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Online Interviews

What is an online interview?

An online interview is an online research method conducted using computer-mediated communication (CMC), such as instant messaging, email, or video. Online interviews are separated into synchronous online interviews, for example via online chat which happen in ‘real time’ online and asynchronous online interviews, for example via email conducted in non-real time.

Practice and preparation for an online job interview.

  • Webcam Job Interviews. The most typical online interview is the interview via webcam. Rather than having you travel to the location. The interviewer will often use popular video conferencing software like Skype or Google Hangouts. If you’re not familiar with these technologies, it’s a good idea to practice using them with a friend before conducting the interview.
  • Some employers use online web-based systems for interviewing. For example, Spark Hire provides options for recorded interviews via webcam and in-depth live interviewing with split-screen online interviews with candidates.
  • Sometimes, rather than interviewing you, employers email you a list of interview questions and ask you to film yourself answering them. If this is the case, all the same rules still apply. Even though you are not speaking directly to a person, be sure to smile and maintain friendly eye contact with the camera.

Preparation tips and being interview ready.

Keep in mind; a video interview carries as much weight as an interview conducted in-person, so you will want to make sure that you’re well prepared to interview remotely. Here a few essential tips to follow;

  • Download beforehand the software ahead of time of your interview, so you have the opportunity to get used to it and practice.
  • Create a professional username, such as a variation on your real name as it appears on your application form.
  • Dress professionally even if you are sitting down. Look smart as you never know when you will have to stand up. Plus, dressing the part will help you feel confident and showcase the best you.
  • Clear your workspace and any clutter that is behind you so that it doesn’t show up on the screen. First impressions really do count, even online interviews.
  • Make sure that you are in a quiet room where you will not be disturbed by people, pets, etc. Turn off your ringer, any alarms, and electronics that are likely to interrupt.
  • Have a copy of your c.v. and a note pad in your sightline in case you have to refer to dates, job titles, or numbers.
  • Smile and focus as much as possible and try to behave as if you’re in a regular, in-person interview. Look into the camera, listen attentively, and engage with your interviewer. Don’t just wait for your turn to speak.
  • Practice using your webcam equipment before the interview, so you are sure everything is in working order and that you’re comfortable interviewing on video.

Top Tip: Remember to speak slowly and clearly. It’s easy to speed up and come across as nervous and garbled when you’re doing a self-paced interview. Take deep breaths. If it seems like you’re speaking too slowly, you’re probably doing it right.

What do employers want to see when they review videos from candidates for employment?

Answer the questions asked, not the questions you wish were asked. Recruiters and hiring managers want to know you can do the job required, so they ask specific questions around your mindset and skillset. A video is a faster way for them to screen seekers than traditional applications, so don’t give them a reason to not consider yours.

Show creativity. In your responses, relate an experience that demonstrates how you can perform the job required. If you are recording interview responses in advance and applying to be a chef, for example, record your answers within the kitchen environment while you’re preparing a dish.

Be presentable. Make sure you are dressed appropriately and practice your answers, so you have the best representation of yourself as possible.

Be Job ready. Online interviews can get your foot in the door, but standard materials still get used at some point in the process. Make sure your experiences and best points match what you’re saying in the video.