How to Ace That Online Interview
Guest Post by Rachel Jennings
Interviews are always nerve-wracking, and due to the current global situation many are now being conducted online. This means that even though many of the standard interview rules we mentioned in a previous post entitled ‘Are You prepared For Your Job Interview?’ still apply, like coming in early and anticipating a skills test, there are a lot of extra things you should be taking note of. To help you ace that online interview, here are some tips to remember before, during, and after.
Before the interview
Hours before your interview, you need to do more than just practice your answers and prepare questions (although those are still important). It’s often overlooked, but HP’s Tech Takes recommends double-checking your Wi-Fi speed before entering the call. Depending on the video conferencing software you will be using, the bandwidth needed to show and receive clear videos may vary. For example, Zoom needs at least a 1.2 Mbps upload speed, while Google Hangouts needs 2.5 Mbps because of all the integrations. To check your current speed, go to Speedtest.com.
Finally, choose a quiet space with a neutral background to set all your equipment on. Dress your upper half professionally. If you’re not living alone, inform everyone in the vicinity not to disturb you during the call.
During the interview
In any interview, Ulm University’s study found that looking directly at the interviewer’s eyes gives off an impression of confidence and sincerity. However, it’s a bit different in an online interview. When you look at your interview’s eyes in this setup, you’re actually going to look like you’re staring off into space. If you want to look straight at their “eyes,” you need to look at the camera.
Of course, this isn’t ideal for you, because now you can’t gauge the interviewer’s impression on your answers… or so you think. You can remedy this in two ways: minimizing your video window on a computer and placing it as close to the webcam as possible or taking the call on your smartphone. The space between a smartphone’s front camera and screen is so close that looking at the screen will make little difference.
After the interview
After the interview is done, it’s time to ask your questions. Revolve your questions around three things in particular: the company culture, expectations, and the next step in the interview process. The first one is especially important in these testing times. For example, ask for their expected office hours and the minimum internet speed required for their workload. Don’t forget to thank the interviewer for the opportunity before you end the call.
If it’s been a week since the interview date, it’s already a polite time to send a follow-up email. Professionals from The Ladders advise that it should contain the following:
• A brief “thank you” line for their time
• Points that you like about the company
• The skills that you have that match the role you’re applying for
• How you’re looking forward to hearing from them soon
Remember to keep it short, sweet, and easy to read.
Overall, if you want to ace an online interview, keep in mind the standard interview must-dos, like dressing up professionally and looking at them in the “eye,” but also pay attention to the technology that you need to use like your connection speed and webcam. Ensure that you’re leaving the best impression possible.