5 tips for mastering your online interview
Although these new processes make it safer for companies to meet and interact with potential hires, it also presents challenges. If you are searching for your next position, it’s important you adequately prepare. With a little bit of practice and preparation, you can ace your interview and set yourself up for the next step in your career.
- Practice makes perfect
All job interviews follow the same basic structure. You answer questions, share information about your work history, and discuss your qualifications and experience. The process is relatively straightforward, but it’s normal to end up feeling nervous or overwhelmed.
In the days leading up to your online interview, make sure to practice. There’s no way to anticipate all the questions you might need to answer, but certain topics are bound to come up. For example, make sure you’re prepared to explain gaps in employment, professional weaknesses, or challenges that you’ve experienced on the job. You can also expect to discuss where you see yourself in five years, and your goals for the position you’re applying for.
Next, practice your presentation skills and the way you speak. If you’ve been invited to interview via InterviewOpps
, you’ll be able to test out your web camera and audio to ensure the hiring manager can hear you and see you clearly. Since an online interview takes place via a web camera or smartphone, there’s an increased risk of audio delays or dropped connections. Speak slowly, take a pause before answering any questions, and be mindful of your facial expressions and posture. If you want to make slight improvements, rehearse in front of a mirror or record yourself speaking and rewatch it.
- Prepare your interview space
Your interview might be online, but that doesn’t mean you should conduct it from your bedroom or a busy cafe. It’s important that you have a professional setting that doesn’t detract from what’s most important: you.
Select an area of your home that is quiet and free of distractions. Sit at a desk or in a supportive chair, practice good posture, and smile. If there are pictures or hangings on the wall behind you, don’t be afraid to take them down.
It’s also important to consider lighting. Should you use an overhead light or the light at your desk? Do you look washed out or overexposed? If possible, try to sit near a window. Web cameras and smartphones respond much better to natural lighting.
If there are shelves or a table behind you, tidy up and make sure they’re free of clutter. You’ll also want a good pair of headphones to cut down on background noise. If you have children at home, make sure they know you’re going into an interview. If you have pets, put them away to avoid interruptions during your call.
- Do your research
Who are you interviewing with? What’s their job description and how long have they been with the practice? If you’re meeting with a recruiter, research the facility they’re recruiting for. If you don’t already know the answers to these questions, it’s important to find out. LinkedIn is incredibly helpful when it comes to the research process.
You don’t need to memorize everything about the company you’re interviewing for, but you don’t want to go into the interview blind, either. If you’re able to show the staff that you know something about their company, you’re more likely to make a good impression.
There can be cases where you are asked to respond to screening questions and pre-recorded video questions, such as on sites like InterviewOpps
, which have features where employers and recruiters can send out on demand video interviews or video applications. If this is the case, you can practice how you answer your questions before recording them and you’re able to re-record your responses if you need to.
Additionally, take the time to research the practice’s values, mission, and client base. The more information you gather, the easier it is to tailor relevant answers, which can help you stand out from the crowd of interviewees.
- Look (and act) the part
We’ve all heard the saying “dress to impress,” and when it comes to online job interviews, this certainly applies. You don’t need to go overboard, but you should dress professionally.
This might mean a button-up shirt, tie, and suit coat or a dress or business blouse. Make sure to wear pants, socks, and shoes too. The person interviewing you won’t be able to see these details but getting fully dressed can help put you in the right mindset.
Throughout your interview, look directly at your web camera instead of at the video feed on your computer screen. It is also important to smile. Having a friendly demeanor and making eye contact throughout the call can go a long way toward establishing you as a front runner.
- Get in the right headspace
Job interviews are stressful, so it is perfectly normal to feel anxious or nervous. However, feelings like these can negatively affect your performance. If you want to do your best, take steps to calm yourself before your interview begins.
Consider meditating, practicing yoga, or doing some deep breathing exercises. You might also want to play music that pumps you up or helps you feel more confident.
If you’ve done your research and are adequately prepared, there’s nothing to worry about. You can’t predict every question or know exactly how to respond in the moment, but if you keep a positive attitude and roll with the punches, everything will turn out alright. Good luck!