job interview

Online Job Interviews

Historically, job interviews were designed to get to know the candidate, and the face-to-face interview was considered the best way to do that. Now, the new trend in interviews of job candidates is to conduct the initial interviews by video conference.  Some companies are even experimenting with new technology that has the candidate log in to an interview by a pre-programmed robot who asks a series of questions.

As if interviews weren’t already nerve-wracking enough, a job candidate now has to be tech and camera savvy in order to navigate this new trend, and all while trying to make the “human’ connection that is essential to a successful job interview.

Below are some tips and tricks to help you manage these types of interviews:

Prepare! 

There is no substitute for good preparation.  In addition to preparing your answers and questions as you would do in any interview, there are other things you should also do:

  • Check your internet connection to ensure that it is working
  • Check the speed of your connection to make sure it will work for a video conference
  • Check your video and audio equipment and test both
  • Familiarize yourself in advance with the application to be used
  • Write down login information in case you forget it just before the interview
  • Have a backup plan in the event of a technology failure

Have the right setting.

Choose a quiet place to do the interview, where other people (or pets) cannot be heard or seen.  Make sure the lighting is good and the backdrop is free of clutter and objects that could turn off the interviewer – even colorful water bottles can be a distraction on the screen.  A blank wall is best.  And sit in a chair – avoid sitting on a sofa where your posture could look slouchy or too casual.

Dress appropriately.

Don’t assume that you only need to dress in professional attire from the waist up.  You may find you have to get up during the interview to retrieve a document or to close the door.  Wearing a dress shirt but only boxer shorts won’t work in that case.

Practice!

Spend time in the mirror or better yet, record yourself, using sample questions and answers. Then check your facial expressions, whether you use “um” or “you know” as a gap-filler, and make sure you are not using any body language that could be a turn-off or a distraction.  Many of us do one or more of these things and aren’t even aware of it.  Practice until your narrative is smooth and engaging.

Be authentic.  Be yourself. 

It is challenging enough to do this in person, but technology adds a barrier that makes it even harder to convey who you are.  Be conversational, and not stiff.  Remember to smile and use responses that are no more than 30 seconds in length.  After that, you may lose the focus of the interviewer. 

Don’t worry; you’ve got this!