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7 Tips for Online Interviews

7 Tips for online Interviews

Your CV has done its job. Now only the interview lies between you and the role you’re after. Because of Covid 19 online Interviews is now becoming the norm. So in addition to the usual interview nerves, there is now the added complication of having to navigate unfamiliar technology.

Let me take you through 7 tips for acing your online Interviews

 

online Interviews. Preparation

1 Quality Preparation

The path to doing a great interview starts well before you log on to Zoom. In my years of experience as an interview skills coach, the danger for most candidates is not under-preparation, but over-preparation. Tell-tale signs of over-prep are trying to predict all possible questions and writing out lengthy answers.

This scriptwriting approach puts you under enormous and self-imposed pressure. It also negatively impacts your adaptability during the interview. The hidden downside of over-prep is that it diminishes your self-confidence because you simply don’t trust yourself to listen and respond to the questions you are asked. That doesn’t mean you don’t do your homework. With your interview pending, a useful question to contemplate is – how will I know when I’ve done optimum preparation?

Quality preparation means;

  • Deciding in advance what you want the interviewers to know about you.
  • Lining up examples to illustrate competencies. (See 5 below)
  • Knowing your strengths and practicing speaking about them in a conversational way.
  • Having a strategy for keeping your nerves under control. (See 7 below)
  • Doing research on the organisation and industry.

 

online Interview. Test technology

2 Test the technology

If you have not been advised as to the format of the interview, seek clarity. Will there be a set duration? How many interviewers? What online platform will be used? When you know the platform and if you are not familiar with it, sign up, log in and test it with a friend in advance if possible. Check out YouTube tutorials on how to use the platform.

A laptop or PC is preferable to your phone or mobile device. You won’t look as professional if you are holding a phone in a shaky hand. You obviously want to make sure your internet connection is stable. By getting familiar with the technology and the meeting platform, you can then focus on the interview itself.

 online Interviews. Camera ready

3 Camera ready

These are small points, but together they make a big impact.

  • Position your camera just above eye level. This might mean putting your computer on a pile of books, then tilting it down slightly into your eyes. Remember to look at the camera, not just the face of the interviewer. Looking at the red dot means excellent eye contact.
  • Consider lighting. If you can, put a light above your computer, so your face is lit. If the light is behind you, for example, a window, your face will be in shadow.
  • Check your background. If possible a plain wall, nothing to distracting. (Just make sure it’s not a pile of ironing!)
  • Appearance – Dress as you would for an in-person interview. A jacket and shirt or top with a collar will always look smart. Avoid busy patterns, a plain bold colour looks good on camera.
  • Posture – Always good to sit up straight. You don’t want to be rigid in the chair, but too much movement can appear blurry online. Remember facial expression, a soft smile, a friendly demeanour and you always want to show interest and enthusiasm for the role.
  • Avoid opening your interview by speaking about how unfamiliar you are with technology. Sowing a seed of technical incompetence is not the best first impression.

 

online Interviews. Post it notes

4 Post-It notes

Unlike a regular in-person interview, you can have some post-it notes positioned around your PC or laptop. This is not about writing out pre-scripted answers that you intend to read, but rather prompts or reminders for you.

It might be ‘remember to smile,’ ‘the 5 strengths you want them to know,’ ‘a question or two to ask at the close of the interview.’

 

online Interviews. What question would you hate to be asked?

 

5 What questions would you hate to be asked?

A great question to ask yourself as part of your interview preparation is what question would I hate to be asked, or what issue would I hate the interviewers to bring up?

This sheds a light on an area where you may not be as comfortable. The issue may not be raised at the interview, but if you ponder how you would respond in advance, you will feel more in control.

 

Online interviews. Can you provide evidence?

6 Evidence that you have demonstrated the competencies

Today, interviews are competency-based. The competencies the interviewers want to assess will usually be listed in the job description. The most common way competencies are assessed is by asking for an example.

The thinking being that the best indicator of future performance is past performance. For example, if competencies include ‘communication skills,’ ‘self-motivation, or ‘team player’ have your relevant examples for each one lined up.

 

7 Triage Tips for Managing those Interview Nerves

  • From Nervousness to Excitement – When you begin to feel nervous, don’t ignore it, acknowledge it. It’s ok to be nervous because the interview is important, you’re emotionally invested, if you weren’t, perhaps you’d be complacent. Be brave and ask yourself, what exactly am I fearful of? Courage is the antidote. Remember without the butterflies there won’t be that adrenaline buzz on the far side.
  • Breathe – When we are nervous we breathe fast and shallow, by consciously doing the opposite, breathing slowly and deeply, we will feel calmer. Slow, more purposeful breaths brings your attention out of your head that is probably overdrive worrying about your future interview and back into your body, into the present moment, the only place you have control.
  • Boost your Confidence – Think of two or three people whose confidence you admire. Ask yourself how would they behave in this situation. You may not know exactly, but it is a useful key for accessing your own wisdom and for giving you a blueprint as to how you want to show up.
  • Visualise the interview – Close your eyes and rehearse doing your best interview in your mind. See yourself logging on, exchanging pleasantries with the interviewer, hearing yourself speak your answers. When you do this, you are setting your intention for the interview in a positive and constructive way.

 

It’s easy to forget that interviewers are not trying to catch you out. The purpose of an interview from the company’s perspective is to gather information about you, so they can make an informed decision as to whether or not you are the right candidate for the role. Your job is to give them that information in a genuine, pleasant and engaging way. Every interview candidate will do their best, but the above tips will help you widen your definition of best.

If you are preparing for an interview then do check out my Interview Skills Coaching page to see how I can help you prepare and to stay up to date with all my latest news and new podcast episodes do join the community below to receive my monthly newsletter.

Thank you

James