The very thought of an online interview can be daunting especially when you are talking to a moving photograph and not a person in reality.. and so to ace an online interview is a distant dream. Technology has pushed organizations to opt for convenience and cost effectiveness in conducting job interviews through online modes. Companies do this on different platforms like Skype, Zoom, Google meet and others like them.
What should you know before the interview?
1. Understand from the interviewer, what platform or application would be used for the interview if the interview letter does not mention it.
2. Understand will it be an audio only or both audio and video. Also understand if it is mandatory to use a laptop or you can do it through your smart phone. (However, a laptop is highly recommended)
3. If it’s a video call, understand if you would be required to show some physical documents during the call.
4. Carefully note the time zone of the interview call.
5. It is important to read the interview invitation completely and do it at least thrice.
6. Find out if there is going to be a panel or will it be pre-recorded questions that you have to answer and how many chances will you get to record your answer.
Having said that, the most common mode of an online interview is the webcam based interview with a two or three member panel on the other end. Panel less interviews are more common across different time zones and are usually used as a first round filter.
How should you prepare for the online interview?
1. Download the software or the client for the interview ahead of time and practice it with a friend if it is new for you. Fumbling during the interview sends out a wrong message.
2. Choose a professional username or display name. It could be a variation of your real name.
3. Make sure that your microphone and speakers are working fine.
4. Make sure that your internet connection supports the platform and video calls. There is nothing worse than the call getting hung during an interview.
5. Get all your required documents together. I good practice is to scan them and make a PowerPoint presentation of the images so that you can either forward that or run that during the interview if allowed/asked.
6. Rehearse your answers as there are chances of fumbling. Remember, you are speaking to a person who is physically not present here.
7. Give yourself a good sleep the night before. The puffed eyes and lack of sleep is very evident in a camera.
On the day of the interview. Let’s ace an online interview!
1. Test your equipment setup once again for proper functioning, well in advance so that you have time to rectify anything wrong.
2. Choose a place with no sound or visual distractions. It should have proper lighting which should highlight your face. Best bet is natural lighting that illuminates your face. Light falling on the camera or the screen of the laptop can cause disaster. Avoid overhead lighting as that tends to create dark shadows on your face.
3. If you have won some cups and trophies, it is a good idea to set them up for display at your back. You may use a tall table or a stool so that in the camera they are visible at your shoulder height.
4. Start the equipment ten minutes before the scheduled time and login 2 minutes before the schedule time of the interview if allowed to do so.
5. Dress and groom formally as you would for a face to face interview.
6. Your camera setting should be such that the upper body (chest and upwards) is clearly visible. There should be space above your head and shoulders. (See point 3 for reason).
7. During the interview, look at the camera and not the screen.
8. Smile aptly and generously during the session.
9. Keep your body language and gestures mild and while using your hands, make sure you don’t wave them too close to the camera.
10. Thank the interviewer at the end of the interview and wait for them to close the meeting.
Have a great interview!
Dr. Ajit Srivastava
Author Dr. Ajit Shrivastava is HoD Career and Communications at CH EdgeMakers