6 Tips For Online Interviews

The new normal in communicating to your employer online.

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he business world changes year to year and if you are not with the times you will not be able to catch up. This being said the immediate change in interview style was not expected for many, but can be seen as the new normal so let’s help you conquer it.

Traditional interviews entailed employers meeting with potential hires for a certain position in which they would sit in an office across from each other and discuss how the potential hire might best fit for the company. This traditional path has been ever-changing over the years, however, as when I interviewed for my position at TopGolf in 2019 I was given problem-solving exercises and asked to create skits for situations to see if I ‘fit the mold’ for the company. So to say the traditional interviews are what all companies use to hire would be a false statement, but with the change in meeting style due to the current pandemic and government regulations I want to give you a rundown of what works best when interviewing online.

1. Dress To Impress

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It becomes enticing when having online interactions in a professional environment to just dress your upper half professional during calls as the camera will only see your chest and head. This idea is not the best when it comes to these interactions as you may be subject to get up or grab an item away from your computer and could come off unprofessional wearing sweatpants or jeans while communicating with an employer or co-worker. The best case in communicating online would be to dress as if you were going to an in-person interview as it allows yourself to be put into the moment and gives you a better headspace for your interaction.

2. Steady Eye-Contact

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Paying attention is always important when it comes to job interviews or any professional meeting for that matter. With online interviews it is no different as your audience, ‘the employer’, is watching what you are doing. If you are looking away from the screen or focused on what is in your lap you may be giving the wrong impression to your potential employer.

The worst part about these online interactions is knowing what to do with your focus as you simply cannot just look at someone like they are right in front of you. The solution is to look at the screen where the employer is when they are asking questions or giving statements and when you are speaking to them look into the camera, so it seems like you are looking to them when you are answering the question.

3. Don’t Fidget (I know it’s tempting)

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It may be taxing sitting in your chair for long periods of time whether it is listening to someone or becoming bored with the subject I beg of you not to start spinning in your chair or moving your body frantically. A shift in a chair is highly noticeable for someone watching and the movement of your arms rapidly can be picked up by the shift in your shoulders. Each of these actions prove to whoever is watching you that you become inpatient easily and may not be capable of the job ahead. The act of fidgeting also may lead you to seem more unprofessional and inappropriate to potential employers as they might suspect you have lost your focus and are not listening to what they are presenting you. In this case, just keep yourself engaged with thinking of potential responses or feedback you might give to the person on the other end.

4. Have All Content Pulled Up

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When joining in on a professional meeting it is always important to be prepared and have all necessary documents open and ready to view at a moments notice. For an interview it may be helpful to have your résumé, LinkedIn and any other professional document that you may discuss during your process. It may also be valuable to have done some research on the person that is interviewing you to gain a background on whom the person is and how best to communicate and connect with their background in the field.

The documents that you pull up should be important to the interview or professional event itself and should not be any other document or website that does not pertain to the overall communication. For example, having your sample work open on another screen would be helpful, but the tab on a YouTube video that you are interested in watching should not be queued on your screen.

5. Appropriate Environment

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To have a steady environment for your professional meeting is important as it can establish your ability to access a workspace and show importance to how you may be able to work if the office is closed. With certain mishaps due to the pandemic being able to work from home and without distractions is an important factor for many people hiring. This being said if you are able to find a location that has steady internet service that will not affect the video call or your access to your browser it is vital to your professionalism. Having a good environment allows employers to see you are trust-worthy and are able to complete tasks at any point due to access to working internet. It is also very important to find a location that holds no interruptions including roommates, Television or any loud pets. To have a silent work area allows for easier communication due to less background noise making it hard to hear the person on the opposite end of the call.

6. Communication After The Fact

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Although it may seem that your online interaction with the other person has been enough for you at the time, it is important that you continue the communication beyond the interview. The best way to do this is sometime after your interview, compile an email to send to them as a way of gratitude along with showing that their time is valuable to you. You may also want to link with your interviewer on LinkedIn as it allows you to stay connected with them even if you do not receive the desired job. The best part about LinkedIn is if you connect with them, it is only positive as you increase your connections and can bring positive impact as you may be able to communicate to them if another opening pops up.

Your communication to your audience is at an utmost importance especially as most of the business taking place at the moment is through an online medium. To learn more tips in the future or to hear about business and economy titles give a follow and I hope you enjoyed!

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Analyst and Undergraduate Student @University of South Carolina

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