Job Hunting 101: The Online Interview
If you have been on the job hunt lately there is a chance that you will be asked for an interview online. This is quickly becoming popular, especially with freelance or remote employees, since they do not need to travel to the office for the interview, and the HR manager does not need to accommodate them. Yet like a face to face interview, an online interview will give the interviewer a more in-depth idea of who and what you are since he can evaluate you not only by how you answer his questions but by your appearance, mannerisms as well, just like in a face-to-face interview. Then there are technical difficulties that can throw you off, and the interview might give the interviewer a glimpse of your room and how you live and when was the last time you tidied up your room?
Now, to make a good impression online you can’t just jump in. You will have to prepare yourself first.
- Practice your Interview First
Practicing helps you get the feel for the interview, and lets you get used to talking to the camera. Most people make the mistake of talking to the screen. The screen is to be peeked at once in a while. If you need to you can even keep notes on your screen and move it near the camera you can for quick references. Practice the different speaking points and questions you might have.
Another reason to practice is to check if your equipment is working properly. Online interviews will be done using a business VoIP app, so make use you have the latest version, and then check for noise levels, and volume. It is better to get yourself a headset with a microphone to alleviate the effect of outside noise. You can play around with the program as well to be comfortable using it, in case you need to share a file or image. The last thing you need to check is if your connection is fast and reliable enough.
- Set the Scene
You will need to find a suitable room for the interview. Keep the door closed to make sure you aren’t being disturbed, and play around with the lights. Set up the PC in such a way that the camera is eye level, and that your entire upper body will be visible, not just your head. If you are doing it in your room it is best to tidy up a bit and point the camera to a neutral background, away from any clutter or piles of old clothes. Then you will need to inform the people at home that you will be having an interview at a certain time. The last thing you need is your mom to interrupt the interview to tell you to take the trash out, or your hippie roommate to walk by in his boxers.
- Look the Part
Dress as if you would for a face to face interview. It helps get you in the proper mindset, and certainly helps make a good impression with the interviewer. Don’t be tempted to come in a blazer and shorts thinking that it won’t be seen under the table. A little slip and the gig is up. A peg you can use is Ron Burgundy or any newscaster in general, since they perfected looking good in front of the camera.
- Watch Yourself
Don’t forget the importance of body language. Remember the basics, sit up straight, make eye (or camera) contact, smile, etc. Since it can be a little weird since you are alone in a room doing all that to a camera you will need to practice a bit. Once you have gotten used to it, you can then show your enthusiasm and interest better. One last thing to control would be how much you move. Try not to fidget or move your hands too much as it can be quite distracting on screen.