8 Tips to Impress During an Online Interview

by Gaby Gramont

Technology is changing how hiring managers conduct interviews. Are you prepared?

Sitting in the same room with a potential employer is no longer a required first step in the interview process. Increasingly, hiring managers are using technology, such as SKYPE or FaceTime, to replace in-person meetings, especially in situations where the candidate or employer are in different locations. Do you know how to make a good first impression through your computer screen?

How you conduct yourself in an online interview could be the difference between landing the job and needing to continue your search. The experienced recruiters at TorchLight, D.C.’s leading marketing and communications search and staffing firm, offer these eight suggestions to ace your next on-screen interview:

1. Keep it professional. While you may be taking the call from the comfort of your home, be careful not to be too Make no mistake, a SKYPE or FaceTime interview is a formal interview, and you should treat it as such.

2. Dress the part. If you were going for an in-person interview, you would come dressed in appropriate clothing, right? The same professional attire should be worn in an on-screen interview—you are still speaking face-to-face after all, even if a computer screen separates you from the interviewer.

3. Find a quiet location. Don’t let unexpected noise from pets, children, neighbors, or the television interrupt your important interview. A hiring manager will not find the cat climbing on your lap or a screaming child in the next room during the interview charming but distracting.

4. Consider your surroundings. Before the interview, confirm what the camera will pick up around you conveys a serious, professional tone. You may be a huge football fan but a life-size poster of Aaron Rodgers shouldn’t be your backdrop. Scan your bookshelf so your copy of “4-Hour Workweek” isn’t seen over your shoulder. Don’t let an unintended glimpse of your interests or personal ambitions give the employer any reason to count you out for the position.

5. Sit up tall. Sit at a desk or table instead of cozying up on the couch. It’s nice to be relaxed in an interview, but there is such a thing as being too relaxed. You want to demonstrate you are serious about the position. Your posture and body language can speak volumes.

6. Stay engaged. Position your screen in a spot where the interviewer can see you well and you can see them. Keep the phone or computer still and sit in one spot—there is nothing more distracting than the camera or screen being moved around while trying to engage someone in a conversation. Now is not the time to multi-task.

7. Avoid errors with equipment. It’s happened to all of us—we think we have a handle on technology and it fails us. Be prepared for an upcoming online interview by testing out SKYPE or FaceTime with a friend or family member before your interview, especially if you aren’t the most tech-savvy. That way you can work out any issues well in advance and handle the video conference with confidence. Also, potential employers will be looking for your command of technology—an increasingly important skill in today’s business world.

8. Don’t fuss. Very few people feel they look stunning on-screen, but you should show confidence during the interview. Avoid fussing over your appearance—fixing your hair or adjusting your clothing—to keep the interviewer focused on your qualifications instead of your clothes. If it helps you relax, know the interviewer likely feels a little awkward, too.

While these tips are simple, little details can make a big difference in an interview. Prepare for an online interview just as you would if you’re meeting in the hiring manager’s office. And with any interview, remember to send a thank-you note immediately following your meeting.

Are you looking for a new opportunity in marketing or communications? TorchLight, one of best search and staffing firms in Washington, D.C., matches the area’s top talent with client companies looking to fill contract, contract-to-hire and permanent positions. View our open jobs now and upload your resume to our database. 

Posted in Interview tips