You just found out you have an interview for that job that’s perfect for you. But when the recruiter said you’d be doing an online interview instead of flying out for a face-to-face meeting, you start to panic. Relax. Spend your energy thinking about how you’ll answer the tough questions and stop worrying about how the interview process will work.
We’ve worked with some experts to put together a complete online interviewing guide. Below are some of the tips we share to get you through and on to the next round.
Test your technology BEFORE the day of the online interview
Unlike a phone interview, video interviews take some time to set up. Get comfortable using the technology and be aware of what software you’ll need—nothing kills an interview like waiting ten minutes for an applicant to download a plug-in.
Karl Walinskas of Smart Company Growth contributed to InterCall’s Online Interview Guide. Karl suggests that you strongly consider what kind of technology you use for your interview. A computer is the best option. But, you can make hand held devices work.
To make sure your technology is compatible, do a dry run before your interview. Skype a friend and test out the clarity and sound of your video chat.
If you are nervous about having connectivity issues, it’s smart to share your contact info with your interviewer beforehand, either via email or in the chat element of the product that you are using. That way, your interviewer has a way to reach you in case your dog chooses that exact moment to chew through your Ethernet cord.
What you wear to an online job interview matters!
Even though your interviewer will only be able to see you from the waist up, what you wear in your online interview is still important. In fact, choosing the right attire is probably even more critical when you are meeting online.
Why? Because you literally have a small window to make an impression, so give some consideration to how you’ll appear through a computer screen or TV monitor (no busy patterns, please!). Here are some dos and don’ts to help you out:
- Make sure you’re happy with your hair
- Wear colors like blue, deep teal, deep periwinkle, forest green or watermelon
- Put on the suit that doesn’t quite fit anymore
- Forget to put on your pants (not kidding about this one)
- Distract your interviewer with patterned shirts or jackets
- Wear colors like gray, yellow, bright fuchsia, khaki/olive green, beige
Don’t forget to consider your surrounding environment when planning out the logistics of your interview. Keep the setting formal and uncluttered so that it doesn’t distract your interviewer from what you’re saying.
The wall color should be neutral with plenty of natural light. Now is not the time to proudly display your collection of vintage Black Sabbath posters or your gallery of self-portraits in the style of Van Gogh.
Ginger Burr, the President of Total Image Consultants and contributor to our Online Interview Guide, suggests taking your online job interview for a test run with a friend to make sure there are no hiccups.
Once the online job interview begins, it’s just a normal interview
You only get one chance to make a first impression, so be on time. As the candidate, you should always join the meeting a couple of minutes early, giving you more time to diagnose any technical issues and get comfortable in your chosen setting. Rushing or running late, even if you have a good reason, will leave a negative impression.
Keep these items nearby to create a comfortable environment during the interview:
- Glass of water
- Pen and your calendar
- List of things you don’t want to forget, such as questions or important thoughts or examples of your strengths
Once the interview begins, take the questions in stride.
A good online interviewer will be patient with you and try to make you feel comfortable. In the graphic below you will see the advice we give to online interviewers to make candidates feel more comfortable. They will work just as well for you (the candidate).
View the entire Online Interview Guide here.
Interviewing skills get better with practice. The same thing goes when using video conferencing. Ultimately, the interview is about making a personal connection with the interviewer, so stay focused on that rather than allowing technology to form a barrier between you and your potential new job.
We have prepared an entire online guide for you. Learn from industry experts in The Complete Guide to Conquering an Online Job Interview.
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