There are some big differences between preparing for an online job interview vs. an in-person interview.
Our remote hiring team here at Support Adventure has reviewed thousands of applicants, and conducted hundreds of online video interviews.
They have observed over the years the best ways to stand out from the competition and ace an interview, and now we’re sharing those ways with you.
Great audio will improve your video interview quality
Start your interview off right by having a quality microphone. If your interviewer cannot make out what you are saying, then it doesn’t even matter what you are talking about.
Many times people think they can get away with using the internal microphone on their laptop, but that mic can often sound like you are calling from a tunnel or a cave.
Microphone quality is so important is because:
- It will make you appear more professional and prepared.
- You will avoid being inaudible during your interview.
- You will stand out from all the other applicants who are probably just relying on their internal microphone.
Using a headset with a boom mic can easily prevent that issue. Our team uses Sennheiser USB headsets to have clear audio. You can find them on Amazon.
Traditional analog mics and headsets might be good, but they can be hard to configure if you do not use them regularly. The same goes for bluetooth microphones. If you do not use them everyday, you can run into some troubleshooting issues and they can run out of battery. So just use a USB headset to play it safe and professional.
Strong camera and lighting setup are a must for online job interviews
People often underestimate the power of good lighting and camera positioning. As a company that holds weekly Zoom meetings, we know how awkward it is when someone is calling in from a badly lit room or sitting in an unflattering position.
That is a recipe for disaster, so avoid those issues by heeding these rules:
- Make sure your light source is in front of your face, not behind it.
- If you do not have a lamp or overhead light, sit in front of a window.
- Make sure your camera is not pointing up from below your face.
- Position the camera so you can look into the lens when you look at the other person.
- If you are using a phone, put it on a tripod or so that it does not sit at an awkward angle.
- Test your angles and lighting on Zoom or Photobooth 30 minutes before the interview.
It is so important that you can be seen, and from a flattering angle because your potential future employer wants to build rapport with you and see if you fit in with their company’s culture. You do not want to leave them with an uncomfortable taste in their mouth because they could not see you well.
Dress smart-casual or neutral for you online video interview
Ideally you should dress smart-casual or neutral to prevent your interviewer from jumping to the wrong conclusions about you based on your appearance.
Here are some options for styling yourself:
|Business casual||Simple & Neutral-Colored|
|Button up shirt||Fitted t-shirt in black or white|
|Collared polo shirt||V-neck shirt|
|Blazer with fitted shirt underneath||Plain Sweater|
By dressing smart-casual or neutral, the clothes you are wearing will not distract the interviewer from what you are talking about.
On the contrary, here are some things you should avoid wearing:
- Shirts with distracting prints
- Low-cut tops/dresses
By wearing a business suit, it will appear as though you are trying too hard. By wearing hoodies, hats and other overly casual clothing, it will appear as though you are not trying hard enough. Just stick to smart-casual.
Be relaxed when speaking during the online interview
Interviews are an opportunity for you to build rapport with your potential employers, so chill out and show them that you can be relaxed around them.
It is absolutely okay to make small talk for two or three minutes to allow the interviewer to get to know you better and vice versa. Make it clear that you share the same core values as the company and that is why you would fit in with the team.
You can ask them questions like:
- Do you like working remotely?
- How is it managing a remote team?
- How many team members work remotely and how many work from an office?
- When did you start operations in this city/country?
- How was the company founded?
Ask questions that give your interviewer an opportunity to take pride in what they do. But whatever you do, do not overly flatter them. Sincere, heartfelt compliments are always welcome whereas flattery comes off as forced and rehearsed.
Here are some examples of complimenting someone vs. flattering them.
|“I really like your core values of community and accountability. They resonate with me so much because….”||“This company has the absolute best core values. I would be honored to be a part of this team.”|
|“I see you use ____ software. I have used it in the past and think it is the best to work with because….”||“Wow, you guys make such exceptional choices in the software you use. It’s really impressive!”|
|I think the vision of this company is so unique. I relate to it and know I can make an impact because…”||“Your vision is so brilliant. I hope I can work here because there is so much knowledge I want to gain from you.”|
Flattery is universally despised by employers, and they can smell it from a mile away. If it doesn’t come from the heart, don’t say it.
Employers can also easily read when you are not answering questions honestly. This will raise alarm bells that you are not an honest person and will cut corners.
Employers test this by asking about your past mistakes and weaknesses. They want to see that you can answer the question with humility and admit that you have made mistakes, but that you have also learned from them and have worked to improve yourself.
Show that your an invested go-getter
Applicants often think the company has all the power, but they have power too.
Companies are excited by people who express how much value they can bring to the company. You can make this clear to your interviewer by:
- Describing how you will solve problems for the company.
- Making suggestions for what the company can do to produce better results using you.
- Explaining insights you have to help grow the business.
- Explaining how the role is personally right for you.
- Describing how you will take initiative to improve upon the role.
Hiring managers want to see that you truly view this role as a part of your long term career goals.
You can stand out even further from the rest of the applicants by expressing your commitment before even being hired. Tricks to do this are:
- Offer the company a free trial of your services for a day or two.
- Ask to be sent tasks as a test to prove you are skilled in performing those tasks.
- Offer to work for free for a week.
You can also make it clear how invested you are by taking an interest in the managers’ responsibilities’. Showing this makes it easier for a company to envision you as the person that is right for their team.
You can do this by commenting on or asking questions about:
- What their day-to-day challenges are.
- How you can contribute to improving their system.
- How you feel about their current system.
- How your vision to grow the company syncs with theirs.
- What they are currently working on and any prior experience you have that is relevant.
Alt: Prove your worth during your online job interview.
When hiring managers see that you really care about the evolution of the business, they will feel more comfortable hiring you. They will be more eager to have you as part of the team and see to it that you grow and receive more responsibilities.
Prepare questions before your online video interview commences
Interviewers often like it when their prospect shows a sincere interest in the company and comes prepared with questions.
Many interviewees don’t take the time to do this, so it is a sure-fire way to make a positive impression if you do.
You can prepare questions you have for them by:
- Reading the “About” page on the company’s website.
- Checking out articles they have on their site.
- Learning more about their team from their Linkedin page.
- Reading testimonials from clients and staff members.
- Looking at their social media.
End your online job interview by dropping hints that you’re a hot commodity
Don’t just leave the video interview feeling like it’s only you that has to play the waiting game. Make them feel scared to lose out on you if they wait too long in offering you the position.
They should feel a sense of urgency to snatch you up before some other company claims you.
You can create this urgency by stating any of the following truthfully:
- Talking about other options you have.
- Saying you have another interview tomorrow with another company you might work with.
- Telling them that you hope to accept an offer from them, but you have to weigh your options; therefore they should let you know as soon as they can.
- Ask them for a realistic timeline for hearing back from them. They will be more likely to get back to you if they actually answer that.
The more power you have, the more the company will fear someone else hiring you. You create that power by not seeming needy or like this opportunity is your only hope. Absolutely don’t lie about other opportunities though, as this will not help you as you will seem dishonest, a big red flag for interviewers. Whatever you say should be true.
If you are confident and sincere in your abilities to help them with the value you bring, they will be confident in your value too.
Do you feel more prepared for that online job interview now? We sure hope so! Let us know in the comments below if you have any more questions about making the best impression for your interview.