Acing the Online Job Interview


Make sure your laptop is fully charged. Keep your cellphone by your side (on “do not disturb”) with the interviewer’s phone number handy in case you need a backup communication method. Close other apps on your computer so you are not distracted by pop-ups. Double-check what will be in sight, because video software programs differ in how they crop web camera views.

Practice Your Answers and Your Presence

Think ahead about common questions and how you will answer (without sounding too rehearsed). So-called behavioral questions are in vogue: asking for examples from your experience, like a time when you overcame an obstacle, led a team or creatively solved a problem. It’s important to answer concisely and listen closely, especially on a phone interview because you can’t see the interviewer’s responses and other visual cues, said Karen Amatangelo-Block, a talent acquisition executive at a global hotel company and a private coach. “You’ll definitely lose them after five to seven minutes.”

Practice your posture as well, Ms. Amatangelo-Block said, because it’s important to communicate that you are engaged in the video conversation and excited about the opportunity. A tip she learned from newscasters is to “sit on the edge of your seat,” which helps you to sit up straight. Pull your shoulders back to convey confidence, she said.

Even phone interviews should be conducted this way. “If you don’t think about your presence,” Ms. Ms. Amatangelo-Block said, “you’ll be more likely to start slouching, feel less engaged and be more likely to ramble.”

Set up a video call with a friend to check on setting, posture and to practice questions.

Convey Your Value

Think of the three things about yourself that you can bring to the job that are not on your résumé, Ms. Ransom said, and communicate those. “Maybe you are going for an engineering job but are also a great public speaker.” As an interviewer, Ms. Ransom said, she wants to know the candidate beyond the résumé page and understand “their motivations and communication style, their personality: How will they expand the company culture?”

Some of the qualities that companies have traditionally looked for — adaptability, flexibility, showing up as a self-starter and an independent worker — are more important than ever in a work-from-home world in which the boss isn’t around to see what you are doing, Mr. Kaplan said. One way to demonstrate those qualities in the interview is to talk about what you’ve done during the pandemic.



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