As a present-day job-seeker, in a tech-driven world, you’ve probably already been through an online interview as part of your job search.
An increasing number of companies are adopting online interviews as part of their hiring process given that they are both cost-effective and convenient, and an effective screening tool to filter qualified candidates.
Live video interviews are the most preferred type of online interviews. Here, recruiters and candidates connect via computer webcams using a two-way video communication platform, such as Skype or Zoom, or an interviewing platform, such as Talview or HireVue.
Although similar to in-person interviews, online interviews have their own nuances, which can easily pose as challenges if you are caught unawares or are unprepared for as a candidate.
Did you know that Phone interviews are an equally important component in the selection process? Check out these useful Phone Interview Tips that will help you get hired!
Listed below are the typical mistakes people make in online interviews and what you can do to avoid them.
- Not setting the stage right
The most common error candidates make while preparing for an online interview is failing to consider their physical surroundings. While interviewers may be keen to get an insight into your personal life, they certainly don’t need a virtual tour of your house, family, or your favorite neighborhood cafe.
Establishing the right environment is key for an online interview. Ensure the area around you is completely devoid of all audio and visual distractions. Clutter, kids, pets, grandma waving hello in the background - banish them all! Choose a spot with a neutral background and adequate lighting for a professional look and clear visibility.
- Not doing a practice run
Candidates rarely familiarize themselves with the software or equipment required for an online interview. Trying to figure out how to log in to a session, navigate screens, or work your camera and volume controls after your interview has begun shows unpreparedness.
If you want to keep interviewers from rolling their eyes at your incompetence, do a trial run before the interview. It’s a great way to check on important yet easy-to-overlook aspects of an online interview. Get accustomed to the platform or software chosen by the interviewer for your interview. Ensure you have the right version downloaded, installed, and ready to use. Additionally, ensure your laptop is charged and your internet connection is strong enough to support clear audio and visuals for the entire length of your interview.
- Dressing inappropriately
Put those pants on! Lounge wear can be considered chic in the comfortable confines of your home but it just doesn’t fit the bill when it comes to online interviews. Many candidates overlook the importance of attire for an interview. Not only is dressing down for an interview generally considered a fashion faux pas, you also forgo the opportunity to create a great first impression.
Dress the same as you would if you were being interviewed in person, shoes et al. Don’t limit your efforts to your top half even if your visibility is limited only to a window display. Opt for formals as a rule or smart casuals if the company you’re interviewing for has a laid-back dress code. Stay clear of bright colors that appear saturated and unappealing on screen.
- Improper body language
Many candidates get uncomfortable being in front of a camera during online interviews, especially if it’s their first time. Not smiling is a tell-tale sign of nervousness which makes conversation difficult and unpleasant. It also isn’t uncommon to see candidates lean forward and talk into the screen when answering questions. This works well if your interviewer is an octogenarian whose hearing aid is shot.
If not, be mindful of your posture and adopt a more professional stance. Sit up straight with your hands in your lap, to exude confidence and keep from making unnecessary hand gestures. Smile and nod appropriately during the course of the interview to convey active listening and interest.
- Not making eye contact
Online interviews present candidates the unique opportunity to view themselves during the course of an interview. As a result, candidates unintentionally spend a disproportionate amount of time looking at themselves instead of their interviewer. This can easily be interpreted as disinterest or a lack of etiquette.
Maintaining eye contact indicates confidence, sincerity, and interest in the interviewing process. A sticky note at the top of your screen acts as a good reminder to keep your eyes off yourself and focused squarely on the camera; especially if you happen to be having a good hair day.
While the list isn’t exhaustive, avoiding these very common errors will definitely save you from looking like you’ve been living under a rock the last few years. The good news is, regardless of whether you’re a seasoned professional or a newbie, preparation and practice is all it takes to overcome these challenges and gain the proficiency you need to ace your next online interview.
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