Lights, camera, action: how to nail your virtual job interview


Pandemic is far from being over, but life goes on, and we are getting used to the new reality. People learnt to enjoy concerts, exhibitions, and even theatre plays online, let alone working from home offices. Virtual job interviews also became a new normal. This way of interaction between employers and employees is considered to be almost perfect. It is time-saving, cost-effective, and opens up new opportunities for people from different countries. However, online interviews require more preparation, and that’s why cause lots of additional stress. It has been a year since we all became masters of Zoom and gurus of GoToMeeting. Yet, funny and embarrassing things still take place. HR experts from Jooble shared their experience of conducting interviews online. Here are some highlights they advise candidates to pay attention to.

  • Make sure no one will disturb you

Sure, a video with children interrupting BBC News interview is heartwarming and sweet, but let’s not follow this example. Warn your housemates about the upcoming event and make sure they won’t disturb you not only for the following half an hour (average duration of the conversation) but a bit longer (in case an interview starts with delay). In the best-case scenario, they shouldn’t even enter the room where you are sitting. Even if no one is caught by the camera, their presence and noises might distract you. The place itself has to have a minimalistic design and look neat. If you cannot sit in front of the impressive bookshelf or a window with a view of Wall Street, at least take down the posters of your favourite comedy movies hanging on the walls. 

lamp on the desk

  • Take care of the light 

The best option is natural light, so sit down near the window and check how good you see the laptop screen. However, if it’s getting dark outside pretty fast in your place (or there is a big time lag between the candidate and employers), prepare a backup plan. Switch on a desk lamp and combine it with overhead light. Adjust the angle of a camera and practice how to change your posture. Any camera distorts an image a bit, so try to fix things under your control. 

Don’t forget about plan C. According to Sod’s law, power in an apartment goes out 5 minutes before an important video call. Charge your laptop, charge your phone, so you could use it instead if something goes wrong. Download the necessary software and buy a battery-operated lamp. The last thing is a good buy if electricity cuts are regular in your area. 

  • Check technologies  

Make sure your Internet connection is reliable and fast. Get enough mobile data to use if the network connection is interrupted. Be professional and show up at the online interview a bit earlier, so you will have enough time to log in, check the settings once again, and come down. Turn off all notifications from other apps and programs. Don’t try to look for something on your laptop or the phone while talking. The hardest thing about online interviews is keeping eye contact with potential employers and controlling your body language. Searching for something or getting distracted by messages will make the task more difficult. Be ready to share the screen when needed. Remove embarrassing pictures and folders from your desktop. Try to download the necessary software in advance and check its functions. This will also ease the stress of unexpected glitches. Rehearse the interview. 

  • Check a time zone of the appointed call 

It might be confusing but helps to ease the stress. And last but not the least, stay polite and smiling until your interviewer leaves the conversation. The very last seconds can spoil everything if you accidentally throw a snarky comment. Such incidents happen if candidates are upset, or the other way round, excited about the interview. Wait until everyone leaves a meeting, switch off the software, and feel free to say whatever crosses your mind. 

  • Keep all necessary things at close hand

Print out your CV to easily follow the points your interviewer wants to bring up. Lay necessary certificates or transcripts of records out, so it takes you a moment to find a particular document. Don’t forget to prepare a pen and a notebook.  If you have a list of questions, set it also somewhere within your reach. Put a glass of water on the table, but keep it far from the keyboard. While gesticulating, you can accidentally turn the water over. A glass itself seems to be a small detail, yet it’s good to remember that funny mugs with cats can slightly spoil a general impression about the candidate. Having appropriate attire is also a must-have element of a successful interview. Although no one sees you standing tall, having an outfit, professional from head to toe, will make you feel more confident. 

working place during interview

  • Don’t feel too comfortable

The biggest mistake Jooble HR specialists notice while conducting interviews is that usually, candidates forget they are having a serious conversation which could define their career. Lack of live communication creates a false impression that everything is less official. Here are some hilarious examples: candidates started smoking in the middle of the discussion, asked if they could make themselves tea/coffee, were eating or doing tasks from their current job. People are welcome to feel free. However, we are talking about a serious business conversation where both parties show respect towards each other. Sometimes sharing fun facts from your life helps create a friendly atmosphere, but attacking recruiters with your personal space is not the best idea. Every interview has a block dedicated to hobbies and goals. Demonstrating your pets, books or pictures from the last vacation will fit in with this section. In other cases, professional manners should prevail everywhere.

  • Don’t get nervous about things above your control

This rule might seem to be the most useless. We always get told not to worry about important events. Does it help? We don’t think so. When it comes to online interviews, the situation slightly differs. Even cutting-edge technologies can let us down at the most inappropriate moment. So don’t feel stressed if your computer starts experiencing sudden issues. 99,9% of online meetings start with the phrase “Can you hear me?” Tone checks happen all the time and it can’t but annoy. Sometimes due to the glitches, people stop hearing your voice. Some of your perfect answers disappear. Very few things in life are more frustrating than “could you repeat your answer, please?” Show mercy to technologies and interviewers. Keep calm and repeat what you were about to say. Sometimes you can even end up with a much better thought! Technical obstacles are inevitable. Learn how to deal with them.

Any job interview is a challenging moment. You have to concentrate, show your skills and knowledge. Staying at home while discussing future career prospects with potential employers is unusual for many of us. However, this is a new normal, so we have to get used to it. With these tricks, you will easily avoid inconvenient moments and concentrate on the most crucial part. Good luck with the interview. See you online!

Дата публикации: 22 March 2021