Online Interview Tips (With 7 Easy Steps for Success)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 2 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

As technology develops, it's becoming more convenient and cost-effective for employers to conduct job interviews online. Virtual interviews reduce transportation costs, speed up the interviewing process and allow hiring managers to interview non-local candidates. If you're searching for a job, companies might require you to take part in an online interview. In this article, we discuss what an online interview is and how to ace it, along with several online interview tips for success.

Related: How To Succeed in a Virtual Interview

What is an online interview?

An online interview is an interview conducted through an online chat video or audio platform. Employers can conduct online interviews using different methods. The most common type of online interview is a video call. When setting up a video call, the interviewer typically contacts you and asks if you have access to the necessary equipment.

Another method for online interviews involves you recording a video of yourself answering interview questions. To prepare for this type of interview, the interviewer sends you a list of questions and a deadline. You need to set up a camera and film yourself while you answer each question on the list. After you have finished, you upload the video and send it back to the interviewer.

How to prepare for an online interview

Follow these steps to prepare for your next online interview:

1. Learn the interview type

When an employer offers you an online interview, make sure you clearly understand the format of your meeting. While many online interviews take place over live video conferencing software, other employers may ask that you record your responses to pre-written interview questions that they plan to review at a later time. Along with learning the format, ask whether you're meeting with one interviewer or a panel of hiring staff. This can help you feel more prepared and comfortable with what to expect.

Related: Job Interview Tips: How To Make a Great Impression

2. Practice your responses

Knowing how to respond to common interview questions can help you become a more qualified candidate. Consider setting up a mock interview with a friend or family member to practise your responses and get feedback on how you can improve each one. When doing your mock interview, consider your answers to these common interview questions:

  • Why are you interested in this role?

  • What do you know about our company?

  • What are your greatest strengths?

  • What are your greatest weaknesses?

  • Why should we hire you?

  • What are your current career goals?

  • Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?

  • What value can you bring to our team?

  • How would your previous employer describe you?

  • What can you tell me about yourself?

When deciding how to answer these common interview questions, do some research on the company and the role you want. Consider what the employer is looking for in a candidate and how you can meet their requirements. While you want your answers to sound professional, think of ways you can be more personable and leave a lasting impression.

Related: Interview Question: “What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?”

3. Test the technology

Familiarise yourself with the necessary equipment and software. Before your interview appointment, schedule a test call with a friend or family member. Make sure that your microphone and speakers are working and that your Internet connection supports high-quality live video. Also, check and make sure you're using a professional screen name that's easy for the interviewer to recognise.

4. Plan questions to ask

Preparing your own questions to ask your interviewer shows that you have a strong interest in the role. Consider asking questions that you can't easily find the answer to online. Asking about the duties that come with the job or who you may work with are good starting points. Here are several other questions you can ask:

  • What is the company culture like here?

  • Who can I expect to report to in this role?

  • What is your favourite part of working here?

  • How can a new hire thrive in this company?

  • How does this company keep employees happy?

  • When can I expect to hear from you next?

5. Set up your space

When choosing where to have your online interview, find an area that is quiet and free of distractions. Consider a closed room that is well lit and tidy. Setting up your meeting space in front of a blank wall or tidy bookshelf can help you ensure your interview focuses on you rather than on your living space. Gather all the materials you might need for your interview, such as a notebook, pen and copy of your resume. Preparing your space can help you feel more relaxed and organised when it's finally time to meet.

6. Communicate with your household

If you live with others, make them aware of your meeting time. Kindly ask them to stay away from your meeting space and to be mindful of their volume levels. Let them know you're completely unavailable during your meeting time and that any questions or comments they have may have to wait. Right before your interview starts, give them a polite reminder so that they can go to a separate area of your living space.

7. Close all browsers

Closing all of your browsers on your computer can help video conferencing software run smoother and ensure your meeting space is free of distractions. During some interviews, a hiring manager may need you to share your screen, making it important that it's free from any images, tabs or videos.

Online interview tips

Here are several online interview tips that can help you succeed in your next interview:

Dress professionally

Even though you're not meeting your interviewer in person, it's still important to dress professionally. Wear something clean, modest and business casual. If you can, research the company's dress code in advance. Wear nice pants and shoes just in case you need to stand up or walk away from the camera. Your clothing can communicate your level of professionalism with the interviewer, so dress conscientiously.

Make eye contact

Even though you're communicating through a video camera, it's still important to make eye contact with your interviewer. When answering questions, focus your gaze directly into the webcam instead of on the interviewer's face or your own. Maintaining eye contact and nodding shows the interviewer that you're listening attentively.

Consider your body language

It can be more challenging to read body language through a video, so be especially aware of your nonverbal cues. Remember to smile and nod when the interviewer speaks. Sit up straight and act as you would during an in-person interview. Since you won't be able to shake hands when signing off, you need to show your professionalism and good manners in other ways. You might do this by keeping your body still, focusing on the camera and facing your entire body towards the screen.

Related: Body Language Tips for a Job Interview

Relax

Take a deep breath before the call and try to remain calm and collected during the interview. If you can communicate confidently with the interviewer, you're far more likely to leave a lasting positive impression than if you seem nervous. Remember, one of the best solutions for interview anxiety is practising your answers ahead of time. Likewise, taking a moment to close your eyes and centre your focus can help.

Be patient with technology

With an online interview, you may experience some technical challenges. Rather than letting them get in the way of a great interview, learn to be patient with these situations. The way you handle this kind of challenge can show the interviewer how well you can problem solve and work under stress. Be understanding if technology causes the interviewer to be late, while also being apologetic if the challenges come from your end of the interview.

Follow up after

After the interview, send a thank-you note to the interviewer. This can be a physical card or an email depending on the situation. Wait for a few days after the interview and if you haven't heard from the interviewer, connect with them again. Ask if the hiring process is still ongoing and find out if they need any more information from you. Remember to always thank the interviewer for their time, showing you're grateful for this opportunity.

Explore more articles