Nailing an Online Interview in 4 easy steps!

Shows woman talking to a laptop - Nailing an Online Interview - technology and preparation

Online interviews can feel daunting— especially if your prospective employer wants to chat face-to-face online. Whilst the format of online interviews are often similar to traditional, in-person meetings, they have some major differences that candidates should be prepared for.  Below is my step-by-step guide to nailing your online interview.  From setting up your technology to answering those tricky questions, this is a one stop shop to get you ready to shine!

Shows a laptop, phone and pencils

Master the technology: do a test-run

In this day and age, technology is such a blessing – especially when it works!  The only way to really feel comfortable and secure with the technology side of an online interview is practise!  You need to use the method which your prospective employer prefers ( Skype, Facetime, Zoom, etc.) so download the program as soon as you are notified of your interview.  Use their quick guide to getting set up or watch a youtube video to make sure you understand how to enable the video and audio on your computer.  Do a test run with your recruitment consultant, friend or a family member if possible.

Lucie’s Pro Tip

Before the interview, ask for details of the format of the interview.  Here are a few questions you can ask to make sure you are prepared:

  • Is it an audio or audio and video interview?
  • Will I be interviewed by someone live or are the questions pre-recorded?
  • If they are pre-recorded, how many chances do I get to record my answer?
  • What do I do or who should I call if I start having technical difficulties during the interview?

Shows a computer with the Octopus Personnel website on the screen

Dress to impress even in an online interview!

First impressions matter in an online interview, just the same as meeting face-to-face!  Your appearance is crucial to making a good impression.  When you are planning where you will sit during your interview, try on your chosen clothes.  Make sure you are comfortable, they fit well and you are giving the impression you want on the screen.  Take a screenshot of yourself and check!

Location matters so find the perfect spot!  A quiet place with good, natural light is perfect if possible.  The interviewer wants to be able to see your face clearly.  Make sure the background is clean, professional and uncluttered.  Choose a comfortable firm chair so you can sit up for the duration of the interview.  Dress your home for the job!  Make sure you have eliminated all possible distractions.  Mute all notifications on your computer and set your phone to silent.

Lucie’s Pro Tip

Make sure you have chosen your location the day before.  Then you have time to tidy, position items and you can focus on mentally rehearsing your answers on the day.  Make sure there is no-one else about to distract during the interview, shut the cat out and switch off your phone!  Don’t forget to smile!  You are trying to build a relationship with your interviewer online the same way you would face-to-face so smile and engage!

Shows a woman talking to a laptop screen - Online Interview - Eye contact is important

Look your interviewer in the eye

Even in an online environment, eye contact is important.  Instead of looking at the person on the screen, look directing into your webcam and stay focused and engaged.  Practice your main taling points if you feel nervous and remember to slow down and speak clearly.  Again, this might be a good idea to practise with your recruitment consultant, friend or a family member.

Lucie’s Pro Tip

If you are uncomfortable, put a picture of a friend or loved one next to the webcam and focus on them.  This will help you relax and let your answers flow more easily whilst still remaining focused on the interviewer.  Even though this is an online interview, don’t forget your traditional interview skills!  Use the questions further down in the blog to help you confidently prepare your answers and make sure you have specific examples to share.

Shows a man working on a laptop and writing notes - Online Interview - nail those tricky questions

Preparation is key – nail those tricky questions!

Now you have the technology, location and your outfit all sorted, it’s time to revisit those key interview skills.  Here are some of the key questions you are likely to be asked and how to nail the answer to make sure you show your best talents, experience and skills to the interviewer.

Lucie’s Pro Tip

Practise, practise, practise… the more you practise the more confident and flowing your answers will be.  Make sure you have examples to back up every point.  Use cue cards to support you during the online interview – but make sure they are out of sight.  Read my blog here about the best answers to tricky interview questions here.

Need further advice?

At Octopus Personnel, we are experts at presenting our candidates to ensure the employer is able to see all the skills and experience you are bringing to a role, and preparing you to succeed at interview. Years of industry expertise and outstanding relationships with our clients, and grasp of the needs of their business, means we are perfectly positioned within the market to guide you to your new role. You can sign up here and call the office on 01747 825568 to arrange an interview.

Erin Belmont

About the author

I look after the marketing for Octopus – from the social media and website you see online to the events we put on throughout the year.

I love being in the middle of things, soaking up the lively dynamic atmosphere. The team at Octopus really care about our job searchers and clients and do everything they can to understand everyone’s needs and make intelligent and productive job matches. Their drive and fun loving spirit inspire me every day!