Interview Guide: Here’s How You Can Ace Your Online Interview From Start To Finish

So, you’ve crossed the various hurdles of job-seeking during these tumultuous times and scored yourself an interview. Congrats! Consider half the battle won. Now, you have to face the next obstacle – an online job interview. For many of us, a remote interview is a whole new ball game with its own set of challenges that we have yet to conquer. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you breeze through the process and nail your virtual interview. May the odds be ever in your favour.

Pre-interview

Select the Ideal Location

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Be wary of what’s in your background. The last thing you want your potential employer to see is your laundry strewn across your undone bed in the back. Pick a well-lit secluded room with a plain wall you can use as a backdrop – you want to keep your interviewer’s eyes trained on you and not your surrounding. If you have kids or pets, make sure they are kept away from your room during the interview to create an ideal distraction-free environment.

Practice, Practice, Practice

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This is applicable to all types of interviews – online and offline. Schedule a mock interview where you can practise answering possible questions and polish your interview skills. You could do this by recording yourself or recruiting a family member who can give you valuable and constructive feedback. It’s important to rehearse the process so that you can get used to verbalising your answers and improve the delivery.

Tech Check 1, 2, 3

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As much of a blessing technology has been in our lives, more so now than ever, it is a double-edged sword that can betray us at crucial times like this. Go through a few rounds of test run on the device you are planning to use to make sure the audio, video and internet settings are A-OK. If you are new to video conference apps like Zoom and Google Hangouts, draft a friend to test it out till you are comfortable with its interface.  On the day of your interview, test everything one last time for good measure. Fumbling with your equipment during the interview and getting all flustered as a result, is not going to get you in your interviewer’s good books.

Prepare a Cheat Sheet

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A loophole, perk or brilliant idea – call it what you want. Your interviewer can only see what you want them to see. Write up a cheat sheet with notes or important questions you would like to ask and stick it on the screen or the wall behind your laptop. In an unfamiliar situation like this, it’s not out of the ordinary to blank out. As long as you are not constantly peeping at your cheat sheet, there’s no harm in taking advantage of your interview space.

On the Day of The Interview

Dress Professionally

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Just because you aren’t meeting your interviewers face-to-face, it doesn’t mean you can turn up in sweats. The effort you put into dressing up directly reflects your eagerness and seriousness towards the role you are vying for. Furthermore, donning your interview outfit also has its psychological benefit – putting an interview-ready fit enhances cognitive processing. So, dress to impress from head to toe. We do not want a business on top, party on the bottom situation – that’s just a recipe for disaster.

Pro-tip: Steer clear of patterns or stripes on your shirt as these can cause a weird optical effect on camera. The goal is to grab the interviewer’s attention, not hypnotise them.

Be Aware of Your Body Language

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Body language in a job interview can also reveal a great deal of information about you that is not conveyed by the spoken word alone. Show that you are engaged in the conversation by sitting upright. An easy way to avoid slouching is to ensure your laptop is at eye level so that you can look directly into the camera. If it isn’t, elevate it with a few books till it lines up with your line of vision.

Another important thing to note is eye contact, often interpreted as a sign of openness and interest. While it may be hard to maintain your gaze virtually, the best way to mimic it would be to look into the camera and not at the person on the screen – the latter will make you look like you are staring off into space. You could also work around the issue would by positioning the conference call app’s window near the webcam.

Post-interview

Follow-up With an Email

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From this point onwards, you can follow standard post-interview protocol. That includes a simple thank you email immediately after the interview and a follow-up email two weeks later to check on the progress of your application. The entire process may take a tad bit longer due to the complications that arise as a result of the pandemic. Just remember, patience is key.

Top Image: Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

Niharika Murali


If she isn’t neck-deep in a self-imposed existential crisis, you can find Niharika trying to master a new skill – anything from handicrafts to instruments, or simply browsing the internet’s never-ending collection of dog videos.