Tips on how to navigate an online interview

Remote working is set to continue into 2021 — but so too are online interviews. Here KAREN O’REILLY, of Employflex and Employmum, shares some advice for interviewees
Tips on how to navigate an online interview

Sit up straight and endeavour to make eye contact with the interviewer, says Karen. Picture: stock

AS flexible and remote work experts in this space for over eight years, we have been preparing candidates for online interviews for many years.

Online interviews are here to stay and many people are terrified of them - we have put together our top 10 tips for interviewees for this remote experience.

1. Prepare

Put a do not disturb sign on your front door in case of deliveries. Make sure that noisy pets are at bay. Invest in childcare if you have young children and ensure that they are off-site. Turn off your phone and all other apps on your computer so that they are not pinging and beeping and distracting you.

2. Practice

Get to know your video conferencing tool whether that is Skype or Zoom, MS Teams or google hangouts – have a few practice runs with a friend who can give you honest feedback.

Use a professional user name – consider opening a new account if your user name does not give the right impression – We have seen some interesting ones! Hotmama75, you know who you are!

3. Be aware of your environment

Ensure that you have the right lighting and that you are not a silhouette on the screen. 

Review your background – keep it clean with no distractions like clothes on a clothes horse or family photos – a blank wall or a wall with framed certificates/diplomas works very well.

Obviously ensure that no-one is going to burst into your room looking for the remote for the telly – find a quiet part of the house and lock the door if possible!

Dress as if you were going to the physical premises, says Karen. Picture: Stock
Dress as if you were going to the physical premises, says Karen. Picture: Stock

4. Your look and looking the part

‘Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have’ Austin Kleon. The same rules apply in an online interview. Dress as if you were going to the physical premises – wash your hair and do your make up – dress smart and sit up straight – it helps to get you in the ‘zone’.

5. Do your homework

Know exactly who will be making the call from the employer’s side and ensure that you are signed in early and able to connect with them.

Make sure you have researched the company’s website prior to the interview. Look them up on the internet and see if there is any recent interesting PR on them, e.g Job announcements, new product launch or expansion. It also shows the interviewer that you want to work for their company, that you are not just looking for a job, you are looking for a career.

6. Use cheat sheets

The benefit of an online interview is that you can have notes in front of you (so long as they are out of sight). Pull up your CV, examples, talking points or other questions in the corner of the screen. If there are 10 points you want to get across in your interview, have them noted somewhere in front of you ( e.g. wall behind computer ) and mentally tick them off while you go. The STAR technique is widely recognised as a good interview tool (specific situation, task, action, and result ) Write your example out and have it behind your computer to prompt you.

Karen O'Reilly, Employflex.
Karen O'Reilly, Employflex.

7. Body language

As in a traditional face to face interview, body language and first impressions are very important.

Sit up straight and endeavour to make eye contact with the interviewer. Don’t slouch, fiddle or use your hands excessively. Don’t forget to smile! Look at the camera and not at your own image.

8. You made it – The End

Once you have asked your questions and the interview has come to an natural end, remember to say Thank you and Goodbye and after the session make sure that the sound and video transmission are disconnected! This is a precious tip.

9. Important Note

Make sure that you’ve also got another way to contact the interviewer should your connection fail. 

An email address and phone number are essential should your app refuse to cooperate on the day of the interview. 

And if you have too many technical issues- simply be honest with the interviewer, suggest a phone call instead or rearrange the online interview for another time.

10. Always remember... An interview is an interview!

Whether you are being interviewed remotely, over the phone or in person, all the general rules of a job interview apply.

Research the company, know your CV inside out, read the job description thoroughly, have a few answers and examples prepared and be ready to ask your questions at the end. 

Also, don’t forget to tell them you are interested in the role and display enthusiasm!

And …. Good luck!


Karen O’Reilly Founder Employflex and Employmum

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