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Online interview tips to give you the edge

In this ever-changing world and with the reshaping of the modern workplace, we are turning more and more to online meetings. With job seekers looking for flexibility and people isolating, working from home is evolving and keeping up our face to face interactions means remote meetings are here to stay.

It is paramount to get up to speed with online meeting platforms as employers now prefer to conduct online interviews to test candidate’s computer skills and online etiquette. Standing out from the crowd while confined to an online medium can be challenging for all parties involved.

Employers trying to put their best foot forward and employees trying to present themselves as the best candidate, both want to make a great first impression. Below are some essential tips for a successful online interview to give you the edge.

As with all interviews, be prepared. But especially with the reliance on technology it is critical you make sure everything works as it should. Test your equipment and not just your audio and video connection. Also make sure your battery life will last the length of your interview and you have a solid Wifi connection. There is nothing quite so frustrating as a lagging connection for either party.

If you have to do a presentation, ensure this is compatible with your meeting platform.

Set yourself up in a quiet space near your wifi access point to improve connectivity.

Consider having a second device available just in case you run into problems. It is also a good idea to set up your device on a flat, stable surface to make sure the viewers don’t end up suffering motion sickness.

Face yourself towards the light source, to avoid creating a silhouette. Also don’t forget to check what’s in the background or blur it out, especially if ‘zooming’ from home.

Avoid using your phone for the interview

Avoid using your phone as your device for the interview, if you can, as too many people forget that they are not on a normal call and revert to picking the phone up and going for a wander, inevitably showing the other viewer more than they bargained to see.

For some being in front of a camera lens comes naturally, for others not so much. If you are camera shy, get online and start video calling your friends and family. The more practice you have the better. This will give you the feel of talking in front of the camera and eventually it will become more natural.

Interviews can be nerve-racking as it is, without having another fear to contend with. Practice makes perfect. Look straight into the camera as much as you can. This creates the eye contact that is often lost to the screen. It is also not a good look if you’re the employer and seem unable to look straight at them.

Talking to people on a screen makes it much harder to get a feeling of someone in comparison to an in-person interview. Many of our natural senses are prohibited from doing their job and online interviewing requires new strategies for gauging whether someone is a good fit or if they will be a good employer.

Lean into the intimacy of the screen. Sitting mere inches away from each other can draw people out of their shell and they will often relax, open up more about themselves with their background story, even more so if they are sitting in the comfort of their own homes being interviewed.

Emotional intelligence is a key factor that employers are looking for in a candidate. It determines a person’s ability to relate to others, navigate difficult situations with ease, go with the flow, and be able to read a room. This can be especially difficult in an online interview.

To gauge someone’s EQ in an online interview ask leading questions that dig a little deeper into someone’s character – questions that open up a person’s genuine response, not a pre-empted, rehearsed answer. Something like, if you could invite any three people to dinner, past or present, who would they be and why? It’s not so much the who, but the why that will give you a great understanding of what the candidate finds important and where their emotional intelligence sits.

For a candidate asking questions of the employer something along the lines of ‘what inspires you the most about this organisation’? will help determine if relates to you.

Dress to impress

This should be the 101 of interviewing. Ideally, we should all be dressed a notch above the company’s general attire when interviewing. The professional dress code has been slipping.

With more relaxed casual work wear being acceptable in offices, candidates are taking liberties in what they wear to an interview.

Working and interviewing remotely, it’s not uncommon to head to a meeting half dressed. Both parties need to make the effort here and be present in the moment. Being dressed for the occasion will ensure the professionalism doesn’t slip and the interview stays on track. An interview is not the time to be casual. It’s about making a great first impression and you only get to do that once.

For most roles there are usually a few candidates to choose from. However, most skilled candidates in today’s market are facing multiple offers. How prospective employees view your organisation and how you view them is critical to a successful interview and overall, a successful placement.

Both parties are judging and assessing to see if the fit is right, ensuring the organisation, the role and the candidate align. By following the basics online tips, can allow all parties to put their best foot forward and stand out from the others giving you the edge needed to be the employer or candidate of choice.

Related: The positive spin on a Contingent Workforce

Kellie Hamlett
Kellie Hamlett
Director, Recruitment & HR Specialist, Talent ID Recruitment Ltd. She can be contacted on kellie@talentid.co.nz or 027 227 7736

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