How to prepare for an online job interview

Angela Farmeary

Do you have an online job interview coming up? Nervous about using Zoom or Teams or some other online platform for your interview? Don’t worry, there are lots of people also doing this for the first time too. As most people know, the job market is extremely competitive now. Getting that email or phone call requesting you for a job interview is fantastic! Therefore, when you are selected, make sure that you are completely and utterly 100% well prepared! Do not leave anything to chance. You will probably be one of 4 or 5 people they are interviewing for the role, so that’s pretty good odds!

Here are some tips to assist you in preparing for the interview.

Before the Interview

  • Research the company and know the names and positions of your interviewers. Check them out on LinkedIn beforehand and have a look through their profiles. Do you have anything in common? Also check out the LinkedIn company page, this is where you can view recent articles the company has posted. Scroll through them and check out what has been going on with the company. Additionally, check out the company website, their “about us” as well as their values and overall purpose.
  • Read through the job description or job advert and highlight 5 key things you think they are looking for. Be prepared that this may be what they will ask you about at the interview.
  • To help you prepare and answer behavioural interview questions, ensure you have practiced your “stories”. Use the C.A.R.L framework (Context, Action, Result, Learning) to keep you on track with your answers.
  • Send me a DM if you would like a copy of my handy tips on how to prepare for behavioural interview questions using the C.A.R.L framework.
  • Practice your answer to the question, “tell me about yourself?”

Getting Your Laptop Ready for the Interview

  • Test your laptop camera and sound. Ensure both are switched on and are working. Also check your internet connection. If you have an unstable internet connection, then considering using hotspot through your mobile phone network. Also ensure your laptop is fully charged.
  • Elevate your laptop to avoid staring down into the camera. Open your camera to see how you will look to others. Ensure you can see yourself from mid chest to the top of your head. Push the laptop further away if your image is too close.
  • Find out how to “share screen” in case you need to talk through a portfolio of work or a case study
  • Ensure you have downloaded any necessary software and tested this in advance
  • Close all other applications on your laptop and silence your mobile phone

Getting “You” Ready for the Interview

  • Dress professionally, as you would in the office. Position yourself at a table, against an uncluttered neutral background with good lighting that ensures your face is well lit. Have a paper copy of your resume and the job description or job advert.
  • Attach post-it notes around your laptop with prompts to remind you what to say.
  • Remove any distractions from the room for the duration of the interview. Close all doors to the room you are in and consider sticking a “do not disturb” sign to the door, if you think a family member may interrupt you.
  • Have a pen and paper available and a glass of water next to you.
  • Have the mobile phone number and email of the interviewer in case video connection is lost.

During the Online Interview

  • Relax and be yourself and remember to smile.
  • Think of your laptop camera as a “person” and ensure you make regular eye contact with it.
  • Keep your answers relevant and succinct and don’t talk for too long. Each answer should be maximum 2 minutes.
  • Listen and don’t interrupt when someone else is speaking.
  • Know your “stories” so you can use them in your answers. Use the C.A.R.L framework (Context, Action, Result, Learning) to help you.
  • Have 2 or 3 questions prepared that you might ask them at the end of the interview. For example, “What are the goals for this role in the first 6 months?”

After the Interview

  • Send a thank you email within 6-8 hours after the interview to the person who organised the interview. Tell them how much you enjoyed the interview and that you are keen on the role. Remind them that you look forward to hearing back from them. List your mobile number under your name.
  • If you do not hear back in the timeframe they stated, then always follow up. Try emailing again, then calling them. My rule for follow up is 3 times over a week. It is always important to ask for feedback if you are unsuccessful.

Good luck and remember, some of your interviewers may also be conducting an online interview for the first time too!

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