How to Nail an Online Interview
Updated: Dec 2, 2020
In the last few months the rise of online interviews has grown exponentially. None of us thought that online interviews would become the norm and while we have got used to Zooms and other video conferencing there is something totally daunting about doing an interview at home and online.
I know that interviewing at the best of times can feel stressful, there's so much to remember and so much to think about. We’re all so used to interviewing face to face, for so many of us it’s all we’ve ever known and we can feel intimidated by new things when the stakes are high and you have done all the hard work of getting to this point that you really want to make it count. We’re all somehow expected to be camera ready and comfortable with tech but what if you’re not?
1. Get used to using the tech
The first thing we have to really think about is being comfortable with tech. So what does that really mean and how can you do it?
Firstly, find out the platform you’re going to use, make sure to test it with friends if you’re not used to using it so that you are totally comfortable on the day. There is nothing worse than not being able to turn on your microphone or camera when you’re trying to impress. You want to feel relaxed going into the meeting or as relaxed as you can.
2. Get your home camera ready
Create a camera friendly environment. There are a few things that are worth considering when you do this. The background, always make sure that it’s clean and tidy without any kind of kids toys, washing or general household stuff behind you.
Find somewhere quiet and where you won’t be disturbed, I know this isn’t always possible we’ve all seen the people on tv interviews from home with their kids running into the room in the background and I've experienced it too. Just try and minimise it.
Set up your laptop on a pile of books if you don’t have a laptop stand so that your camera is at the right angle. You can try this out when you test the tech up so you know what the angle looks like. You want to be eye height with the camera on your laptop ideally.
3. Your lighting should be good
Check the lighting. This isn’t easy as most of us aren’t expert at lighting and sometimes in the evenings when I shoot videos the light isn't good and theres a shadow behind me which isn't ideal. You want as much light as possible so that they can see you and you’re clear in the picture. You don’t have to have ring lights or buy anything at all. If you think it's worth it you can get one pretty inexpensively so that you have a really bright light when you’re interviewing. Totally up to you though.
4. Test, test and test again
Do some test videos, I said it before and I’ll say it again, REALLY test it out so that you know what to do. I would also make sure that your hotspot is activated so if anything happens to your WiFI then you have some backup. I would also ask the interviewer for a phone number to call if anything happens to either of your WiFi.
5. Look into their eyes
In order to do this you must look at the camera NOT the screen. When you’re speaking and answering questions it’s a great idea to look into the camera. I usually put a Post It or sticker near my camera to remind me to look there. It’s so easy to forget and just look at yourself which, if you’re not used to seeing yourself on video it can be a bit off putting. If you imagine that the camera is the person’s eyes then it makes it easier because then you’ll get a better connection with the person and it will feel more personal.
6. Do your prep
Really work on your introduction and how you’re going to answer their questions. The first question in an interview can be stressful, it usually is some kind of introduction and that can feel like you’re on the spot. Practice this as much as you can so that when you hear yourself saying it you feel more confident.
Also work through some interview questions so that you have some examples of work to give them to back up your answers. I’ll make a video about some of these so you have something to work with and prepare. Preparation is so key and even more so when you’re doing a video interview.
Doing the prep can really make you feel more relaxed at the beginning of the interview which can set the tone.
7. One last thing
With that said, there’s one bonus I want to share with you that is really going to supercharge your ability to really ace your online interview and that is about your energy.
You see when someone is on camera they have to extend their energy when they’re speaking so that you don’t seem bored or disinterested.
Whenever you’re on camera you have to really pay attention to that so that you come across enthusiastic and committed to the process. If you can record yourself on your phone so you can see the difference between the two states. One is absolutely more enthusiastic and dynamic than the other.
I hope this has given you some things to think about and that you feel more prepared for the big day.