Since March this year, everything has changed.
The pandemic left humanity shook in every aspect of human existence.
And the most affected part of our lives was… work!
Offices shut down and the whole world went under lockdown. A lot of large organizations decided to maintain social distancing and work from home policy for the entire year.
But the pandemic taught us an important thing, which is that companies can work remotely and keep going regardless of businesses being down.
From meeting rooms we shifted to video calls, and so did the interview processes.
Online interviews, which were only taken when hiring someone from outside the state or country became the only viable way to keep the recruiting processes going.
And now, just like a face to face interview, online interviews require the right preparation to get that offer letter you want!
As online interviews become a skill in itself, we’ve compiled some of the best online interview tips that can give you the edge that you need to land a job remotely.
1. First impressions matter (yes, even from the comfort of your home)
I understand that it’s hard to separate comfort from your home but just like a normal interview, you want to make a lasting impression on the interviewer.
An online interview doesn’t mean you turn on your webcam in your loose tees and boxers.
Dress up! Just like you would if you had to go to a company for the interview.
Take a bath, groom yourself and look more presentable for the interview panel. Recruiters do see such efforts. And such efforts speak a lot to them about your personality and character.
Put on a colour you look really good in… it may sound not so significant but psychologically, it will give you confidence.
Besides, during this pandemic you’re not getting any chance to go anywhere, so why not take this as an excuse to dress up!
2. Setting up your camera (Think like a director!)
A friend of mine is an aspiring director and professional cinematographer and he says it’s all about the frame.
The frame is everything your camera will be able to see and show to your interviewer. The reason why the world of movies looks so good is that they pay extra attention to what they want to show you and what they don’t!
So think like a director.
Open your webcam and set up your frame. See how it’s looking when you’re sitting on your chair.
Check the background, make sure no useless things are lying at the back. The background should be neat and clean.
The more cluttered your background, the less attention will go on you (learnt this from a professional).
Again, it may seem trivial but these are the things you can do to convey your message that you’re serious and you mean business!
3. Lights! Lights! Lights!
Lighting is very important because you don’t want to look dull on the screen or worse not be visible at all.
This all comes down to the lights.
The best way to set up your lighting is by illuminating your face.
Place a soft light behind your camera focusing on your face. This can be a bulb or an LED but make sure it’s not too bright or warm as you will be sitting in front of it for a while.
The light will ensure that your face is illuminated and interviewers can see you properly.
Another tip is to add a really low light in the background to illuminate it so that your background doesn’t appear like you’re sitting in Batman’s cave!
A zero watt bulb or dim fairy lights can be a nice way to illuminate your background.
It may sound like a lot of work but it isn’t.
Imagine setting it all up and when the interviewer sees you properly with that lit background, they’ll be impressed, especially after those dull bad video quality interviews they just took!
4. Remove distractions
Now the most important of them all is – no distractions. Once those interviewers come up on your screen, it’s showtime!
So make sure you’ve petted your cat or dog and told your family members beforehand!
Put your phone on silent and ensure no other noises are coming from adjacent rooms.
It should be pretty silent just like a good old interview room.
Also, make sure there are no other tabs or programs open on your laptop or whichever device you’re using for the online interview.
The last thing you want while answering an important question is Facebook pop up!
5. Look at the camera!
The worst mistake after all these efforts you can make is looking at the interviewer on your screen while answering questions!
It doesn’t look good! It looks as if you’re looking at the Facebook pop up!
When you’re answering a question, look directly at the camera. I know it feels unnatural but when you look at the camera, you’re making eye contact with the interviewer.
A cool trick is to resize your video window and place it as close as to your camera. This way you will be able to look at the interviewer as well as make eye contact with them.
6. Use earphones
What’s the point of setting up your frame, background and lights if the interviewer can’t hear you properly!
Never use the laptop speakers for your online interview. Their voice will go through your mic and will most likely create an echo.
This will be frustrating for your interviewer and it may throw you off of your focus.
Use earplugs or earphones to communicate with the interviewer.
This will ensure you can hear them properly and they can hear you.
7. Keep docs, a notepad and a pen handy
This one is a no brainer but it’s important to keep your docs handy.
Make sure that your resume and other important docs needed for the interview are right beside you.
I recommend keeping the soft copies open on your device and hard copies by your side.
So, if by any chance they need to see your resume or other documents, you can quickly mail them and if you need to refer to them yourself, you can go through the hard copies there and then.
Also, there might be questions, points or notes you may need to pen down, so a notepad and pen will be a must!
8. Cheer up!
These days everyone is lazing on their bed and not socializing and this will be obvious if you don’t get into that energetic vibe you would’ve had if you were in an interview room.
The last thing you want is a low lethargic and lazy tone in your voice during an interview.
So, make sure you get into the groove being cheerful and energetic before that call arrives.
Do your ritual. Listen to your favourite pumping song, talk to your friends or do whatever that will get your energy up.
Remember, a cheerful vibe is contagious!
Also Read: Skype Interview: Tips and Questions
9. Practice. Practice. Practice.
The most obvious but the most overlooked online interview tip is – Practice!
You need to practice everything! Your camera angle, background, lights, sound, your dressing and your interview itself.
Ask a friend to give you a video call on the same platform you would be interviewing, set up a mock drill and ask your friend if everything looks smooth.
Practising this will give more confidence and increase your chance of nailing that interview!
Concluding, remember that we are living in a year where all the interviews happening are online and the above-mentioned tips can make you stand out from the crowd. Each online interview tip mentioned in this post can help you make a better impression and non verbally convey that you’re serious about the interview and the role.
All the best!
Stay home, stay safe!