How to nail an online interview
In this article: The jobs market is challenging, but a new twist has been added with a shift to online video interviews, Calibre Group’s Sabina Hegarty gives her advice to make sure you succeed
The interview process has changed completely in the last few months and as employees we have to change with it or get left behind. The most radical shift has been the switch, through necessity, from rounds of physical interviews, to everything being completed online.
That means you need to adjust your approach, especially as competition for roles has increased at least two-fold in every sector, but companies continue to hire and you need to give yourself the best chance.
You’ve overcome the first hurdle and your CV was on point enough to get you a chance of an interview, but there’s things you need to consider before that can happen.
Candidate search, selection and screening processes have been evolving for years with online competency, numerical, verbal reasoning and psychometric tests required for some jobs. Technology helps the hirer to find and shortlist the best people.
So be prepared to do at least some of the above if you want to make it through the screening process. But there are also some basic things you need to stay on top of too:
- Reply to all communication you receive whether it arrives by phone, email, text or snail mail. Do this promptly not a week later otherwise the company may have finished the process before you respond. Nobody should miss the closing deadline.
- Research the company or refresh your knowledge, prior to video interviewing.
- If you promise to submit a test please make sure you do so, and on time.
Smashing the video interview
Video interviews take different forms: one-way video where you answer questions on the screen and these are recorded, one-way video where you have to make a video of your choice and then submit this to the recruiter, a two-way video where you’re interviewed remotely and two-way panel interview with more than one person interviewing or other candidates in the interview. Whichever one it is, you must treat it as if you were going to someone’s premises, so here are some simple pieces of advice to help you through the process:
- Make sure you have enough battery on your device, whether it’s a computer or phone, and test your connection. Don’t lose the link to the session and dial in on time if it’s two-way.
- Video interviews conducted in your bedroom are not ideal, especially with your fluffy dressing gown hanging on the door with some old towels and your unmade bed. Either undertake these in another more formal room or tidy up. Either way turn on the camera and critically look at what you can see behind you.
- Always have the window facing you not behind, otherwise you’ll look like a shadow.
- Dress for the job. Just because you’re doing some of the process from home, doesn’t mean they want to see you in your jeans and t-shirt.
- Have questions ready so you’re not scrabbling around for them on screen.
- Always give authentic answers, not ones you think they want to hear. All hirers know the usual lines, so be original and be yourself.
- Let others at home know you’re interviewing so they don’t call you for dinner or pop in with a cup of tea and a snack. Ask them to keep noise and banging doors to a minimum.
- Sometimes when I ask an employer why they chose one candidate over another, they will often tell me, that the one they chose wanted it more and was hungrier for the opportunity; they showed interest; asked questions and looked like they wanted to be there.
The job market is always competitive, and with so much happening to the economy it’s only likely to become even more challenging, but that’s why you need to make sure you prepare properly. If you do, you’ll put yourself in the best position to grab that job you’ve been after.