Tips for a successful online interview

By Mira Majzoub


With the reality of remote work for most businesses and remote learning for most higher education institutions, and the continuous development of technology, it has become more convenient for companies and universities to conduct interviews online. Online video interviews are highly cost-efficient, especially for the candidate, and they are reliable. The process is easy and fast. Yet with this change, it is important to follow some guidelines to have a successful online interview.

We have gathered the following tips to guide you through your online interviews!


  1. Be prepared

Just like an in-person interview, an online one requires preparation. Research the company you are applying for, and get familiar with their latest projects. It is always beneficial to discuss with your interviewer their latest work and how you’d like to be a part of it.

If you are applying to a university program, make sure you understand the objectives of the major you are applying to. Revisit your motivation for choosing this major and emphasize it during the interview.

It is always better to keep your social media profiles up to date. HR may go through the internet and check on your background to have a hint of you, your work experience, and background knowledge. Remember to also prepare some questions on your end.

Last but not least, review your resume before the interview. It is always a good choice to skim through your own experience if the interviewer asks about your background. This way you won’t miss anything out!


  1. Test-run and eliminate distractions

As efficient as online interviews are, having a test run for the internet speed may save you some trouble. Make sure your webcam and microphone work well, and your digital device is charged. You could also ask the interviewer for a back-up plan if the internet completely cuts off or there is a problem with your device like using a standard phone call instead.

Try to sit in a calm space with no pets or kids around. Let the background be neutral with minimal harsh lighting on your face. You could also use a professional back-drop or an office effect. Avoid windows and noisy streets in the background as microphones are sensitive and can grab such sounds.


  1. Listen carefully, speak clearly and slowly

Always listen carefully to what the interviewer is saying. An internet delay might occur and you might answer early and cut them off indirectly. Waiting a bit before answers is better than cutting someone off during the interview.

Due to the same issue, try to speak slowly and as clearly as possible. Your voice or screen might delay as well. Speaking clearly and slowly will make it easier for the interviewer to understand what you are saying without interrupting you to repeat your answer. Consider wearing earphones/earbuds during the interview to make your voice as clear as possible.


  1. Your outfit still matters

Even if the position you are applying to is remote, the employer would like to see a neat candidate with organized and positive behavior. Dress up as if you are going to an in-person interview.

Your looks and body language will still matter and the interviewer will assess them carefully as well. Try to make eye contact, even if it’s online, just to show that you are fully focused in the interview and not distracted by anything that might appear on your screen. If this makes you uncomfortable, try to place a picture of someone you feel relaxed talking to on the screen to make it less awkward.

Sit up straight with a good posture. Try not to slouch or hold your head up with your hand. Stay sharp and focused, and don’t forget to smile.


  1. Check your timing

 Make sure of the time zone between you and the interviewer. Double-check with the time difference so you don’t show up 3 hours late.

One upside about online interviews is that there is no need to commute. This means showing up a minute before the interview is completely fine. Try not to show up too early, it is most likely the interviewer will sign-in at the scheduled time.


  1. Get comfortable

 We have been spending our time indoors for a while. A quick conversation can be a bit strange. Try to get comfortable with communicating in the meeting with energy and positivity.

Many online applications allow you to record yourself. Look up several possible questions and prepare some answers. Task someone you know to ask you questions over an online platform, or just go ahead and practice by yourself.

The way you present yourself is very important. Review your CV every now and then and keep it up-to-date and always send it in a PDF format. When sending it through email always include a brief text about yourself and your experience. The introductory email should always be clear and direct to the point with its content and title/subject. An empty email body will reflect negatively on your application.

Remember to stay relaxed and don’t stress too much during your interview! You can always send a follow-up email to check about your application process and feedback.

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