Top 5 tips for a successful online job interview

Top 5 tips for a successful online interview

As Zoom / MS Teams / Google Meets / all other forms of video interviews become increasingly common, we wanted to share our insights on how you can maximise your chances of success.

There’s undeniably many benefits to online interviews for both employers and candidates – including the opportunity to hold multiple interviews in a row with minimised cost, travel and disruption to your day.

But there can be some drawbacks too – it’s often more difficult to make a good impression or form a connection over a video call as there’s less opportunity for small talk or natural conversation. It’s also almost impossible to get a feel for the company culture.

For better or worse though, video interviews look as though they’re here to stay! Our Business Change & Transformation Recruitment Specialist, Sam McWilliam has compiled her top 5 tips to prepare for a successful online interview in the blog below.

1. Check your Wifi

Even if you’re at home and are confident in your Wifi, it’s a good idea to do a quick check of its signal before the call is meant to start. That way, if your Wifi is unexpectedly poor, you can set up a hot spot from your phone.

If you are in an area with poor signal and you cannot hotspot, for example if you’re abroad or travelling, try and find a quiet area with good signal strength, such as a hotel lobby or internet café.

2. Test the interview platform

Make sure you have the interview platform downloaded to your laptop. The last thing you want is to have to download or update a system 5 minutes before the interview starts!

It’s also worth doing a test run of the system. Just because you’re used to using MS Teams doesn’t necessarily mean that Zoom will come naturally to you! There’s loads of different systems out there so make sure you’re confident logging on.

It’s a good idea to check that your laptop’s camera and microphone are working. You may also want to change your view of the screen, as your own image can sometimes be distracting on a video call. You’ll want to focus on the interviewers, as you would in a real life situation, so minimise your reflection if possible (and preferred).

3. Prepare your surroundings

On a video call you’re in complete control of your physical setting – unlike in an in person interview – so make the most of it!

If you’re in a room that doesn’t give the best impression but you have no other option, do not worry! Most video platforms have different backgrounds which you can use to hide or mask your environment (the ‘blur background’ feature is a popular one on many systems).

If you aren’t using a filter, tidy the room and make sure there’s nothing inappropriate or distracting in the background. Find the best lighting and angle – ideally looking straight ahead and not down or up at the camera.

Also, if you live with other people make sure you let them know that you’re going on a call, so they know not to disturb you or make too much noise.

4. Dress to impress

Even though the interview will take place on video it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress the part! As a rule and if you know the office dress code, follow that.

Otherwise, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. Luckily on video call you can worry less about what you’re wearing on the bottom half as nobody will see it!

5. Do your research!

Also important for in person interviews, make sure you research the people conducting your interview. When an interview is on video, it can be easy to fall into a trap of being underprepared and over relaxed – but it is still an interview so do your homework!

By learning about who you’ll be speaking with you can be prepared for what to expect during the interview and can also think up some relevant questions for each person. You’ll also be able to frame your answers in a way that will appeal to each person in the room and their job function.

Another great thing about online interviews is that you can have your CV and some notes in front of you for reference, out of sight of the camera. Try to avoid reading off the page, or taking frequent glances, but having that information readily available can be a safety blanket if you’re feeling nervous.

Interviews often put people out of their comfort zone, but at Talent Locker we like to prepare our candidates as best we can ahead of time. As part of our process we offer a preparatory call to make sure candidates know what to expect and are confident moving forward in the process.

I hope you found these insights helpful – and if you’re looking for your next role in IT Business Change, please get in touch. I’m always open to a call.


Sam McWilliam, Business Change & Transformation Recruitment Specialist