How to Better Prepare Yourself for an Online Interview

6 October 2022

Working remotely and from a home office appears to be the new path forward for many. Being productive, active and engaged within a virtual working space is becoming increasingly easy for many of us. There’s currently a number of user-friendly technologies that do not require difficult installation of programs and that can be joined in just one click. Now that we are more comfortable using such media on our PCs and phones, it can be easy to forget when to prioritise preparation or dress-code. Do these things still count for an online job interview?

The answer is yes… if you want the job, show that it matters to you. This means you should prepare!

  • Create a suitable and quiet space for it. Sometimes candidates complete interviews from their phone in a car park. If you explain why and try to find a suitable quiet area, keep your engagement and focus, you can still succeed. A plain background is best, so all eyes are on you in the interview. Minimizing distracting or inappropriate surroundings is an important step! If you’re at home, find yourself a stable connection and appropriate location. Do not give a last-minute online house tour introducing family members.

  • Testing your mobile or PC equipment ahead of time is important. This gives you peace of mind that your camera and audio will work well for the actual interview. Doing a test-run is also a great way to observe how you appear on camera, allowing you to adjust angles and settings appropriately. Try making a virtual call with a friend using the same technology. Familiarising yourself with the platform through a simple test is the easiest way to prepare before a virtual interview.

  • If you are late, acknowledge it. Everyone has technical difficulties from time to time. Rather than keeping quiet and not acknowledging you were late, mention it at the start of the interview and apologise if it is warranted. Being on time shows your organisational skills as well as your interest in the role and respect for others’ time. If you experience delays that were longer than expected, call or message the recruiter or hiring manager to keep them updated. If you need to reschedule, that is okay, just don’t leave it until the last minute or fabricate excuses. It is often obvious to the recruiter when you are purely disinterested.

  • Consider wearing headphones with a built-in microphone to eliminate external sounds around you. If you don’t have that option, try to isolate yourself in a room, car or even a corner. Speak clearly and if you don’t understand something, speak out. Technology may be challenging sometimes and everybody understands that.

  • Preferably, have your camera on – there is a reason the recruiter or hiring manager wants to see you. More than 50% of first impressions are created by what we see, including our body language and facial expression. Unfortunately, via video interview our body language is a bit limited. Placing the camera at your head level and not under your chin makes a positive difference to perspective but also provides a little bit of spacing so that your head is not covering the screen. If you’re joining an online interview panel, it is likely that your device might display on a big screen in a meeting room. Also, if you have a chance to not hold the device in hand for the whole time and have it safely fixed in front of you, you’re a winner!

  • If you know the interview questions ahead of time, or complete a pre-recorded video interview, definitely prepare some points for your answers, but do not read out loud all sentences. Look prepared but not staged. If you prepared your own elevator pitch, train it hard so that it sounds easy and natural. Preparation is key for job interviews, if you are unsure if you’re ready, you can use our checklist:

  • Speak to the point. Provide all answers but don’t over complicate it with too many details. Structure your answers if you can and link it back to the original question.

  • Everybody is nervous, admitting it is fine, but you don’t have to repeat that with each answer. If your hands are nervous and flying all over the space, hold something – a pen or a notepad will do. It’s ok to accept your nervousness but do not try to overcome it with stiffness or unnatural poses. Being as genuine as possible is the right card to play. You will more likely show your fit for a team if you show emotion rather than being too “emotionless” or “cold”.

  • Dress for the role. Wearing a hoodie might give you a “pass” for a General Hand type of role but if you apply for a receptionist or office role your self-presentation should match the position and show your maturity. Dressing appropriately will also show that you will be able to represent the company brand or impress a potential future client. Dressing from head to toe appropriately is important. You may believe the interviewer will only see your top-half – and this may be true! However, dressing to impress works both ways, and being dressed appropriately is sure to boost your confidence.

  • Don’t forget to breathe and make short pauses. This accounts for any lag between you and your interviewer. It will also give you some time to think and refresh. An interview is not a fast race. 

  • A follow-up email is a great way to continue engagement with your interviewer and encourage further communication.

If you would like some more tips and tricks on how to best prepare for your next interview, please contact our recruitment team via the link below.