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Lelia Lim

How to Ace an Online Interview

The interview process is full of surprises and unpredictable events. Still, you can present yourself professionally if you follow some basic rules. Also, with the capabilities of technology today, and COVID 19 in full force, most companies are conducting job interviews online via an online chat video/audio platform. Here are essential tips that will help with an online interview.

Before the interview

Preparation – ask what kind of interview to expect and whether it will include audio, video or both. Additionally, check which time zone the interview will be held.

Understand the roles and responsibilities of the job – this will help you prepare accordingly and provide answers that will align with the job’s requirements. Later, during the interview, take detailed information about the work being allotted to you to understand your work functionalities.

Test the technology – ensure your microphone, speaker and video capabilities work, and you are familiar with the online platform. Check your internet connection is strong enough and making sure your screen name is professional and easy to recognise. Also, always prepare for Plan B, i.e. alternative platforms if you have wifi issues.

Practice, practice, practice – perfecting your interview technique and gaining confidence using an online platform is essential. Practice interview questions over a video call with a friend or family member.

Choose your location – pick a quiet setting for the interview with good, optimum light that does not create a glare to the viewer, e.g. don’t sit with your back to a brightly lit window. Choose a professional backdrop with a plain wallpaper or background, without unsightly or distracting objects.

Research the organisation – understand its services, product, management team, competitor, and market to position yourself ahead of the other candidates.

Prepare your own questions. In addition to preparing answers to some common interview questions, also prepare several questions to ask the interviewer – job requirements, the benefits and salary or what they think of the company?

During the interview

Look professional – dress appropriately for the employer – should it be a business outfit, formal professional outfit, or smart/casual wear? Your appearance will make a big impression. This also applies to your positioning – ensure you are comfortable and at least 45 cm away from the camera – the view should not be up your nostrils or of your ear!

Be on time – be ready for your online interview before time. If for some unexpected reason you are going to be late, inform the interviewer.

Remove distractions – make sure your mobile devices are in silent mode and close any chat windows or other programs that might make sounds.

Battery life – whatever device you are using for the interview, check you have enough battery charge.

Show enthusiasm – Make sure you have a bright smile and plenty of eye contact to demonstrate your enthusiasm. Also, speak distinctly and in a confident voice.

Answer questions with an example – reply to each question with an elicit example, which illustrates how you can add value to a company and showcases your capabilities. If you can’t add an example, talk about how you will solve the problem.

Listen – for a constructive discussion with the interviewer; you must not interfere while he talks and pay attention to what he says. Sometimes what is not being asked may be more important as what is being asked.

Maintain a professional demeanour – No matter how bad your current job is, never complain to your potential employer about it. Also never discuss your personal problems and cross the professional line.

Ask your prepared questions – it not only conveys your interest in the job but also helps you understand the culture and functionalities of the company.

Be aware of body language – to remain professional, be aware of how you’re presenting yourself. For example, using your hands a lot can aid communication, but don’t overdo your gestures. Also, avoid fidgeting and fiddling with things, like your pen or jewellery, which can be distracting. And avoid slouching in your chair.

After the interview

Follow up – with multiple candidates applying for the one job; it’s essential to follow-up after the interview via email or phone.

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