Even though many restrictions have been lifted since the beginning of the strict lockdown that hit the UK in March, interviews through systems such as Zoom and Microsoft teams are now the new normal, but just like not being prepped for a pandemic – we also haven’t been taught how to interview online. Here are 8 tips on how to ace your online interview:
- Standard rules apply
Ever been told to wear your shirt with no trousers in your interview? Or even on national television? (see picture below) Yeah me neither. Just like a normal interview dress to impress by being smart and professional. It may seem strange wearing your shoes in an interview where they can’t see your feet but the psychological affect this will have on you during your interview will help get you into the mindset you would in a face to face interview.
- Camera contact
Pre corona terms for this would be eye contact but in this case focusing on the camera rather than the screen is the closest you can get to giving the employer a taste of your personality. According to UCLA researcher Albert Mehrabian, 55% of messages processed by the brain are based on a persons body language which means your facial and eye movements are being judged perhaps even more than the skills that are written down on your CV.
2. Make a cheat sheet
Taking notes into a real- life interview would seem un natural and forced, but there is also a tone of un naturalness that comes with online interviews – so take advantage of the employer not being able to see what’s not on camera. You may be a recent graduate applying to be a PA in finance but have no idea what private equity is or a salesman that is nervous because he’s been ‘out of the game’- be kind to yourself and stick some post it notes or sheets next to you on your desk.
- Get in the mood to talk
Remember the first time you conversed with people outside of your household after lockdown? You may have found it difficult to be your energetic, bubbly self because you’ve been cooped up indoors for so long. Going into an interview can be nerve wrecking in normal circumstances but I found at my interview for this job even a conversation with the woman in reception calmed my nerves. Energy and enthusiasm are what employers will look for even more so in a virtual interview so do what gets you ready to show the best version of yourself – this may be doing a home workout or doing a group face time with family members.
- Practice makes perfect
Applications like Zoom allow you to record meetings, obviously you can’t predict what will be asked but usually a question comes up around describing yourself and your professional career so far which for me personally is arguably the most difficult question to answer, however according research conducted by interviewgenie.com this is the most popular question to be asked.
- Master your lighting
Getting the right lighting at home can be difficult but ideally you need to aim for as much light as possible. Try and get as much daylight as possible but if your house isn’t as light as it needs to be then maybe position two lights diagonally in front of you and if you have a white wall background – use it. Minimal distractions in the background are key because after all you are the star of the show.
- Ask for a suitable time
I’ve experienced first-hand through screening candidates with kids how distractions and noise can’t be helped whilst working from home. The interviewer understands that interruptions may occur due to the circumstances however it’s okay to pick a specific time where you know there will be minimal noise in the background.
- Show how you’ve adapted to the new normal
A question that’s likely to pop up is how you’ve spent your time in lockdown as the employer wants to see how you’ve been proactive. These aren’t questions that you’d usually prepare for so it’s essential you really take some thought into this. Just like a lot of interview questions, apply your answer to what they need and in response ask them how the organisation has dealt with the pandemic to get a picture of the remote working lifestyle.
8. Lastly, but definitely the most important – be yourself because there is no-one in the world like you.