Life Hacks

How to Prepare for Online Interviews?

July 27, 2021

As businesses go remote and companies that are still hiring shift their focus to online interviews, Zoom has become one of the most successful companies of 2020 so far. In fact, the company added 2.22 million monthly active users so far in 2020 whereas they only added 1.99 million throughout all of 2019.

While this is great news for those who are used to working from home, such as independent freelancers and remote digital nomads, it might be a tough adjustment to those who’ve spent their whole lives in offices. It can be especially tough for those who are currently job searching amidst such uncertain times.

On top of having to look for a new job, you’ve got to learn about new video conferencing tools, figure out how to use Zoom, and then ace your online interview with ease. It’s a lot, we know. So, use this helpful guide on how to prepare for a Zoom interview and other helpful online interview tips.

How to Prepare For an Online Interview in 2020

Test the Video Conferencing Tools Beforehand

When you’re booking an online video interview, make sure that, first, you’ve got the timezone right. Seeing as most jobs are remote now, it’s possible that you could be interviewing for a position outside of the town that you live in. Once you’ve double-checked the time, confirm which video conferencing tools they’ll be using, whether it’s Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, or something similar. If it’s your first time using Zoom, you’ll have to create a Zoom account and do some other setup stuff. So, be sure to take care of this well before the day of the interview.

Have a Plan B for Technical Glitches

With so many people online at the moment, WiFi in certain areas of the country has been slow. This is especially true if you’re living in a home with roommates who are also working remotely for the time being. If you know that your internet tends to be slow when everybody else is on it, we’d suggest talking with your roommates or family members and asking if it’s possible for them to take a break during your interview. Then, prepare to have a plan B in the instance that any technical glitches occur. Let the interviewer know that you’re also available by phone in case the connection drops and provide them with a number where they can reach you.

Select the Right Location for the Interview

Once you’ve prepared for the interview by researching the company, thoroughly reading through the job description, and preparing to answer typical interview questions, you’ll want to select the right location for the online interview. Open up the video conferencing platform and see what the background looks like to gauge just how much shows up on the screen. It’s best to pick a neutral background that’s well-lit. If your home office is cluttered, clean it up. Interviewers will be looking at small details as a way to assess your personality and working style.

Dress Professionally

Dress Professionally

An online interview is the same as an in-person interview in that, as mentioned, the interviewer is going to be looking at verbal and non-verbal cues as a way to assess your personality and working style. This means that you should dress exactly the same as if you were going to attend the interview in-person. Wear clothes that make you feel professional, comfortable, and confident. Studies show that you’re often more confident if you “dress for success,” which can mean putting on dress pants and shoes, too, even though they’re not likely to see them during a video interview.

Continue to Make “Eye Contact”

It can be incredibly tempting to look down at your own face on the screen during a Zoom video interview to make sure that you know you look alright with the lighting and positioning of the camera. However, if you’ve done this beforehand then you shouldn’t feel the need to during the actual interview. If it helps, cover your face on the screen with a small sheet of paper to avoid any temptations and ensure that you’re making “eye contact” with the person you’re speaking with. Look straight into the camera and not at their face on the screen.

Make a Cheat Sheet

One great part about an online video interview or Zoom interview is that the interviewer can’t see what’s right in front of you. So, take advantage of that to make a cheat sheet! Write out a bulleted list of all of your accomplishments or write short-hand answer prompts to questions you think they might ask. We’d suggest sticking to small Post-It notes as you can stick these onto the wall behind your screen so that you don’t have to look down or off to the side of the screen to read your notes, which could look rude while the other person is speaking.

Get Into Interview Mode

If you’ve been cooped up indoors for a while then you might feel lethargic or be lacking your usual confident energy. As is the case before any interview, it’s best to get into interview mode; it’s one of the best normal interview tips and strategies to use but it’s especially helpful for online and Zoom interviews. Pump yourself up in the mirror with positive affirmations, head outside to job before the interview, or simply step out onto your porch or balcony to soak up some healthy sun rays before heading inside with an energized, fresh mind.

Follow-Up Just Like a Normal Interview

Last, but certainly not least, is the tip that you should follow in order to ace any interview in 2020. Follow-up just like a normal interview! Browse through free thank you letter templates and choose one that suits the position you’re applying for. Then, be sure to follow-up within 24 hours after the completion of the interview. Be sure to thank the interviewer for their time and continue to express interest in the job and the company as a whole.

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