What is an Online Interview?
An online interview is an interview conducted through an online audio, video or chat platform, with both employer and candidate at different locations.
With the development of the internet and technology, it is becoming increasingly convenient and cost-effective for job interviews to be conducted online. Online interviews have reduced the cost of transportation and sped up interview processes.
The covid-19 pandemic has plunged the world years into the acceptance of more or entirely remote work. Tech giants like Amazon, Uber and Twitter have all allowed their employees to work remote indefinitely.
Virtual interviews and remote working in general, have allowed companies to embrace hiring talents irrespective of location.
If you’re actively searching for a job, you might be participating in an online interview sooner or later. In this post, we learn what an online interview is and how to excel at it.
Kinds of Online Interviews
Employers can conduct online interviews using different methods. Before your appointment, make sure to ask your interviewer what kind of interview to expect. This includes finding out if the call will include audio, video or both. Additionally, make sure you know where the interviewer will be calling from as time zones vary depending on location.
There are different methods employers can conduct online interviews. It could be audio, video, or both, this is usually specified in the email or message you receive from an interviewer before your interview.
1. Video Calls
Video calls are the most common types of online interview. When preparing for a video interview, some things are requirements that can’t be done without. Luckily, these are things found in most laptops; built-in cameras and mics.
The interviewer will have a preferred program for the online interview like Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, or Hangouts.
During an video interview, the interviewer would be able to converse with you like they would in an in-person interview.
The key to acing video interviews is preparing thoroughly beforehand.
2. Recorded Video InterviewThe recorded video interview is a method for online interviews where you record a video yourself answering interview questions. For this kind of interview, the interviewer sends you some questions beforehand and a deadline for submission.
You will record a video of yourself answering these questions and after answering all the questions on the list, you send or upload the recorded video back to the interviewer.
This kind of interview allows you enough time to prepare before you give your answers, unlike real-time video interviews.
To ace this interview, the rules are the same as with video calls, you need to prepare adequately before.
How to Prepare for your Online Interview
The need to prepare for your online interview cannot be overstated. Some steps have been listed below to help you prepare effectively.
1. Test the program/softwareIf you’ve not used the program for the online interview before, you must familiarize yourself with it before the interview. To do this, you could watch a tutorial online or schedule a call with a neighbor or a friend to test run the software. Make sure you have a solid internet connection that supports high-quality live video. Do this test run at least once or twice to make sure everything runs without a hitch.
2. Practice your interview questionsThe next step is to practice interviewing techniques. If you’re unsure of the right questions to ask yourself, we wrote an article on the best ways to answer common interview questions here.
Practising your interview questions helps you prepare further for your online interview. Practice listening carefully and learn to speak clearly and slowly. The more you practice before the online interview, the more confident you’ll be during the interview.
3. Prepare your locationBefore your scheduled time for the interview, be sure to have a location that’s right and fit for an interview. This location should be a very quiet room with little or no background noise and no distractions. Also, make sure it’s naturally lit and nothing is distracting behind you.
Make sure there’s no intrusion of any kind during the interview as it would look unprofessional if people kept coming into the room you were having the interview.
4. Keep your materials closeKeep a notebook and a pen within reach during your online interview. You may also want to consider keeping a copy of your resume close so it’s easy to consult during the interview.
It is also important to make a list of talking points or questions you would like to talk about during the interview.
While these materials are important, make sure they do not distract you during your interview.
5. Prepare your questionsWhile you’re preparing to answer questions during your online interview, it is also important that you have several questions of your own. Ask the interviewer about the benefits, the job requirements, the salary, what they think about the company, and the plans they have for it. You should ask the interviewer questions that would make them share additional information about the role you’re being interviewed for and the company at large.
Any information they share about what they expect from the right candidate will help you understand the role better and help you prepare more for the next stage of the interview.
Additional Tips for Acing Your Online Interview
When the time for your online interview comes, you’ll need to make a good first impression on your interviewer. Below are additional tips to help you prepare better for your online interview.
1. Dress Professionally
This is usually downplayed mainly because you’re not meeting your interviewer in person, but it is still important to dress professionally. Dress clean, business casual and conservative. You may also want to consider wearing a pair of nice pants and shoes, because for one reason or another, you make be required to walk away from your computer during your online interview.
Your mode of dressing says a lot about who you are and how serious you are about the role you’re applying for.
2. Body Language
It’s especially harder to read body language through video, so be careful of your body language, this includes nonverbal cues. Do not forget to smile and nod whenever your interviewer speaks. During an online interview, you obviously won’t be able to shake hands when the interview is over, this is why you need to show your good manners and professionalism in other ways.
3. Keep Eye Contact
Making eye contact during an interview can be a tricky situation. This is because to make eye contact, you’ll need to focus your gaze directly on the webcam and not your screen or the interviewer’s face. Maintaining eye contact during your online interview and nodding appropriately shows the interviewer that you’re listening attentively.
4. Take a Deep Breath
While it is physically impossible to have nerves of steel, you need to develop the second-best thing for an online interview. Your own nerves could be your worst enemy during an interview.
Take a deep breath before your interview and try to remain calm throughout the interview. You’re more likely to leave an impression on an interviewer if you’re able to keep calm and collected while you answer questions.
One of the best ways to deal with anxiety during an online interview is to have your questions prepared and practised beforehand.
5. Have a Second Option
As reliable as technology is, it is notorious for malfunctioning at the most inconvenient times. During or before your interview, contact your interviewer and agree upon a backup plan in case of any unforeseen circumstance or technical glitch during your online interview.
6. Follow up after Your Interview
You will need to send a thank-you note to your interviewer after your interview. This can be an email or a call, whichever means you have of contacting them.
If you don’t hear from your interviewer after the stipulated time they stated they’d get back to you, you should reach out to them to find out if the hiring is still going on and if they need more information. It is also important to always thank your interviewer for their time.
These tips are necessary to acing your job interview. While some may seem unnecesasry given the fact that it's not an in-person interview, it's still important to stick to them. It's important to stick to these formalities as it puts you on the safe side and could be the difference between you getting the job or not.