Job interviews can be daunting—especially if your prospective employer wants to chat face-to-face online. In recent years, online job interviews have become more popular and many companies, including Hilton, are regularly using technology to conduct preliminary interviews.
While online interviews are similar to traditional, in-person meetings, they have some major differences that candidates should be prepared for. For example, depending on the type of online interview you are participating in, there are some instances where you are just recording your answers instead of conversing with a live person on the other end. This can be stressful for some candidates.
Going through an online job interview for the first time can be scary, but don’t worry! Here are six tips to help you succeed:
1. Do a test-run with your computer.
In this day and age, technology can be overwhelming and with online interviews especially, you need to feel comfortable using whichever method your prospective employee prefers (Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, etc.). Once you’re comfortable with the program you’ll be using, it’s a good idea to test your internet connection as well as your audio and sound capabilities to make sure everything works properly.
Pro Tip: Before logging on, ask the interviewer what the format is. Here are a few questions to ask to make sure you’re prepared:
- Is it an audio interview or both audio and video?
- Is there someone on the other end of the video or are the questions pre-recorded?
- If they are pre-recorded, how many chances do I get to record my answer?
- What do I do or who do I call if I start having technical difficulties?
2. Pick the perfect spot.
Make sure it isn’t too dark but also stay away from overhead lights during the interview if you can. If possible, try to settle down near a window. Natural light is best because bad lighting can be distracting. A glare could make it difficult for the interviewer to see you—and you always want to put your best foot (or in this case, face) forward!
Pro Tip: Scope out a good spot to conduct your online meeting the day before to make sure you’re not rushing around before the interview.
3. Eliminate distractions.
Silence anything that could interfere with your conversation, including your phone and email notifications on your computer.
Pro Tip: Make sure no one else is around when you are completing your interview, including pets. Interviewers have told me they have had cats walk across the computer screen and close the session, a half-clothed man walk across the room in the background, and piles of laundry in plain sight. Don’t jeopardize your career by not being prepared!
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4. Sit up and dress professionally.
Even though you’re not meeting your interviewer in person, make sure to dress for success and sit up straight. First impressions matter and your appearance is crucial to making a good one.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to smile! Whether you are talking to an actual person or recording your answers, smile the way you would during an in-person interview.
5. Calm your nerves.
Practice your main talking points if you’re nervous and remember to slow down—it can be easy to talk over people on online calls.
Pro Tip: Even though this particular interview is hosted online, don’t forget to review your traditional interview skills. You’ll want to have answers prepared to some of the more common interview questions and examples in case they ask for specifics.
6. Look your interviewer in the eye.
Even in the online environment, eye contact is important. Instead of looking at the person on the screen, look directly into the webcam and stay engaged.
Pro Tip: If you are uncomfortable, put a picture of someone you know up by the webcam. This way, you feel as though you're chatting with a friend. Overall, this will make you more comfortable.
Most importantly, don’t stress too much! Online conferences are commonly used in the first round of candidate interviews because they save the company time and money and they level the playing field for applicants. The good news is that there is (more than likely) going to be an in-person interview in the next round, giving you the chance to meet your prospective employer in person.
And the best part of an online interview? You don’t need to worry about a firm handshake!
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