It has become an overused term over the last few weeks but we are certainly in unprecedented times, and we have slowly been adjusting to our new norm.
With change comes adaptation, and now we must refocus on how we approach our way of work and of life. and adjust them to fit with this 'new normal'.
How we communicate and interact with people has moved from face to face communication to meeting in this new virtual world where body language is framed by what your webcam can pick up and your verbal communication may be hindered by connectivity issues. We are having to adjust to many new ways of behavior, and nowhere is this more true than in preparing for That Big Interview - Online! And if you’re successful - and get that job - you may well find yourself adjusting to a new way of work where you only interact with colleagues on a virtual basis for a not insignificant period of time.
We have put together some advice on our Membership Library about Working from Home, Managing Virtual Events, and Creating a Presentation for Online.
Here we offer some suggestions and tips for anyone who is preparing to do an interview in an online environment.
As with anything, preparation is key. How we prepare for an interview is extremely important but in these times we need to follow a few extra pointers in this new world of work!
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”
Alexander Graham Bell
1. Before the Interview
Treat the interview as if it were going to be a regular face-to-face interview. Whilst you might not be physically in the same room as your interviewer(s), you will still be making a first impression, and that should be a positive one.
Practice, Practice, Practice: We can’t emphasize this enough. An interview is a slightly artificial situation at the best of times. You’re the world’s best expert on yourself and your experience, and you are used to describing your career in a clear and transparent way with friends. But, can you drill down past the high-level descriptions of your previous work experiences when you’re in a high-pressure situation with people you don’t know - to articulate current and past roles or handpick situational examples that best represent your skillset? The honest answer is No! Not without practice. Now is a good chance to have a look at our Interview Preparation Toolkits to get you ahead, or research further online to find sample practice questions and other tips. You can never be too prepared!
Technology: Because you’ll be relying on technology to present yourself, discuss the role, and make the best impression, you must ensure everything is working beforehand. Test your Wi-Fi/broadband and ensure that you have a strong internet connection. If your Wi-Fi is not reliable, a tip is to hotspot off your mobile phone to ensure a steady connection.
Have a backup plan if Wi-Fi fails during the interview: make sure you have shared your mobile number with your interviewer and have their number as well in case you need to call them.
If a link has been shared to join the interview, make sure you see what might be needed to connect to it. For example, some platforms may require you to install additional software and/or an app, or use a particular browser, so make sure you have this done long before the interview is due to happen.
Location: Try to find a quiet space in your home and consider what will be visible in the background. You don’t want any doors open or distracting pictures on the wall.
Lighting: Make sure you have good lighting in the room. Avoid sitting with a window behind you as this could cause some glare on camera, and don’t sit directly under a light source. You can find lots more tips on positioning yourself online, like in this New York Times article.
Picture and sound: Ensure that your Philippines Photo Editor camera and microphone on your laptop, device, or phone are both working correctly and that your equipment is either plugged in or is fully charged! Carry out a test run with a friend or family member to ensure that you can be seen and heard.
Clothes and makeup: Try to dress appropriately for the interview while still being comfortable. It will help you feel more professional and, remember, first impressions last!
What to say: If this is your first interview with the company, take the time to research carefully the business and role that you are interviewing for. Having research done will demonstrate your genuine interest in the role and help you find interesting questions to ask during the conversation. You could also have some questions ready about the company and role, based on the research or even some standard questions that you have ready to go, like from this list.
Research: Study the company’s About Us page on their website as well as all their social media platforms. Also, make sure you study the detailed job description for the role you have applied for.
Online Check: You should also have checked your own social media profile, as many companies now do some research about you before an interview. You can use our Online Reputation Checklist to think about and manage how you appear to others online.