In 2021, you could say it’s pretty common for online job interviews to be considered the new norm. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Australians have learnt to adapt and pivot their businesses to deal with snap lockdowns and limited office capacities in their respective states, making us experts when it comes to working from home, hosting online meetings and participating in virtual job interviews.
So, if you’ve found yourself agreeing to an interview over Zoom, we thought we’d pass on our pearls of wisdom with five practical and important tips to prepare you for the big day.
#1 Eliminate distractions
It’s easy to get distracted when you’re not in a controlled environment (like a meeting room with your interviewer). If you live with other people, namely roommates, parents, siblings, partners and children*, let them know when and where you’re interviewing in your house. Remind them of this right before your interview to avoid any interruptions. Make sure your phone is turned off or on silent, the window is closed so outside noises are kept at bay and all other tabs or pop ups are closed on your screen.
* If you have children, don’t be so hard on yourself if there are some unexpected noises or distractions. Most employees, at least the good ones, are empathetic towards this.
#2 Check your audio, camera & internet connection
There aren’t really too many valid excuses for rocking up late to an online job interview. Make sure your laptop is fully charged and updated the night before or the morning of. Around 30 minutes to one hour prior to your interview, check that your audio and camera are working (set up a specific spot in your room where the camera will be positioned) and ensure that your WiFi is running smoothly. Don’t forget to enter the Zoom Waiting Room at least five to ten minutes prior (mute yourself if needed).
#3 Look the part
Just because you’re interviewing from your bedroom, it doesn’t mean you can get away with wearing pyjamas or loungewear. Your video attire should be relatively the same to what you would wear in a face-to-face interview. Depending on where your camera is positioned, you may be able to look professional on the top and casual on the bottom. Remember not to wear accessories that can interfere with the audio.
#4 Location, Location, Location
We understand that not everyone’s living situation can reflect a professional environment or look aesthetically pleasing for an online interview. However, if you know your chosen location (aka your room, kitchen or living area) is a mess, choose a professional/ neat background from the Zoom options available to you.
#5 Practise your body language
It can be difficult to communicate your message or get to know someone through a laptop or computer screen. When your virtual interview commences, ensure you’re looking at the other person speaking (not at yourself), sitting up straight (not slouching in your chair) and using nonverbal cues when the interviewer speaks (smiling & nodding to show that you’re listening).
If you’re after some more practical interview tips, we tackle some tricky and common questions here. Have a read through and brush up on your answers prior to your interview. Good luck!