10 Top Online Job Interview Tips

If you're looking for a new job, you probably dread doing online interviews. That's why we've compiled a list of the top online job interview tips covering everything from what to wear, to how to prepare mentally.

How to Prepare for a Zoom Interview

Zoom is one of the hiring managers' most popular video conferencing tools for interviews. Video interviews aren't a replacement for in person-interviews; it's simply another form of interviewing that offers many advantages over the traditional phone (also known as phone screen interview) and in-person interviews. Here are some zoom interview tips to help you ace the call:

1. Do Your Homework

A common mistake is assuming you don't need to prepare for an online interview. While some candidates think they can wing it, most people fail to adequately prepare for virtual interviews.

Researching the company online gives you insight into what they value and what they look for in potential hires. For example, suppose you see that the company values diversity. In that case, you can mention something specific that you did in the past which demonstrates your ability to work well with different types of people.

Also, make it a habit to save the job posting requirements and duties when submitting an online application. This helps you prepare your responses for the online interview, as it is typically unavailable after they have stopped taking applications.

Before attending the call, you should ask yourself common interview questions:

  • What do I know about the company?
  • How does my background fit with the role?
  • Do I have any experience related to the job description?
  • What skills do I bring to the table?
  • Why did I apply for this job? FYI, "because I need the money" is not considered an acceptable answer.

2. Practice with Friends

Practice interviews with friends and family members. Ask them to give you feedback on your responses and ask them to critique your tone. They can help you hone your responses and identify areas where you could improve.

3. Be Early for Your Zoom Interview

There are no strict guidelines on whether you should be 5 or 15 minutes early. As long as you're there on time, that's all that matters.

However, being early for a Zoom interview allows you to prep ahead of time and impress your interviewer. You'll give yourself plenty of time to think about what you want to say and how you want to present yourself, without feeling rushed.

Before joining the call, you'll also want to ensure everything is set up correctly.

  • Place the camera at or slightly above eye level using a laptop stand. If you don't have one, a pair of books will suffice. It prevents you from looking down. Making and maintaining eye contact is essential, especially in a virtual setting.
  • Create a short document with key things you want them to know about you and a few questions you have for them.
  • Open the document on your computer and start Zoom in a small window above it. Because you'll be fixing your gaze on the top of the screen rather than the bottom left corner, you'll give the impression that you're paying closer attention to the speaker. Having your notes close by in case you need them is a great way to ease anxiety and maintain focus.

4. Have a Plan B

You never know what could happen during an interview. So always have a backup plan ready just in case something goes wrong. For example, if your mic starts malfunctioning, you might need to switch to another device, like a smartphone.

5. Dress for the Occasion

Also, make sure that you're dressed appropriately for the occasion. A suit might seem like overkill, but it's a good idea to look professional because you never know who else will be joining the call.

If it's your first time wearing a suit, you might feel a little nervous and uncomfortable. Our advice is to start wearing your suit a few days in advance. You'll feel confident, comfortable, and natural. Plus, you'll have more time to adjust your style if needed.

What to Do During the Interview?

Interviewing is one of the most nerve-wracking experiences. Here are some tips to successfully get through the interview process:

6. Use Engaged Body Language

Using positive body language during an online interview can make you seem confident and energetic. If you're excited about the job, your interviewer will pick up on it. Smile and nod frequently throughout the interview. Even if you don't think you're qualified, try to act enthusiastic!

7. Behavioral Questions

Often the interviewer will ask about your biggest weakness. "I work too hard" or "I'm too honest" are not good answers. Even if they believe you, those statements give the impression that you are either obnoxious or will eventually burn out.

Instead, say something like, "My biggest weakness for this job is that I have no experience with (company's database platform)" or "I don't know much about (part of the job) yet, so it would take me some time to learn." If it's a remote position, maybe "I haven't worked asynchronously in a remote setting, so it will take some time to adjust to the different time zones".

These are genuine, job-related problems, but they're also things you can improve as soon as you're hired. However, personality defects are not and should not be discussed in the interview.

8. Salary Expectations

Negotiating salary is an important part of the hiring process. It can be tempting to start discussing money early in your interview, but resist the urge! It's best only to do so if both parties have expressed mutual interest and an agreement has already been made for you to move forward with them as their ideal candidate (or at least near enough).

Once you're at that point, ask them about their average salary range. Your goal is to understand where on the spectrum of possible salaries they fall within your perceived value for an offer. And how much flexibility there is with adjusting this number based on factors like experience level or additional education qualifications obtained during one's career journey thus far.

If you've done your research, you should know the industry standard salary for the role. Based on your experience and qualifications, it's always better to ask for a little more and negotiate down rather than play safe. Imagine if you did and they gave you what you asked for - no questions asked. It's not like you can call back and say er... can I have more, please?

If asked, you always have another offer in the works. And preferably from a direct competitor. If you say you don't have any other job offers, there's no urgency to hire you or offer you more.

9. Questions to Ask During an Interview

During the interview process, ask follow-up questions about the role and company culture. Examples of questions: why the job is available? What are benefits, vacation days, or work-life balance? This could help you determine what kind of place you'll be joining.

If you don't know what to ask and need ideas, check out these unique interview questions to ask employers. Remember that you are also interviewing your potential employer when you go for the job interview.

10. Write Down Notes during the Interview

Write down everything you learned during the interview. Then, review those notes later to refresh your memory. They'll come in handy when you apply again. When you receive feedback, write down key points.

Final Interview Tips

Don't expect to hear back immediately following an interview. Companies take time to make hiring decisions, so don't worry if you aren't called within 24 hours.

If you haven't heard anything after a few days, follow up via email. Include a short note saying, "I'm excited to hear about the opportunity." You'll make a good impression if you're eager to move forward.

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