How to Nail Your Online Interview

For some, the ever-building pressure of sitting down in the front office of the manager you are waiting to interview with is nerve-wrecking and terrible. In your head you’re reviewing prepared answers and telling yourself “you can do this” over and over again. For others, sitting down in front of a webcam and preparing for an interview dependent on video technology is even worse. Whether you are waiting in a physical office or sitting down in front of your webcam in your own personal office, you need to be fully prepared and ready to nail the interview.

While most of us are fully aware of what we need to do to prepare for a traditional interview, the steps toward prepping for an online interview may be a bit fuzzy. Thankfully, you have Spark News to help you out with the advice and tips you’ll need in order to nail your online interview. Before we get into the nitty gritty of online interviewing, Spark News can’t seem to stress enough that an online interview should in no way be viewed differently than a traditional interview. If you are invited to take part in an online interview, you shouldn’t regard it as less important or less formal than an in-person interview. The same mental, physical and emotional preparation should be applied to online interviews and you should regard it with the same importance level. That said, you will need to make a few extra, different preparations for your online interview. Take a look at the following tips and get yourself ready to nail your online interview!

Choose Your Location Carefully
First things first, you need to make sure the area you choose for your webcam and online interview is quiet, clean and void of distractions. This is probably the most essential and important tip Spark News can provide you with. When you engage in an online interview, you don’t want there to be any distractions or outside noise to pull the interviewers attention away from you. You also want to make sure your area is neat, clean and visually pleasing. If you are sitting on your couch with your laptop webcam, chances are the background isn’t going to look too great. However, if you are sitting at a desk in front of a neat, clean wall then there is very little to distract the interviewer from you. Make sure the wall behind you isn’t too vibrant. You should test all of these things and see what your color scheme looks like before you start your online interview.

Eye Contact
In a traditional, in-person interview chances are you wouldn’t be staring off into space or staring at the walls instead of looking your interviewer in the eye. If in fact you do, then it may be said that you need to learn a thing or two about interviews. An online interview should be treated the same way. When you are participating in an online interview, make sure you are looking directly into the camera when you respond to the interviewer. That way, they get the feeling you are looking them in the eye, which is what you would normally do.

If, by chance, you are interviewing with someone in-person as well as someone online, you need to be very careful of your eye contact. When the person online asks you a question, answer them looking into the webcam. If the person in the room with you asks you a question, look at them when you answer. The rules are simple. Just remember to keep your eye contact with the person you are speaking with.

Lighting
The lighting in your online interview is much like choosing your office space: you need to be very careful. You do not want to set your office space up directly in front of a light or a lamp because on the other end it will be very distracting. Think about it. Would you want to take part in an online interview if you had to stare at a shining, bright lamp the entire time? Probably not. Be very careful where you set your lighting up, but make sure you have an adequate amount of light on you. This is why testing and practicing with your webcam before your online interview is so important. That way, you can see what the interviewer will see and can fix the lighting if needed. Going along with the lighting, you want to make sure you avoid wearing white or patterned clothing. The white can wash you out or appear too bright on the webcam and patterned clothes can be very hard on the eyes. Furthermore, make sure you are centered on the screen.

Patience
For most, setting up for an online interview is a new experience. There are many things to learn and sometimes it may be quite frustrating. As with any learning experience, you need to be patient. Getting stressed or frustrated won’t help you in the long run. In fact, it will likely work against you. Take your time and be careful as you set up for your online interview. Play with the lighting to see which set-up works best and practice multiple times so you are comfortable in front of your camera.

All in all, an online interview isn’t much different than an in-person interview. You are still dressing up for the occasion, maintaining steady eye contact, preparing yourself for the answers you intend to give and want to be personable. Engaging in an interview with a potential employer can be difficult and stressful. However, following the steps above can ease your frustrations and help you nail your online interview, whether it’s your first or your twentieth!

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About Nicole Nicholson

Nicole is the Content Editor for Spark Hire and mainly writes for and edits the work for the Spark News blog. She graduated in 2010 with a BA in Journalism from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She has a passion for writing, editing, and pretty much anything to do with content. In her free time she frequents the Chicago music scene and writes reviews on shows for her own personal blog. Connect with Nicole and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter