Author: M.Kok

How to do better at online interviews

Online interviewing might be a relatively new thing, but by the look of the recent trends, it is here to stay. Here are a few ideas and pointers on how to not only get used to this new powerful tool but to take full advantage of it.


Much so, like with a classical interview, online interviews need preparation. After you have researched the company and the position and prepared yourself for the interview questions, you need to get the necessary tech ready.

There are a lot of options. Like, google hangouts, skype, facetime or discord. Usually, the person setting up the interview will tell you beforehand what software they would like to use. It never hurts to double-check with the interviewer though.

Once you have the right app, make sure you know how to operate it. Test it a few times. Make sure the camera works and that the sound is clear.

Try to use the device with the best camera. This way, the interviewers will see you clearly.

Think of the background as well as the background noise. A plain wall with the camera set up on eye level, in a well-lit room, is the standard. Using a microphone and headphones is a good idea too. If you live in a house share, let everyone know before the interview to be noise considerate.

Dress like you would have the interview at the company headquarters in front of the CEO. If you are applying for a tech start-up the chances are you actually might have the interview with the boss, but even if you don’t try and make an effort.

Always use a stable connection. Mobile networks depending on where you live might cut in and out turning the interview, making for awkward pauses and you or the interviewer having the repeat themselves or talking over each other. Try to use a decent wireless connection.

The interview

Just like with physically going to an interview you should be ready a little early. Do the final tests, put your game face on and press call(or be ready to pick up).

Even though an online interview might feel a little odd at first, it is the real thing. It is important to stay focused. Switching into ‘work mode’ when at home can be difficult for some people, hopefully wearing the business attire helps.

Answer the questions in the same way you would during a conventional interview. It is tempting to have cheat papers all around to help with the more difficult questions, but the chances are that the interviewer will catch on to it. Causing you to look insecure or lose credibility.

Look into the camera as opposed to the interviewer on the screen. Searching for eye contact makes you look more engaged, just like you would in a conversation where you are physically present. This is not to say you should stare at the camera. Every now and then check your own video feed to make sure you have good posture and that you look attentive.

Keep a level talking voice and try not to make unnecessary noises. Especially so when you are using a high-end microphone or the person on the other side is using headphones.

Final thoughts and summary

An online interview is in most ways the same as a conventional. What matters the most is you and how you present yourself throughout it. And with proper preparation, it can even be more advantageous compared to physically being present.
Seeing yourself in the camera can keep you attentive and aware of your responses.
Doing it from the comfort of your own home can help to regain composure during the more stressful phases on the interview or otherwise stay relaxed.
Taking care of the accidental coffee stain on your lap or the last-minute toilet break is really not a problem eighter. You also save the time and energy you would have otherwise spent on the journey.

Just make sure you prepare accordingly. Like often in life, what can go wrong sometimes does. It is the same with technology. Even if you prepared the room, the computer, the lighting and the camera, your broadband might suddenly fail.

Don’t get flustered, just move on to the ‘Plan B’. If you are using your computer with the wifi, have the same app on your phone ready to log in should one or the other fail.

Good luck with the interview!


By  M.Kok

Freelance writer and coding enthusiast.

Also a keen sportsman and painter.

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