Preparing For Interview Online

Interviewing for a job has changed since the Covid-19 pandemic. Recruiters and jobseekers

are going to have to adapt to the new way of doing things. Although we have always been

taught how to conduct face-to-face interviews, we might lack knowledge regarding the tips

and tricks of conducting interviews in front of our cameras. Here are some tips for the online

interview process.


Make sure all the Technology is Working

Make sure the technology is working properly as the interview will not even get off the

ground if you have a dodgy internet connection or are not familiar with the necessary

programmes to communicate effectively with your potential employer. A virtual interview

requires tools like a camera and microphone on your computer, a software programme such

as Google Meets, MS Teams or Zoom and a reliable internet connection. Tip: At least a day

before your virtual interview check all of your technology to ensure it works effectively and

can be used to communicate effectively. In the 10 to 15 minutes before your interview check

your internet connection, sign into the meeting a few minutes early, and turn on the sound

and video to ensure everything is in working order in time for your conversation. Another tip:

Use the laptop/PC speaker and microphone or discreet wired headphones that have an

inbuilt microphone. Avoid Bluetooth headphones which can lose connectivity.


Set the Scene

Be conscious of your background. Try to choose a space that is clean and professional-looking so the interviewer can focus their attention on you and not what is around you. If you

don’t have a space like this you can also use a neutral virtual background. Place your

computer on a stable surface like a table or desk instead of your lap. You might sit the laptop

on a stack of books so that the camera is at face level to avoid unflattering angles. Make

sure the lighting is bright. Ensure there are no interruptions and your phone is on silent.

Ensure it is not noisy in the background even if this is hard to achieve if you live in a house

with family or flatmates. Noise will definitely add to the stress and may distract your

concentration. Set yourself up and be live online five minutes early.

Once you are all set up smile and try to relax. Remember the CV has done its job if you are

invited to interview, so it is an opportunity to expand on what you know or can bring to the

company. Bear in mind for most companies the interviewers are adapting as well to new

ways of working.


Dress to Impress

It takes about 7 seconds to make a first impression. As you cannot shake hands, the first

point of judgement becomes the way you are dressed, meaning that facade assumes a

higher value. You only need to frame your face and the upper part of your bust, so establish

that these parts are presentable.Dress the same formal way you would if it were a face-to-face interview. Do not wear striped clothing, as the lines might look moving all around your outfit. Remember this is the first impression an interviewer will get of you. The formality of a remote interview can actually

help you, as it not only makes you appear professional and excited about the opportunity,

but it will also help make you feel more prepared and confident.



Prepare Properly – Research the Company and Prepare Interview Questions

In much the same sense as a conventional interview, it is all about preparation. It is

important to know the role requirements, research the company, and be clear on the value

that you would bring to the role.


Re/ interview questions - It will be important to anticipate the sort of questions you might be

asked so you can prepare answers. There are many sample interview questions available

online, so you should gather a bank of interview questions for yourself. Use the STAR

framework to answer competency-based questions [see our Guide to Competency-based

Interview Questions]. Preparing for interviews in this manner will give you confidence and

help to alleviate nerves. Do not rely on a written script or post-its pinned around your screen

that you can read from directly. Prepare so that you are able to have a natural conversation

without clicking around or reading directly from paper, which can seem rehearsed and

unnatural.


Tip: Practice your answers. Do some practice calls via Skype or Zoom with friends and

family, and get feedback in relation to your eye contact, body language and audio. Some

topical questions you might consider preparing answers for include how you handle your

work-life balance in a pandemic. What’s your work-from-home set-up like? Have you learnt

any new skills in the past couple of months? You could talk about new hobbies you have

picked up rather than focusing just on professional qualifications. Another tip: Keep a log of

any questions which come up in interviews so you can use this information to prepare for the

next one


Be Prepared to Ask Topical Questions

Prepare a couple of questions of your own to show you are engaged with the ethos of the

Company as well as having a healthy curiosity as to how it all works. You could enquire

about how the Company has changed since the pandemic struck. What have they learned

as managers from the crisis, and how do they manage their teams? What are the strategic

priorities of the organisation, and have these changed due to the crisis? How does the role

you are applying for help in achieving them? You could ask the interviewer what the

Company does for its employees, and how it supports them. How do they ensure employees

are able to work in an adaptable and agile way in the future? What is their management

style when leading hybrid teams, and how do they ensure the organisational culture is

maintained when working in a hybrid way?