Set-up & Suit Up! Tips on Acing Your Online Job Interview

Online interview is now a normal thing – one of the side effects of COVID-19. But how is it different from a physical interview? And how can you be fully prepared for it?
Benny Razali
Writer, gradmalaysia

While an online job interview might sound more convenient than a traditional one as it is done in the comfort of your own house, it is still a formal, in-person meeting. Recognising the crucial factors that will help your session to run without a hiccup will contribute to your good performance in it.

Good Lighting Matters

Natural lighting seeping through your windows gives the best, most accurate colours of your surroundings. If you don’t have good natural lighting, then the position of your light matters. Make sure the light shines on your face as it highlights your eyes and facial features. Avoid lighting from the sides or behind as it will cause glares and makes it hard for the interviewer to see you and vice versa!

Test-Run To Keep Your Machines Running

Make sure to do a test run with your gadgets at least a day before the interview. Test the application you will be using for the session, whether it is Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, etc. Do a mock session with your friends and see if your internet connection is strong enough to handle the real deal later. You can also reach out to the interviewer beforehand and ask them these questions:

  • Will it be both audio and video?
  • Are the questions pre-recorded or asked in person during the session?
  • Who can you reach if there are any technical difficulties?

Real-life VS Virtual Backgrounds

Most video conferencing apps allow you to put up a virtual background, but try to avoid using them during a first-time meeting with the interviewers. Especially if you’re thinking of using some cute, artsy images for it.

Remove any clutter, and avoid sitting in front of a toilet or bed. Books and tactful home décor in the background can help you to look cultured, but if you can’t set these up, just go with a blank wall as it also helps to focus on you. If nothing works, there’s always the option to blur out your background in most apps as well.

Lock Up Your Distractions Somewhere Safe

Pets, children, family members, phones and other things that might be distracting should be kept away from your surroundings during the session. You don’t want to come off as a rude candidate for failing to manage any of these distractions.

Let your family members or housemates know about the interview, and ask for their cooperation just for the day.

Dress For The Job You Want

It is only common sense to dress up like you’re going to a face-to-face interview even though it’s only you sitting in your room, talking to a camera. Just because an online interview feels casual, doesn’t mean you should treat it casually. Get out of that pyjamas and suit up, buddy!