5 tips for mastering online interviews

5 tips for online interviews


Worried about making a good impression in a virtual interview? UBCO’s career advisors have some tips on how to master online etiquette and make sure your online interview is a success!

Tip #1: Know your quarantine skills

Employers are going to want to know how you’ve adapted your work-habits to fit with this “new normal.” We’re not talking about your ability to find new shows on Netflix after you’ve watched Friends for the millionth time. We’re talking about your ability to:

  • manage work technologically
  • communicate through online channels
  • adapt your schedule
  • collaborate on projects.

Before going into your interview, make notes using keywords and examples you might want to use. Just remember not to read from your notes, or you’ll risk sounding like a robot.

Tip #2: Check your equipment

You don’t want to realize five minutes before your interview that your bluetooth headphones don’t connect with your computer. Once your interview is scheduled, make sure you have the equipment you need right away, and make sure you know how to use it.

Some equipment you’ll need:

  • A computer
  • A webcam (if your computer doesn’t already have one built in)
  • Headphones with a microphone (optional, but recommended)

Also make sure you ask your interviewer what platform you’ll be using to conduct the interview, and get familiar with it before your interview. Whether it’s Skype, Zoom, or another tool, you want to know the program (so you don’t accidentally get stuck on mute, for example).

We recommend doing a test-run with a friend using the program and equipment you’ll be using for your interview. That way, you’ll be a pro by the time your interview comes.

Tip #3: Remove electronic distractions

Turn off your phone and close all tabs on your computer, so you can be fully present during your interview. If you don’t, there’s an ever-present risk that your Netflix tab will auto-play that episode of Naruto you forgot you had paused in the background right in the middle of your response to the strengths and weaknesses question.

But seriously, when your eyes are darting all over the screen, your interviewer can tell they don’t have your full attention.

Tip #4: Get dressed (in real clothes)

Even if it’s been days since you got out of your pyjamas, get dressed up like you would for an in-person interview. Shower, wash your face, and brush your teeth. Feeling clean will boost your confidence, and it’ll show your interviewer that you’re serious about the job.

Your outfit may seem like a small part of making an impression, but when you don’t get to meet your interviewer face-to-face, you’ll want to do everything you can to be professional.

Tip #5: Prepare some questions

Do some research on the company before your interview and make a list of 3-5 questions you might want to ask your interviewer.

Use this opportunity to get to know the company’s culture and whether or not it’s a good fit for you. For example you could ask about how the company creates and maintains community between workers. You could also ask about how they are handling the COVID-19 situation to learn about the relationships between management and employees.

At this stage of the process, you may want to avoid questions about the rate of pay, vacation time, or how long it takes to be promoted. These questions focus on how the position will benefit you, but the interview should focus more on how you will benefit the company. You should also avoid asking very basic questions, like what the company does (you should know this already).

Listening during an interview is as important as speaking. Before you ask your questions, make sure you look over them to see if your interviewer has answered any of them yet, and consider asking about their personal experiences with the company. If you show your interest in the company and your interviewer, you’re sure to make a good impression.

It’s a strange time for everyone right now, but the same interview rules apply. Don’t forget that UBCO is here to help. Check out our online career resources for help with tough interview questions, or book a practice virtual interview with our Career Educator. Check out the career advising page for contact information.

Now get out there and rock your online interviews!

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