As video conferencing technology continues to get better and better, more companies are embracing online interviews. Interviewing candidates online saves time, money, and can speed up the hiring process. And as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many employers have no choice but to conduct online interviews.
Though much of the preparation for online interviews is similar to that of in-person interviews, there are some key differences you should know before you sit down with a potential employer for an online interview.
Here’s how to effectively prepare for an online interview.
Test Your Technology
Even with all the amazing technological advances we’ve seen in recent decades, technology is still not 100 percent reliable. If you’ve ever experienced an internet outage or a computer crash, you know technology can be fickle. That’s why it’s imperative that you test your technology before you have your interview.
Start by ensuring your computer and webcam are working. You will also want to familiarize yourself with the video conferencing technology you’ll be using for your interview. Conduct a test with a friend or family member so you know how to work the software properly.
In case something does go wrong during the interview, such as a computer freeze or lost connection, determine a backup plan with the interviewer prior to your interview.
Practice Your Interview Answers
Just like you would for an in-person interview, you should practice answering potential interview questions before your interview. You won’t know every question they will ask, but check out the top 10 most common interview questions — you can be sure they will ask some of those.
If this is your first online interview and you want to get a feel for how it will go, ask a friend to help you practice. Give them a list of questions, set up a video conference online, and have them ask you the questions and practice answering them.
Though the interview is online, you should still dress as if you were going to an in-person interview. The interviewer will still be able to see you and they will appreciate the fact that you still dressed to impress, even though it’s online.
Find the Right Spot
As you prepare for your online interview, you need to consider where you will do it from. Choose a place in your home that is quiet and free of distractions. Make sure there is nothing in the background that could distract the interviewer or that could be perceived as unprofessional. You will also want to consider the lighting. Will the interviewer be able to see you clearly? Overall, make sure to choose somewhere you will be comfortable and able to focus on your interview.
Be Aware of Your Body Language
Even in an online interview, you need to be cognizant of your body language. Sitting up straight, making eye contact, and keeping you hands away from your face will communicate to the interviewer that you are engaged. You should also be aware of body language mistakes and how you can avoid them.
At the end of your online interview or any interview for that matter, you should always ask questions. This shows the interviewer that you’re interested in the position and not just looking to work anywhere that will have you. It also shows that you’ve done your research and have given the job a lot of thought.
It’s important to follow up with your interviewer after your interview. It shows that you are interested in the position and eager for the next step. Wait a day or two to follow up. Your follow up could be an email or a handwritten note, but avoid calling them, In your follow up, reiterate why you think you’d be a good fit for the job and inquire about the next step in the interview process.