How To Prepare For An Online Job Interview

As the world of employment opens up to moving more and more interactions online, virtual job interviews are becoming a norm.

Online interviews are great at bridging people from different parts of the world to opportunities quickly with little to no costs.

It’s easy to take its convenience for granted. So here are surefire ways to take advantage of the situation and make a good first impression at your next online interview:

1. Prepare early

Technology may be convenient but it’s not perfect. Avoid awkward technical errors by testing the session link at least 1 day before the scheduled interview so you can catch any errors that need to be sorted by the employer. 

Besides starting on a more hectic note, starting your online job interview late due to technical issues means you could potentially be losing out on valuable time to impress your potential employer – even if it isn’t completely your fault.

You should also be checking to see if you need to sign up for an account or install any software to join the call. Web versions of Zoom or Google Meet are usually available, but downloaded software is preferred because it is likely more stable and has more features. 

We also recommend installing the needed app to your phone so that in the unlikely event that you experience issues with your computer or wifi connection, your phone and mobile data will be ready to go.

2. Never underestimate the need for good lighting

An online interview is a great chance for employers to put a face to the name and application, but they can’t do that if they don’t have a clear view of your face. Getting good lighting is relatively simple but needs a little preparation. 

Avoid sitting with your back against a bright window where you will be backlit. Instead, use a bright light source that is aimed at your face. This light source can be either natural sunlight or an artificial one like a table lamp. 

It’s also important to note that the light source should be shining from the front of you. Lighting that shines down from above you will cast unflattering shadows on your face. It also tends to make you look different and you do not want to be remembered as someone else at your job interview!

Another great trick is using your computer screen as an additional light source for your face. Just increase the brightness of your screen and let it shine bright. 

If you have the means, you can also invest in a ring light that will ensure well-lit video calls for any time of the day. They’re easy to set up and you won’t be tied to a particular location for good lighting.

3. Raise your device’s camera to your eye level

Placing your camera at eye level makes for a flattering angle for just about anyone. It’s not at all shallow to want to look great during a video call, so do what it takes to make you feel comfortable and confident for your online interview.

Devices placed on tables are almost certainly going to be lower than your eye level, meaning people are going to get a look at you from a low angle. Besides the unflattering angle, it will also seem like you are speaking down on the person you’re talking to.  

An easy fix for this is using a laptop stand, a stack of books, or a higher table to bring the camera up to your eye level. If all else fails, you can also try sitting an arm’s length away from the screen for a decent angle.

4. Create a distraction-free environment

If you’re joining an online job interview, it’s likely that you are doing it from the comfort of your own home. Take caution by ensuring you are in a space that is quiet, private, and free of distractions.

Don’t forget to: 

  • Inform the people you’re living with about your interview, so they will be sure to give you privacy and keep volume low
  • Lock your doors to prevent unplanned cameos – pets and children included!
  • Use a pair of headphones or earphones with a working microphone. They are usually better than your device’s microphone. Avoid using your computer’s speakers during the interview; it could create an echo and distract your interviewer when speaking.
  • Make sure your background is neat, presentable and not inappropriate. If you want to be safe, have your interview seated against a plain background.

5. Get comfortable to avoid getting up often

Once you have your interview space set up, get comfortable so you can avoid needing to get up at any point during the virtual conversation. 

You can do this by preparing these before the interview begins:

  • Have a cup of water or your choice of drink ready with you.
  • If you are using a laptop, have the charger already plugged in and ready to use in case your battery gets low. You wouldn’t want to disconnect with your interviewer mid-conversation.
  • Do anything that helps you be most comfortable and natural. If that means standing during the interview, adjust your camera height to suit your position. 
  • Dress up for your interview. Multiple studies have shown that dressing well can boost your confidence and heightens people’s impression of you.
  • If it helps you be less distracted, feel free to turn off your camera preview option. This will let you focus on the interviewer’s face instead of yours and make for a more natural conversation. Just be sure to check the mirror before your interview begins!

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With these preparations done, you’ll hopefully have a smooth-sailing online interview free of hiccups.

Although the occasional bumps might be unavoidable, don’t forget to keep your cool and stay confident throughout your conversation with the employer.

For common job interview questions and how to answer them, read our article here.