How To Prepare For an Online Interview: Tips and Suggestions

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 11 December 2022

Published 2 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

As technology advances, businesses are finding it easier and more cost-effective to hold virtual job interviews. Conducting interviews online saves money on travel, expedites the interviewing process and enables recruiters and hiring managers to interact with candidates without being restricted by geographical limitations. If you're looking for work, you may be asked to take part in a virtual interview, so it's important to learn how to get ready for one. In this article, we outline what an online interview is, explain how to prepare for it and discuss some online interview tips for success.

What is an online interview?

Essentially, an online interview is one that takes place using an online video chat or audio platform. Digital interviews are more time-efficient and can be less intimidating than in-person interviews. However, even if the interview is taking place in your home, it's important to prepare well and become acquainted with the many forms of online job interviews. This can assist you in achieving a better interview performance.

Related: How to Add a Zoom Interview Background: Definition and Tips

What are the different types of online interviews?

Hiring managers can conduct virtual interviews in a variety of ways. Before your interview, remember to ask the interviewer what type and mode of interview to expect. This includes determining whether the interview may have video, audio or both features. Also, be mindful to remember the time zone of the interview.

Related: 12 Tips to Succeed in a Text Interview (With Definition)

Video calls

A video call may be the most popular form of virtual interview. When scheduling a video interview, make sure you can easily locate a computer that suits your needs, as most devices include built-in microphones and cameras. The hiring manager may usually set out a certain time to call using online applications.

Make sure to install or update the appropriate application ahead of time to ensure that it works properly so that you don't encounter any technical issues. With a video call, the interviewer may be able to interact with you in roughly the same way as they would during a conventional physical interview. Preparation plays a major role in having a good video interview.

Related: What To Wear for a Video Interview (With 12 Helpful Tips)

Recorded video

An alternative way to do virtual interviews is to film yourself responding to interview questions. The interviewer may provide you with a set of behavioural and technical queries, as well as a deadline for you to prepare. You can record yourself as you respond to each question, and then you can upload the recorded video and send it to the hiring manager.

This type of interview allows you to thoroughly prepare your responses ahead of time, but it can also be challenging if you're not used to speaking in front of a camera. The most essential thing you can do is to set up some time to prepare and practise. You can pre-record yourself ahead of time and then watch and re-examine your recording.

Related: Interview Video Tips: How To Succeed In Video Interviews

How to prepare for your interview online

Keep in mind that virtual interviews are just as important as in-person interviews, so preparation is essential. Consider the following tips to properly prepare for your virtual interview:

1. Test the technology

Acquaint yourself with the essential hardware and software. Download all the necessary applications ahead of time so that you have the chance to get used to them. Schedule a test call with a friend, colleague or family member before your interview to ensure that everything works properly. During this test, check that your microphone and speakers are operational and that your internet connection can handle high-quality live video. Also, double-check that you're using a professional screen name or username as it appears on your resume so that the interviewer can recognise you instantly.

Related: 10 Tips for What to Do Before an Interview (With Importance)

2. Practise your interview

Once you've tested the equipment, you may practise your interview technique and approach. Assign someone you trust to ask you interview questions via video conference. Be cautious of your computer's tendency to lag, and avoid talking over the other person. Practise paying close attention and speaking slowly and clearly. The more you rehearse, the more assured you can be throughout the actual interview.

Read more: How To Prepare for an Interview

3. Select your location wisely

Choose a venue for your interview well in advance of the appointed time. Find a quiet place with minimal distractions and little background noise. Check that you have enough lighting and that there's nothing distracting behind you. Make it clear to your housemates not to bother you and keep any pets out of the room. A professional backdrop can demonstrate to the interviewer that you're serious about the job and the interview.

Related: Tips for Sharing a Workspace with Housemates

4. Collect your materials

Place a notebook and a pen within easy reach of your computer. Consider printing a copy of your resume and cover letter to have on hand during the interview as well. You can also prepare a list of questions or talking topics to bring up during the interview. All of these tools and materials can be useful, but make sure they don't divert your focus too frequently throughout the interview.

Related: 9 Steps in the Interview Process and Why They're Important

5. Prepare your own questions

On top of preparing responses to typical behavioural interview questions, it's recommended that you prepare a few questions of your own. Inquire about the employment requirements, perks and compensation, as well as what the interviewer thinks of the firm. Any questions that enable the interviewer to give more information about what they anticipate from the perfect candidate may aid you in the next step of the interview process.

6. Answer the interview questions appropriately

To answer the interview questions effectively, keep your answers simple and concise. You may share stories that substantiate your claims, but avoid lengthy answers to keep your interviewer engaged. You can also share quantifiable, relevant statistics that may impress your interviewer.

Related: Interview Question: "Why Do You Want to Work Here?"

Tips for acing your digital interview

Here are some tips to help you excel in your online interview:

Dress professionally

Even if you're not meeting your interviewer in person, it's still crucial for you to dress properly. As a general rule, it's advisable to dress neatly, conscientiously and professionally. If possible, research the company's dress code ahead of time. Wear an appropriate bottom and footwear in case you're required to stand up or walk away from the camera. Your attire may indicate your degree of professionalism to the interviewer.

Related: Your Guide to What To Wear For an Interview

Start with a polite greeting

Start the interview with a pleasant and amicable greeting such as "Thank you for taking the time to have a chat with me," "How are you doing?" or "I'm very pleased to meet you." Be mindful to radiate positivity, as your greeting may set the tone for the rest of the interview. Then, proceed to make eye contact to forge a connection.

Read more: How To Introduce Yourself in an Interview

Prepare yourself well

Be mindful that you can't search the web for answers in the midst of an interview just because you're on a computer. You want to come across as attentive and prepared to answer any inquiries without the assistance of the internet. Prepare ahead of time by researching the firm and taking notes for future reference.

Related: How to Create a Cheat Sheet for an Interview in 8 Steps

Don't memorise

You wouldn't want to appear robotic during your interview. It's simple to detect if you're not being sincere, so run through a few practice rounds with a colleague, friend or family. This way, you may be able to practise with various personalities and answer a range of questions. It's crucial to keep things concise.

Be true to yourself

A recruiter's primary responsibility is to determine whether you'd be a suitable match for the company's culture. Because there's a physical distance during a virtual interview, conveying your personality can be challenging. That said, make sure you're expressive when responding to questions.

Related: How To Succeed in a Virtual Interview

Think carefully about your body language

Body language is more difficult to read on a video, so be extra attentive to your nonverbal clues. When the interviewer asks questions or talks, be mindful to nod and smile. Sit upright and act as though you were in a face-to-face interview. You won't be able to shake hands, so you can demonstrate your professionalism in other ways.

Relax and remain calm

Before the interview, ease feelings of anxiousness by taking a deep breath and remaining cool and composed. You're more likely to make a lasting, favourable impression if you interact confidently with the interviewer. Remember that rehearsing your responses ahead of time is one of the best ways to alleviate interview nervousness. Be mindful to speak slowly and clearly to avoid coming across as overly nervous.

Have a contingency plan in place

Prepare for any potential hiccups that may arise from using technology. Contact your interviewer ahead of time to discuss a backup plan in case of a technical glitch. For technological issues, switching to a phone call or rescheduling for a later time are also viable options. If your application encounters a technical problem, don't get too alarmed. If the issue is beyond your control, the interviewer can surely empathise.

Related: How to Tell if a Job Interview Went Well (12 Positive Signs)

Follow up after

Following the interview, you can extend your gratitude by sending a thank-you message to the interviewer. Depending on the time sensitivity and overall circumstances, this might be a physical card or an email. Wait a few days after the interview and then contact the interviewer if you haven't heard back from them. Inquire whether the recruiting process is still underway and if they require any further information from you. Always remember to thank the interviewer for their consideration and time.

Read more: How To Write a Follow-Up Email After an Interview

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