The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted a lot of things, including face to face interviews. It has forced many employers to think outside of the box when it comes to hiring new talent, including conducting job interviews online.
As social distancing guidelines ease, many companies are continuing to rely on virtual interviews as they reduce transportation costs, speed up the interviewing process, and allow hiring managers to interview non-local candidates. If you are searching for an engineering job, it’s likely you will be asked to participate in an online interview. In this post, we discuss what an online job interview is and how to smash one out of the park!
What is an Online interview?
An online interview is an interview that takes place through an online video or audio platform. It will either be live or pre-recorded.
Types of online interviews
There are a few different methods that employers will use as part of their online interviewing process. Before your interview, the HR manager or interviewer should inform you of the platform that will be used, and whether or not you will be expected to use audio, video, or both.
Similar to a regular face to face interview, a video interview is an online interview where you speak to the interviewer (or panel of interviewers) in real-time over a video connection such as Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts.
During a video interview, the hiring manager will be able to converse with you like they would during an in-person interview. Video interviews should be treated as regular interviews – try and build a rapport and remain professional throughout.
Recorded video interviews are much less personal than a regular video interview as you won’t be speaking to the hiring manager. Instead, this method involves you setting up a camera and pre-recording a video of yourself answering a set of questions. Once you have finished, you need to upload the video and send it back to the interviewer.
This type of video job interview allows you to prepare your answers in advance, however, it can also be difficult if you are not used to talking into the camera.
Tips to help with your online interview
Preparation is key for an interview, but especially with online interviews. Follow these tips to prepare for your engineering interview.
Test the technology
A few days before your interview, you should make sure that your device, camera, and audio are all working on the video conferencing app you have been asked to use. Make sure that the picture is clear and that the sound quality is good. You should also check your internet connection too. Consider pencilling in a test run with a family member to iron out any difficulties before the day.
On the day of the remote interview, ensure everything is working again and that your laptop or device has plenty of battery, or are plugged in. The last thing you want is to be halfway through an interview and for the battery on your device to run out.
Once you are confident with your equipment and have tested the video calling program you should then practice your interviewing technique. Have your CV to hand and ask a family member to ask you questions over a video call so you can understand what it will be like on the day.
Choose your interview location
Plan in advance where you are going to do the video interview. You should opt for a quiet location, where there will be no noises or people to disturb you. Make sure that the room is tidy, and use a neutral background. Another thing you need to consider is the lighting – it won’t be a great interview if the interviewer can’t see you so place yourself near a window for natural light or a lamp to get the best results.
Even though you won’t be attending a traditional interview in person, it is still important that you dress professionally. Although every engineering environment is different, we suggest wearing something smart-casual – a shirt and chinos for men and for women a blouse with chinos or a dress is perfect.
Consider your body language
It is much harder to read body language through a computer screen, so be especially aware of this. Remember to maintain a good posture, keep eye contact when answering questions, use your hands, nod and smile when the interviewer is talking.
Being aware of your body language behind the computer screen can make all the difference between presenting yourself as a confident or nervous candidate so really take the time to be conscious of this.
The interviewer has requested to see you because you fit the criteria that were advertised on the job description, so you want to ensure you are still showing them that you are the right person for the role by being prepared.
Preparing questions to some common interview questions they may ask you as well as preparing questions of your own about the organisation and/or role to show the interviewer that you are prepared and enthusiastic and will give them an insight into how you will fit in with the team.
Make eye contact
This is one of the most difficult parts of a video call. When answering questions, try to focus your attention directly on the webcam instead of looking at the interviewer’s face or your own. Maintaining eye contact and responding to what the interviewer says will show that you are engaged and listening carefully.
Have a contingency plan
Even the most reliable technology can malfunction at inconvenient times, so it’s important you have a contingency plan in place should anything happen.
Something simple as transferring to a phone call, or re-scheduling the interview time for another day are all possible solutions for technical difficulties.
It might be easier said than done, but the ability to relax during an online interview is incredibly important if you want to make a good impression and succeed.
Arrive early to the call and try to remain calm throughout. If you start to feel overwhelmed at any point, take a moment to pause and take a deep breath. As long as you can confidently talk about your engineering experience and walk the interviewer through your CV, you will leave a lasting impression on them.
Follow up after
A few days after the interview, we recommend sending a thank you note to the interviewer for their time. This can be done by e-mail, LinkedIn, or even a phone call depending on how you have been communicating with them.
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