So you’ve scored an interview. Congratulations! Now it’s time to prepare for it. As more companies are opting to conduct job interviews and screening online, it is crucial for you to familiarise yourself with these interview formats. Here are some tips to help you stand out in your next virtual interview.
Know the different formats of interview
The two most common formats of online interview are synchronous and asynchronous online interviews.
Synchronous Interviews are online interviews where you interact with the interviewer live in a video call.
Asynchronous interviews are online interviews where you do not interact with the interviewer live, but prepare your answers in advance. For example, the interviewer may request you to send a short video to share more about yourself. Some companies may use A.I. such as HireVue to pre-screen candidates. Such A.I. identify data points on your face to assess your interview performance.
If you're unsure whether to bring Comedy Central to the company however (interviews are no laughing matter after all), modesty is the best policy.
Know Your Webcam
Your interviewer will only see what your webcam is capturing, so it is important to create a set-up that is professional for the interview. Think of yourself as a one-man film maker. You run the creation of the interview production set, you produce and you direct yourself during the interview.
We have 3 simple guidelines for you to create a professional scene for your interview. Just remember: Lights, Camera, Action!
Your face should be well-lit for the interview. Interviewers want to see your face lit up to read your facial expressions. A.I. interview screeners will usually draw data points from your face to assess your interview performance. If your face is not well-lit, then interviewers cannot assess your properly, so it is important to brighten up your face.
Try turning on your room lights and placing a light stand in front of your face.
Remove Potential Distractions
Anything that is captured on the webcam is what your interviewers will see, so make sure your interview setting is not distracting or unprofessional. Remove any possible distractions that may hinder the interview, including your cap collection or wall of Billie Eilish posters. If you are in a common room, you can set a neutral virtual background to hide everything behind you, and give your housemates a heads-up so that they will minimize their movements at home during the interview.
During synchronous interviews, you should also minimize the impact of distractions that cannot be eliminated, such as using the mute button if your mum barges in. Be prepared to elaborate how you can manage these distractions if the internship is a work from home arrangement as well, as some employers may be concerned if you can be productive with these distractions at home.
The dress-code for online interviews is generally similar to advice given for traditional interviews, though there are a couple of additional points to take note when dressing for the webcam.
First, try to avoid striped shirts or repeated patterns as much as possible, as your webcam may produce a moire effect on the shirt which may can be distracting for the interviewers.
Second, try to avoid black and white solid colours if possible, as they may adjust your webcam's exposure settings which may make you look too light or too dark for the webcam.
And finally, please dress the lower half of the body even though the webcam may only capture the top half. You will never know how something might cause you to expose it. Some companies may even ask you to stand up to show your bottom half, so don’t play play!
The general advice for face and body language in traditional interviews can mostly be applied to virtual interviews. However, maintaining eye contact is done differently on virtual interviews. In real life, we will usually look at our interviewer's face when we want to maintain eye contact. However, in this case, maintaining eye contact virtually is not done by looking at the interviewer's face that is being displayed on your computer screen, but rather by looking at the webcam lens. While it may seem awkward at first, you should be able to do it naturally after a few practices to maintain the illusion of eye contact to show that you are engaged in the interview.
Know Your Audio
If the webcam is king, your audio is queen. You should also minimize any audio distractions. Inform your housemates in advance so that they would not be calling each other from across the house while you are explaining why you want the job.
Besides checking whether you are audible, you should also note your vocal intonations. You want to make sure you sound vibrant during the interview to express interest about the internship. So here are a few ways to get you in the mood to talk!
1. Warm up your vocal chords to brighten your voice. Your vocal chords are muscles, and if you have not spoken for a while, you should loosen them. You can do a simple warm-up practice, or sing a song you love. You don't have to sound like the next Whitney Houston, just have fun and go with the flow!
2. Do power poses! Your voice is a reflection of your mood, so elevating your mood helps brighten up your voice. Power posing is to enact a pose that is associated with confidence and power, so that you mentally associate with the traits of the pose as well.
3. Smile in front of the mirror! A simple smile may be all it takes to do the trick. Smiling helps elevate your mood and makes you less tense.
Off-Screen, Anything Goes
Your interviewer will only see what is captured on the webcam, so use this knowledge to your advantage. You can use a sticky note function and write some important key points to highlight during the interview. You can also use a whiteboard or a pinboard if you have them behind your computer. Just make sure not to stare at the points for too long, and write them big!
Practice With Us!
If you need to practice your interview skills, we are here to help! Our flagship Resume and Interview Course equips you with both resume and interview skills to help you ace that dream internship. We also have an Interview Preparation Package should you be looking for professional and personalized feedback on your interview performance.
All the best for your interview, and may the odds be in your favour!