9 tips for a strong online job interview

Discover 9 great tips on making a good impression during an online job interview.

When publishing vacancies that attract international candidates, both the recruiter and the client will want to put a face to name during the selection process. As a candidate, you’ll also want to meet your contact person and get a better understanding of the job requirements. For this reason, more and more job interviews are being conducted online, using video conferencing programs like Skype. Keep reading for nine tips on making a good impression during an online job interview.

Test your equipment

Good preparation is key. In addition to preparing for the interview itself, it’s important to test your equipment before you start. Technology is amazing, but glitches are always possible. Make sure you have a stable internet connection and test your camera and microphone before you start (we recommend using earbuds). It's also worth testing Skype before your interview so you're familiar with the various features.

Get comfortable in front of the camera

Pretending to be something you’re not is never a good idea, but seeing yourself on camera for the first time can be strange. See how you come across on screen and practise answering some simple interview questions. This will make you feel more comfortable during the interview and help shift your focus from the technology to the conversation. If you're too focused on the technology, you may forget to smile or show the necessary enthusiasm.

Set up a professional account

You’ve made all the necessary preparations, except one: your personal Skype name is far from professional-sounding. This embarrassing situation is completely avoidable. An unprofessional Skype ID (e.g. hardhat_123) or e-mail address (e.g. coolchick@hotmail.com) makes a bad first impression. To make a better, more professional impression, create a new account using only your first name and surname (e.g. john.doe). Bonus points if you add a profile picture!

Dress nicely

Just to be clear: we are not the fashion police of job interviews, but it is important to make a good impression. Dress how you normally would for a real-life interview. Also, make sure you're nicely dressed from head to toe: you never know when you might have to stand up and the last thing you want is for the interviewer to see you in your underwear. Avoid wearing bright colours and distracting jewellery.

Set the scene

Make sure you’re at home for your job interview, not at a café or a conference room at your current job. The entire room doesn't have to be spick and span, but try to find a tidy, clutter-free spot with a neutral background. Good lighting is also important. Just don’t sit in front of a window to avoid being backlit. Position your camera an arm's length away at eye level, so you are face-to-face with the recruiter during the interview.

Avoid distractions

The sound of silence! Close all unnecessary programs on your screen before you start the interview. The last thing you want is for a Facebook notification to go off or a Spotify playlist to start bumping beats in the middle of your interview. Be sure to change your Skype status to ‘do not disturb’. And, as cute as they are, make sure that adorable toddler and lovable pet of yours don't burst into the room during your interview.

Do your homework

Good preparation goes a long way. Look up the company online and think about how you would answer some of the most frequently asked questions. You can also make a cheat sheet with keywords to remind yourself of issues you want to discuss or questions you want to ask during the interview. Review this sheet carefully before you start; you don't want to sound like you're reciting something or reading aloud.

Keep useful documents at hand

In addition to a cheat sheet, it’s also useful to keep a printed copy of your CV, your motivation letter and your portfolio at hand. This makes it easy to follow along if the recruiter wants to review any of these documents with you. You can also share and send documents on Skype, so consider making a folder with relevant files for easy access. Another tip is to keep a notebook within reach in case you want to jot down any notes.

Expect the unexpected

No matter how prepared you are, things can always go wrong. Don't worry, we're all human and technology isn’t perfect. One piece of advice: stay calm and don't let setbacks get the better of you. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to show the recruiter that you can stay calm in unexpected and stressful situations.

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