How to ace an online interview

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Michael Goldstein
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As a junior in college and a Pearson Campus Ambassador Regional Coordinator, I have conducted and been a part of many online interviews over Skype, Zoom, and other online video platforms. I have a lot of experience in this field and I believe that I can provide the necessary tips that will help you ace that online interview and land that internship or job position that you desperately need.

Dress for success

So you were able to secure an online interview for yourself and you’re kind of nervous because you don’t know how to prepare for it. The first thing you should know about online interviews is that you must dress in business professional clothing! The fact that the interview is online does not make it any less formal. You wouldn’t show up to a face-to-face interview in just a t-shirt or a polo so why would you in an online interview? I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen people dressed in casual clothing for these interviews. It shows a lack of professionalism and gives off a horrible first impression. People form first impressions during the first 3 seconds that they meet you. They will have better initial thoughts about you if you’re dressed in a suit as opposed to anything less than that. One thing you should know about the business world: you would always rather be overdressed than underdressed.

Use your notes

The second tip that I have is on a much smaller scale. Since this interview is online, you have the liberty of the interviewer not knowing everything in your surroundings. That means that you can get away with being able to have a notepad or a tab opened with notes or questions that you would like to ask. This is something that few people tend to do in face-to-face interviews which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. During a face-to-face interview, it is more impressive to come in and hit all the points you want to say without previously written notes. If you put your notes in the right spot and maintain the right eye contact, you can get away with it during an online interview.

Secure your space

My third tip seems simple, but is just as important. Make sure that you pick the perfect room. This “perfect room” consists of one with good Wi-Fi to avoid tech issues and a quiet one that doesn’t have white noise in the background like an air conditioner or noise from outside. If you have roommates or have anyone else in the house or apartment, make sure that they know you are being interviewed in this room and you shouldn’t be disturbed. Maybe even put up a sign on your door in case they forget or someone else doesn’t know. Remember that the room that you choose is an essential part in acing your online interview.

Include a point of interest

My last tip is more of a bonus tip. During my most recent online interview, my interviewer noticed that I had an Eric Clapton poster hung up on my wall in the background. I spoke to this interviewer for a total of 20 minutes, 15 of which was just about Eric Clapton, music and about guitar because it turned out that we both played guitar. In any interaction, it is always easier to speak to someone when you have something in common. That is why my bonus tip is to include something visible in the background you’re interested in, so if the interviewer recognizes it and mentions it, you are able to talk about that hobby or interest of yours and maybe you’ll realize that you have something in common with your interviewer. Oh, and one thing that I forgot to mention – that interviewer that noticed my Eric Clapton poster is now my boss.

Your first online interview can be scary if you don’t know what to expect. Follow the same rules that you would in a normal interview and keep these extra tips in mind to achieve online interviewing success.


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