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The post COVID-19 world is different to what we are used to and these changes are here to stay. WFH is a new norm so it is very important for the candidate to show his potential employer his/her online interview preparation.

Things will be done differently, technology will play a key role in this ever changing environment. In-person job interviews will be a thing of the past and the shift towards online interviews is inevitable.

Fortunately, modern day technological advancements have made it easier for both companies and candidates to meet and conduct online interviews using video conferencing tools (e.g. Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom and Microsoft Teams etc.).

Why do we need a guide, when this is all common sense? True but not true, as this phenomenon of undertaking online interviews is quite new, to almost every one, so it better to be safe than sorry. The points listed below will serve as an extensive guideline for you to be well prepared and ever ready for undertaking online interviews.

Before The Interview:

  • Always ask for the interview details and clear instructions from the recruitment agency or the person responsible for arranging the interview, including dial-in details, account information, time zone etc.;
  • Set an online reminder, even better on online calendar, to avoid any possible meeting conflicts;
  • Check your camera and microphone to ensure video and sound system are working perfectly well;
  • Use your laptop rather than your mobile phone;
  • Ensure that your laptop battery is fully charged;
  • Make sure that whatever application you are using i.e. Skype, Microsoft Teams, Hangout etc. is working without issues;
  • If you have frequent Wi-Fi connection issues, use personal hotspot. The last thing you need is an unstable connections that’s constantly buffering;
  • Select and reserve a quiet corner in the house or a private room that blocks out noises and distractions;
  • Dress professionally, as you need to show that you are serious and you take this job interview seriously.

During The Interview:

  • Focus on the camera instead of your screen, so that it appears as if you’re speaking directly to the person conducting the interview;
  • Ensure that the room is well lit and the angle of your video is correctly set;
  • Avoid being backlit by any light behind you, as the effect can make it hard for the interviewer to see you clearly;
  • Set your computer or laptop at shoulder height;
  • Don’t put the laptop on your lap or any unstable surface, as this can change your camera focus with slightest movement;
  • It is best to use headphones, as it helps avoid distractions and you can stay focused;
  • Don’t take notes, as it will definitely distract you;
  • Avoid causal expressions e.g. “What’s’ up”, “Say again?” etc.
  • Don’t mumble, maintain a good tone level – your voice needs to be clear;
  • Ask your house hold members or roommate/s to hold off on streaming videos or playing games to free up any bandwidth issues;
  • Carefully select your background, you don’t want things in background distracting your interviewer. There are good virtual backgrounds available on various video conferencing applications e.g. Zoom, Microsoft Team etc., use them;
  • While using virtual grounds, always select a background that has a strong sense of professionalism;
  • Use a small sticky note on your computer/laptop screen so that you have key points available to you, if needed;
  • Your facial expressions need to be amplified a bit more on virtual job interviews. Don’t look bored or disinterested;
  • You need to create engagement. If you need to use your hands, use your hands. You need to connect with your interviewer.

After The Interview:

  • Virtual or not, be sure to follow up with your interviewer within a day or two. It’s standard to send a thank-you email.


Source: HBR / Recruitment Agencies

Mohammad Usman Ali – Author is the Director of Financial Shared Services in Australian subsidiary of a US multinational company, based in Melbourne. He is a member of various prestigious professional organisation including CPA Australia, ACCA UK and ICAP Pakistan. He is also a panel member of ACCA Australia & New Zealand chapter.


Disclaimer: The content of this article is for information only and is not offered as an advice. Readers are encouraged to consult a suitably qualified professional adviser to obtain advice tailored to their specific requirement.

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