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Preparing for an online interview – tips for candidates Image

Preparing for an online interview – tips for candidates

Posted: 6 May 2020

Preparing for an online interview – tips for candidates

Good preparation and practising how to look professional when using video conferencing apps can help you succeed in an online interview.

Demand for IT workers remains strong despite the Covid-19 pandemic, however social distancing has forced many employers to conduct interviews online. Here are some tips to help you prepare for an online interview.

How to prepare for your interview

As for any other interview, preparation for an online interview is vital. Make sure that you read the job specification carefully and understand what the advertised role involves. Study your CV and try to anticipate questions you may be asked about your background and experience.

Research the company focusing in particular on learning how the business works. Read up on the trends that are affecting the industry and remember to prepare answers for commonly-asked questions such as:

  • What do you know about our business?
  • What impressions have you formed of our industry?
  • What attracts you to this role?
  • How did you prepare for this interview?

Many interviews for IT roles include competency-based questions. These are probing questions where you are asked to refer to examples from your past experience. You might be asked to talk about a time when you had to deal with a particular problem, or to describe a situation where your skills contributed to the outcome of a team task, or to give an example of a time when you had to work to a tight deadline or manage multiple projects, explaining how you prioritised and managed your time. You can read more about competency based interviews elsewhere on our website.

Another line of questioning that is common in interviews for IT roles relates to how you keep up with technology developments. Being able to demonstrate commitment to lifelong learning comes across well so it is worth thinking about this in advance and having some examples that you can call on if needed. Courses you may have undertaken and certifications that you have achieved are particularly relevant for this type of question.

Often, at the end of an interview, you will be asked if you have any questions you would like to ask the panel. This is sometimes a danger point for candidates. Asking about salary, benefits or conditions of employment can make it look like you are more interested in the perks than in the job itself. You don’t want to leave a bad impression. This article shares some tips on how to avoid sabotaging your job interview.

Setting up your environment

For an online interview, it is important to set up and test your environment in advance. Make sure you know what technology will be used and familiarise yourself with how it works. Whether it’s Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp or some other app, practice in advance, paying attention to how you look onscreen and what is visible in the background of the space where you intend to be when the interview takes place is vital.

If possible, use your laptop rather than your phone as this will give you a better view of the interview panel’s reaction to your answers.  Make sure that you have a good Internet connection. If you have to use your phone for the interview, make sure you have a strong signal.

Dressing appropriately and paying attention to your body language are also important for an online interview. When testing your environment and technology set-up and checking how you look onscreen, practice looking composed. This will help you to remain calm. Maintain eye contact with the camera and, above all, avoid fidgeting! An interviewer will be able to see if you are not listening or if you allow yourself to be distracted by notifications on your screen or social media.

Second interviews

Keep a note of the questions you are asked as you may need to refer back to your notes if you are called for a second interview. If you are applying for a senior role, it is fairly common to be asked to deliver a presentation at a second interview. Elsewhere on our website, you will find some advice on how to prepare for an interview presentation. Thorough preparation, plenty of practice and confident, clear delivery are essential.

Keep in touch with your recruiter

Eolas Recruitment’s services include helping you identify your strengths, prepare your CV and present yourself in the best possible light to potential employers. For more information, check out our informational videos and online reviews or contact a member of our team who will be able to provide useful information and tips for your interview. We can also give you feedback on your interview performance which can be very valuable for future interviews.

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