Across varying markets, we are seeing strategic hires continuing to be made throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It is vital for both interviewers and interviewees to adapt to an online recruitment process. There is no doubt that companies will continue to embrace technology through the hiring process going forward. For many candidates (and interviewers) it is the first time they have conducted interviews online.
Here are our 10 top tips for performing at your very best during an online interview.
- Find a quiet spot
Whilst childcare is no doubt one of the biggest challenges of working from home currently, try to find a quiet place in the house where you will not be disturbed. Forewarn your family of the scheduled interview time and put a do not disturb sign on the door. The last thing you want is a wandering pet or excitable children interrupting you, mid conversation. Interviewers understand the pressures currently and they are quite possibly facing the same challenges too, however you want to ensure you give your best account without any distractions.
- Dress the part
Whilst many of us are enjoying sporting our more casual clothes as we set up the home office for a day of work, remember interviews offer a first impression for your potential future employer. Dress as you would for a face to face interview. First impressions count!
- Find a neutral background
Your potential new employer will get a view of what is behind you, so it is best to set yourself up in a tidy and professional environment in order to eliminate distractions. A plain or simple background is best.
- Get the lighting right
Too much or too little light can make it challenging for the interviewer to see you. Sitting with your back to a window can create a silhouette effect and similarly a dark room with the curtains closed will make it difficult for the interviewer to see you. If possible, sit facing the window or light source so that you are clearly visible.
- Do a test run
With many software options available for video conferencing, you may not have used the assigned programme before. Whether its Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangout, Skype or Facetime make sure you have the software downloaded and ready to use. Set up a test call with a friend or your recruiter beforehand to ensure that you are comfortable with the camera and audio settings and the software features. Use this time to get used to where the camera is too and ensure you are looking at it.
- Make sure your tech is charged and ready to go
Whichever device you are using whether it is a laptop or tablet, ensure its fully charged or keep it plugged into power. The last thing you want is to cut off or be distracted by the “low battery” warning.
- Give yourself time
As you would for a face to face interview, set yourself up early in case anything goes wrong. Arrive online 5-10 minutes early to ensure that you logged in and there are no technical glitches. If there are, you have time to deal with them without being late.
- Close down everything else on your PC
Ensure your emails and browser are closed to avoid any unwanted distractions. The last thing you want to see is an urgent email appear or a calendar invite when you have just started your interview – it could throw you off and you don’t want it lingering in the back of your mind throughout the conversation.
- Get yourself in the right headspace
Lockdown has been difficult for most of us at one time or another and interviews can be nerve wracking for many people too. Make sure you are in a positive mindset going into the interview. Take a walk or run ahead of your interview time to clear your head and get yourself in the best frame of mind.
- Remember the usual rules apply!
Whilst you may be in the comfort of your own home, an online interview holds the same weight as a face to face meeting. Ensure you are fully prepared, have researched the role and company and can provide tangible examples to back up your answers. Interviewers will want to know what you are motivated by the role and your reasons for applying. As with all interviews it is a two-way conversation and you have to like them as much as they like you! Make sure you have questions prepared, not only does this demonstrate your interest but gives you the opportunity to understand any elements of the organisation, culture or role in more detail.