, the interviewer will send you a list of questions and a deadline. You will need to set up a camera and film yourself while you answer each question on the list. After you have finished, you will need to upload the video and send it back to the interviewer.
This type of interview allows you to carefully prepare your answers in advance, but it can also be awkward if you are not used to talking to a camera. As with video calls, the most important thing you can do is set aside time to prepare and practice.
How Preparation For Your Online Interview
Preparation is a critical element for any interview. Consider following these steps in order to prepare effectively for your online interview:
- Test the technology. Familiarize yourself with the necessary equipment and software. Before your interview appointment, schedule 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. Also, check and make sure you are using a professional screen name that will be easy for the interviewer to recognize.
- Practice, practice, practice. After you have tested the equipment, you will need to practice your interviewing technique. Task someone you know with asking you practice interview questions over a video call. Be aware of your computer’s tendency to lag and make sure you do not talk over the other person. Practice listening carefully and speaking slowly and clearly. The more you practice, the more confident you will be during the actual call.
- Choose your location. Well before the scheduled interview time, you will need to select a location for your interview. Find a quiet room with minimal background noise and no distractions. Make sure you have adequate lighting (preferably natural) and that there is nothing distracting behind you. Make sure your housemates know not to disturb you and shut any pets out of the room. A professional backdrop will show the interviewer that you are serious about the interview and the job.
- Gather your materials. Find a notebook and pen and set them within reach of your computer. Consider printing out a copy of your resume that you can consult during the interview. You might also want to make a list of questions or talking points that you would like to bring up in the interview. These tools can all be helpful, but make sure they do not divert your attention too often during the interview.
- Prepare your own questions. In addition to preparing answers to some common interview questions, it is also advised that you prepare several questions of your own. Ask the interviewer about job requirements, the benefits and salary or what they think of the company. Any questions that allow the interviewer to share additional information about what they expect from the ideal candidate will help you in the next stage of interviewing.
Dress The Part
Although you’re not going into an office to meet with the interviewer face to face, you still need to dress appropriately for a video interview, says Ruggiero. “Do employers still expect the traditional interview outfit? Yes,” he says. “It’s not T-shirt time, for sure. Be prepared to look as good as you can on camera.”
Generally, you’ll want to wear the same professional clothes that you’d wear to an in-person interview at the company. The exception? Don’t wear plaid or stripes—they can be distracting on camera. “When people do TV interviews, they tend to wear solid colored shirts for that very reason,” Cole explains.
Mind Your Body Language
Maintaining good eye contact is crucial during any job interview, but it’s especially important during video interviews. Your camera should be at eye level. “It won’t make a good first impression if you are seen as looking down or looking up when speaking,” Palmer says. Don’t forget to nod and smile when it’s appropriate. “You don’t want to sit there rigidly, locked into place,