Mastering Online Interviews

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Whether you are a recent graduate or a student gearing up for the transition into the workforce, knowing how to prepare for an online interview is an absolute must. We will share all the tips and tricks so you can set yourself up for online success and make sure you leave a positive lasting impression with your prospective new employer.

The Art of Online Interviews

In today’s digital age, online interviews have become a standard part of the job application process. For junior candidates, the use of Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or Google Meet might seem like unfamiliar terrain, but for the corporate world, these video conferencing applications are now entrenched as standard business practice.  In essence, online interviews require the same level of professionalism and preparation as traditional ones. With these tips, you’re better equipped to navigate your online interviews, leaving a lasting impression on your potential employers. Remember to stay relaxed, be genuine, and let your skills shine through.

Technical Preparation:

Ensure a Stable Connection

Having a solid internet connection is crucial. Wi-Fi typically offers more stability than phone tethering. Take proactive steps to turn off high-bandwidth services and CPU-intensive applications that could interfere with your connection during the interview.

Check Meeting Logistics

Before the interview, ensure you have the meeting link and the required software. These details are usually shared by the organizer. If possible, do a quick test run to ensure everything works seamlessly.

Optimal Camera Position

It is important to be mindful of your camera positioning during an interview as it can affect how you are perceived. For a natural perspective, your eyes should be level with the camera. If you are using your phone, find a stable surface to place it on so you have free hands. Additionally, make sure to check what’s visible in the camera view and ensure that the background is tidy as it reflects a more organized and professional candidate.

Lighting and Sound

It’s important to consider the lighting and sound when you’re sitting in front of a screen. Ideally, position yourself in a way that allows your face to be exposed to natural light. If that’s not possible, you can use a desk lamp. Similarly, choose a calm and quiet location, and ensure that your device’s microphone captures your voice clearly while reducing background noise.

Personal Etiquette:

Timekeeping

Join the meeting on time. Familiarize yourself with the attendees in advance, and always be prepared for a brief period of small talk at the start. Also, inform others at home about your interview to avoid any unexpected interruptions.

Professionalism

Treat the online interview as you would an in-person one. Dress professionally, maintain focus, and ensure your phone is muted while other devices are out of frame.

Note-taking

Taking notes during your interview is a good practice, but be sure to do so without causing distraction. If using a device, make sure it doesn’t obstruct your camera view or appear as if you are disengaged.

Understanding the Impact of Body Language

Body language speaks volumes, even in a virtual setting. It’s essential to be intentional about your posture and gestures during an online interview. Sitting up straight conveys confidence and shows engagement in the conversation. Avoid slouching or fidgeting, as these can signal disinterest or nervousness. Use hand gestures sparingly to emphasize points, but remember to keep movements within the camera’s frame. Nodding occasionally shows that you’re actively listening and can also signify agreement or understanding. Eye contact is a bit trickier online, but try to look at the camera, not the screen, to simulate direct engagement with the interviewer. These subtleties can enhance your communication and make a positive impression.

Handling Technical Difficulties

Technical difficulties are often unforeseen and can happen to anyone, but effectively managing them during an online interview is crucial. Begin by acknowledging the issue as soon as it arises. If your video freezes or the connection drops, promptly inform the interviewer through the chat function or by email. Keep your tone calm and professional as you work to resolve the problem. Have a backup plan such as a secondary device ready to use if necessary. If issues persist and a reschedule is required, be polite and flexible when coordinating a new time. Most importantly, don’t let technical issues fluster you; your ability to handle them gracefully can actually demonstrate resilience and problem-solving skills to your potential employer.

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