In this blog post, we’ve compiled helpful tips for jobseekers to feel confident and prepared for online interviews. We’ll cover your set-up, eliminating distractions, practising answers, and how to present yourself. 

Do a test run with your computer/device

You need to feel comfortable using the platform your interviewer may be using like Skype, Zoom, Google Meets, or FaceTime. Log in to the platform ahead of time and check your connection quality for audio and video – most services have a testing feature in the settings where you can record a segment to listen back to.

Pick the perfect spot 

Find somewhere with natural light and try to face towards it. This avoids casting any shadows on your face and offers the clearest picture of you for the interviewer without glare. Next is to make sure your spot is quiet and that you won’t be disturbed during your interview. Make sure your device has access to power if it’s needed, and that you’re set-up ahead of time on a stable surface to perfectly frame you from your shoulders to the top of your head. Lastly, avoid digital backgrounds – while these are fun, you’re trying to come across as professional and interested, avoid the unnecessary distraction and you’ll save on data. 

Remove distractions  

Silence all of your devices that could interrupt the interview. There’s nothing worse than having to leave your interviewer while you run to silence a phone ringing in the background. Make your family or roommates aware of your interview, and that you need silence and no interruptions during your session. It’s best to avoid half-clothed people walking in the background or a cat running across your desk – while these accidents can be hilarious, your interviewer may see it as being unprepared.

Dress professionally 

First impressions matter. Sit straight up looking directly into the camera and speak clearly to give the best impression right at the start of the interview. You’ll be seen as prepared, interested, and present. The bonus to dressing to impress is the extra confidence it gives you, smile and engage! 

Prepare a strong opening statement 

Prepare a short job-focused introduction of yourself. This is a professional summary of your career and achievements so far. Keep it short and concise by mentioning past jobs, experience, skills you’ve learnt, and what you’re looking to achieve in the future – this last part you can tailor to the specific interview. You’ll impress the recruiter with a short and to-the-point statement summarising yourself.   

Listen carefully   

It’s easy to miss something important during an interview. If you have a set of headphones use them – and test the audio and microphone quality ahead of time. Sometimes it’s best to play the audio through the headphones and to use your laptop microphone. These settings can be found in the waiting room before you log in to the interview. If you have questions that come up during the interviewers pitch to you – jot these down to ask once they’ve finished speaking. With online interviews, it can be awkward to interject and to have overlapping sounds leaving both of you waiting for the other to speak. Establish a clear back-and-forth.

Write down 5 questions beforehand  

Prepare these by doing some research on the company and industry. While you can ask about pay and benefits, these topics will be covered by the interviewer. Don’t ask about leave days in the first interview. Your questions will show genuine interest and that you’re serious about the job. While some of these questions may be answered along the way, you should have a few left for the end of the interview when you’ll have a chance for any other questions. These will leave a lasting impression as you approach the end of the interview. 

Be yourself

Your CV got your foot in the door. The interviewer knows about your experience and that you’re more than likely already qualified for the job – otherwise you wouldn’t have the interview. Coming across as genuine, prepared, and approachable will make you stand out from the rest. Engage in polite conversation to build the beginnings of a relationship with the interviewer. This may be the weather, what you can spot in the background, or something that comes up naturally. Lean into this, it will calm your nerves and set the interviewer at ease that you’re being genuine and honest throughout the interview.

Online interviews can be daunting – the best thing you can do is to prepare and plan, avoid distractions and build a genuine connection with your interviewer. The best way to showcase yourself is to establish that connection to set yourself at ease, your authentic self will follow!