Online interviewing tips and advice

Online interviewing tips and adviceListing Image

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused massive interruptions for businesses around the globe. It is an unsettling time for everyone, however; business needs to keep on going, including recruitment.

In NSW anecdotally we saw recruitment levels in Lockdown 1 drop from 100% to 10% overnight, so catastrophic. While in lockdown 2 the reduction went from 100% to 85% so a far milder reaction, unless of course, you are in the Hospitality, Travel or Retail sectors where again the impact has been severe. In other sectors, employers and employees alike are now used to and set up for getting work done remotely during a pandemic, including hiring new talent.

The primary change in the recruitment process is that interviews will be taking place remotely; so instead of going and meeting your interviewer, you will now be doing your interview online. Although this may not be ideal for either the candidates or interviewers, it is the new normal for now, so we will all just have to adapt. On the bright side, without the travel time, you can conduct multiple interviews in one day from the comfort of your home and you don’t have to produce a plausible excuse for your boss as to why you are not at your office desk.

Here are my top remote interview tips which will help you if you are preparing for an online interview soon.

  1. Test your technology

This is the first thing you want to do to prepare for your interview. Don’t leave 5 minutes before the interview begins. The last thing you want is for the audio or screen to not work. Make sure you test the audio beforehand as well as making sure the camera shows you clearly.

  1. Dress the part

You still need to dress up like you would if you were to go in for an interview. My advice is you should dress up completely (not just your top half). Look good, feel good and feel confident.

  1. Make sure you are prepared

Remember the 6 P’s - Perfect Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

  • Research the company
  • Research your interviewers
  • Review your own CV for the experience that is most appropriate for the role
  • Review the Job Description and have ready examples that show your capabilities in the key skill areas
  • Have smart questions prepared that will show that you have done your research and that you are genuinely interested in both the company and the role.
  • Question your interviewer about themselves; the reason they joined, what they like about the company, what has made them successful in the company. People like talking about themselves and this will improve the rapport and chemistry in the interview and give you some good insight into the culture and values of the business

  1. Make eye contact

This is key and not easily done remotely. Building rapport and chemistry with an interviewer remotely is a lot more challenging than face to face. It is especially important that you set up your camera, so that it is in the centre of your screen, if you are using your mobile phone or iPad horizontally the camera will then be either at the far left or far right of the screen and even though you may feel you are making eye contact with your interviewer it will look from their perspective that you are gazing off in a different direction. Eye contact for remote interviews means looking directly at the camera.

  1. Remove distractions

You need to be fully engaged with the interviewer throughout the interview, so remove all distractions. Ensure you are in a quiet space where you will not have anyone to disrupt your interview.

  1. Prepare and rehearse for key questions (the 6 P’s again)
  • Technical questions - relate the role back to your skills and experience - highlight areas where you feel you can add value, as well as acknowledging areas for development.
  • Why do you think that you are the best fit for this job?
  • Why do you want to work for this company?
  • What have been your career highlights and what significant achievements have you made? Remember to back your answers up with tangible examples.
  • Use the START (Situation, Task, Action, Result & Tangible) technique to help you be focused and concise with your responses.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses – what makes you different – what are your unique attributes - i.e. interpersonal skills - strong systems skills - work ethic etc.
  • Interviewers are particularly keen to hear examples about YOU - around being proactive, using initiative, demonstrating flexibility, and having the ability to work autonomously.

When you get asked a question in an interview, take a second to make sure you understand what they are asking, and if you are not sure get them to clarify. Then secondly and most importantly take a second to think about what Win, Achievement or Deliverable you are going to conclude your answer with. Then you will find you are able to deliver a beautifully articulate and concise answer that finishes with a tangible win or benefit.

  1. Market yourself!

Build your online personal profile so that if they look for you online, you have a strong digital footprint that is consistent with your CV. Be mindful of what you post on social media, what may be entertaining or humorous to your friends may not be received so well by a future employer.

  1. Say “Thank you” - Manners maketh the man and woman

Once the interview is finished, make sure you send an email simply thanking the interviewer for the interview and their time. This will show you are genuinely interested in the position and that you are looking forward to finding out the next steps.