These 7 Tips Can Save Your Online Interview (part I)

Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

During this Corona time, most of the interviews are done using videoconference. After interviewing more than a hundred people using Zoom (we’re continuing to grow fast at Next Insurance), I thought I would share some tips on how to make your interviews more successful.

Tip #1 — Stay Connected

Having a weak internet connection or a low Wi-Fi reception is more common than you think. You definitely don’t want to miss the interview because you have to repeat every sentence twice. So, when you start interviewing make sure your internet connection is the best you can afford. To prevent Wi-Fi issues, connect your computer to the router via an ethernet cable. If you know that your connection is not super, connect to the meeting via your phone. Even though we are in 2020, phones have better voice quality and are less prone to disconnect. You should still connect to the video conference so you will be seen (there is nothing like eye contact, even over video). Having the audio over the phone is another guarantee that even if the internet connection fails, you will still be heard.

Tip #2 — Quiet Please! 🔕

To make sure you’re being heard, try to find a quiet place to make the call. Seems obvious, but it is not uncommon to hear a lot of background noise during interviews. Be it the gardener next door that is mowing the grass, or your kids asking for their teacher’s attention on their own zoom sessions in the next room. But what can you do?

  • Find a quiet room. Or, as reader Boris Levin suggested, use headphones. You don’t have to have the latest AirPods Pro. Any decent old school wired ones with a mic will do great. The important thing is to do whatever you can that will help you concentrate better, and to be heard well. 🎧 🎤
  • Schedule the right time — If needed, schedule the interview to hours that are quieter at home. If there are times that the kids are at school or can be taken care of by your partner or babysitter, that would be better than the busy hours at home.
  • Use a noise cancellation solution. I like which is doing it very nicely. It is free for up to 120 minutes a week. Use this link to get 1 month of an unlimited mic and speaker noise cancellation.
  • If eventually, the kids do come into the room during the interview, use this to your advantage. Be empathetic and show that you can actually work with them at home. As it seems right now, working from home is here to stay. If you haven’t seen this yet, it is time to watch the hilarious reporter on the BBC.

Tip #3 — Try not to dance 🕺

It is not uncommon to see people that use their phone or computer camera and keep moving it. If you can’t hold your phone on a stand, don’t use it for video. If the only place to put your computer is in your lap, you’re probably not ready to be working from home. So free some table space before starting the interview, and make sure your video movement doesn’t make the interviewer sea-sick.

Tip #4 — Keep it tidy 🖥

Before the meeting, take a look at your background. If you’re not using a virtual background, make sure the things behind you don’t distract the attention too much. If you do use a virtual background, which I recommend, make sure the background doesn’t attract all the attention. Using a crazy video as the background can be fun for a virtual party, but don’t use it for your interview. You can even try a logo/motto as your background. This can be a cool ice breaker that will enable you to talk about what you care about.

I tried to keep it short and handy. Read the next post, to learn 3 more practices on how to make the interview itself more productive.

As always, please use the comments and share them from your experience. Do you have some stories about the interviews you attended? Any tips to share with fellow readers?

Software Executive and Entrepreneur in heart. Avid bike rider (MTB/XC/Road)