Tips for an online job interview

As many of job openings that we have at jobseekers involve clients from overseas, there is always a likelihood of a request to attend an online interview. These can use technologies such as Skype, Lync, GoToMeeting, Fuze etc. As these technologies can be run on your own computer or even smartphone, there are certain opportunities that this presents for your preparation for your interview.

Technology. A few key things to consider when preparing your device:

  • Is this technology that you have already installed?
    If not, can you install and test prior to the interview?
  • Do you have an id for this service?
    If you do, make sure that it is one that is appropriate to handout to prospective employers. What might be a fun nickname for friends might not present you in the best light with an employer
  • Internet connection.
    Will the connection be good enough? Should you try somewhere else? Are other people using the connection? Some of these things you can control, for example let people know that you have an important meeting and make sure noone is streaming video or sharing large files
  • Headphones
    If you have them, are they working well, how is the microphone? An advantage of headphones and external microphones is that they can control some of the other noises, like the tapping on a keypad or other localised noises
  • Most importantly
    Close all applications that you do not need for the interview. This means, no facebook, twitter, email, other IM client, if you are not using your phone – put it on silent

Environment. Here are some key points to think about when you select the location for the interview:

  • Can you manage the noise?
    Is there a lot of street noise, noisy air-conditioning, animals such as dogs and of course roosters? Think about what you can do to limit these noises intruding into your interview
  • Lighting
    With different timezones think about the light that will be available at the time of the call? Will you be using overhead lights, desk lamps etc? Test how you look with these on, what shadows are there, do you look ok?
  • Background
    Try not to have a window behind you as the glare may make you a silhouette, make sure there is no offensive artwork behind you and think about creating the right environment. This is one of the advantages of online interviews, you can prepare the environment…
  • Clothes & Appearance
    Yes, while it is true that they interviewer will probably only see your upper half, getting fully dressed and prepared as you would for a normal interview will put you in the correct professional frame of mind and help you focus on the task at hand – win these people over
  • Family & Friends
    Possibly one of the hardest elements of the environment to control, but try to prevent any sudden interruptions, loud shouting and walking into the room if you are closed off. Also remind them that you need max internet speed until you have finished the call.

Ok so we have looked at the aspects that we need to control, now let’s think about the preparation

  • Practise makes perfect, as we mentioned earlier, get familiar with the application before the interview, know how to use it and if possible, practice with a friend. Get feeback on your eye contact, the clarity of your voice and how you come across at the other end of the call (lighting, background external noises etc.)
  • Prepare and research like you would for any face-to-face job interview
  • Look the part: You may not be meeting in person but they still see you, so neat hair, appropriate dress, clean shaven etc.
  • Should you have notes on the screen to help? Some people like to do this to keep your responses focused, if you do do this, remember that you will need to maintain contact with your interviewer at all times

Now for  the easy part… the interview:

  • Look into the camera, not the screen: This can be disconcerting, but it shows professionalism. Keep good eye contact like you would with a face-to-face conversation
  • Speak clearly
  • ’Stay focused and keep your head in the game’ Don’t be distracted by anything else going on around you. When you’re in the interview, that’s all you should be thinking about
  •  If there are technical issues, calmly try to fix them, and apologise for the delay
  • Relax and enjoy the experience, a relaxed person will come across as more professional and likeable over an online interview


Hints & Tips, Hints for the Interview