A guide to online job interviews.

Having a job interview can be scary at the best of times but online job interviews add a whole other host of worries. I recently had one of these and I know plenty of people who have had one, so I am here to guide you through some of the more common fears and problems.

Over the last few months, video interviews have become the norm. Zoom and Teams have experienced a mass increase in usage lately as people have to work from home and need that face to face chat (but virtually). Whilst this has massively changed the working lifestyle, it has also changed interviews. However, do not expect things to return to normal, online interviews save interviewers time and money. For the preliminary steps in an interview, online job interviews could well become the norm. Job interviews can also be recorded when they are done online too, meaning that the interviewer can look back and see which candidate said what and when.

Employee benefits to online job interviews

However online job interviews are beneficial for the employee too, you can be in a more comfortable environment. You can wear what you want (more on this later). There is no fear about being late or getting stuck in traffic. Generally online interviews are less stressful, too.

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Generally, the most common online interview is via webcam. This will be done with the camera in your laptop. There is a lot of video technology out there now including Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype and Google hangouts. The former two are the most common but it is a good idea if you are aware beforehand of which technology you are using. This will create less stress for you overall but also shows a key skill of preparation. If you are unsure about how to use any of the video conferencing technology, there are tutorials on YouTube which explain them to you. One key thing to not do is to look at your own image when you are in an online job interview. This will make you appear disengaged and not interested. Make sure you are looking at the camera itself.

Interviewers can email you a list of questions before the online job interview but there is certainly no guarantee they will do so. It is best if you prepare beforehand like you would for an in-person interview. Do your research about the company, think up challenging questions to ask about your role. Just because you are doing an online job interview does not mean that you do not try your best. If anything, I would always try harder in an online job interview. You still need to stand out.

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Dressing smart in an online job interview is still important. We have all seen the memes where someone is wearing pyjamas underneath a desk whilst on a video conferencing call. Whilst this is funny, and I appreciate comfortable clothing as much as the next person, wearing the right appropriate clothing will put you in a better mindset for the interview. I would also not risk an incident where perhaps I had to stand up to reach something and my panda pyjamas were revealed to all.

Just like a real one

Treating an online job interview like a real one is very important. When you set up your interview, make sure you are in a quiet calm spot. Tell the people in your household what you will be doing so no one bursts in asking if you have got any washing. Whilst this is not your fault if it happens, it can create an aura of chaos around you. Keep your phone away and on silent. Do not check it in your interview. Whilst these seem like basic tips, having an online job interview in your own home can make you relax to a point where the little things do not seem to matter.

Continuing from picking the perfect spot, make sure you are in an area where it is not too dark or too light. Natural lighting is best as it is not distracting. Try and keep the background as neutral as possible. A blank wall or a bookcase is fine but try to eliminate the piles of dirty laundry. Do not worry too much about pets being a distraction although if your cat is prone to walking across keyboards, maybe keep them out of the room. You do not want to run the risk of them accidentally closing the interview halfway through.

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Like any job interview, you will be nervous but talking slow and steady will help keep those nerves hidden away. It is easier to talk to people online but do not let this make you too comfortable. You still want to appear professional. The best thing about online job interviews is that you do not have to worry about giving a handshake. Good luck!

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