How I prepare for online interviews: The basics (Part One) – OurWarwick
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How I prepare for online interviews: The basics (Part One)

Coronavirus lockdowns may be a thing of the past (we hope), but as everyone is aware, certain habits that we started in 2020 have remained: YouTube fitness classes, making your own bread (banana-flavoured and beyond) and the increasing use of technology for job interviews. Some people prefer online interviews, some people hate them, and up till recently, I definitely used to be one of the latter! However, the more of them that I’ve done, the more I’ve started to find them less stressful, and so I thought I would share my top tips for how to prepare!

The basics:

  1. Check you understand the technology: This may seem simple enough (and is possibly quite simple to most people who are naturally good with technology), but make sure you know the ins and outs of the platform you’re going to be doing the interview on! I.e: Do you know how to blur your background? Do you know what your Skype name is if asked to provide it? Do you know how to find and join a scheduled call from your Teams calendar? If this all sounds incredibly basic to you, it is still worth doing a test call to make sure the audio and video settings are working properly. Last minute panic can be avoided by taking a few minutes the day before the interview to make sure you know exactly what’s going on, and if you’re already in a stressed state of mind before the interview, you don’t want to have anything else to worry about!
  2. Check the Wi-Fi is working: Speaking of last minute panicking…I will never quite forget how fast my heart was beating as I tried to join a Teams job interview while on holiday last summer through my iPad, and discovered the dodgy hotel Wi-Fi was not working. After trying the age-old parental solution of switching it off and on multiple times, I ended up panicking and joining from my phone (as I luckily had the Teams App) a few minutes late…and unfortunately used a hefty amount of mobile data (sorry, Dad). While there is not much you can do to solve a temporarily unresponsive Wi-Fi, knowing in advance of this issue means you can change rooms/join on a mobile device, and avoid getting flustered!
  3. Set up the area: It’s always a good idea to have a printed/digital copy of your CV to hand, and your cover letter if you’ve had to submit one. This is just in case you are asked a specific question about a bullet point from years ago on your CV that you’ve now completely forgotten was on there. Ahem. The most important thing to have to hand however (and what is the biggest advantage of online interviews) is to have what I like to call your *magic sheet* which has all the preparation you need for your interview: I’ll go into detail onto how to prepare one in the next blog…
  4. Switch off distractions/ tell other inhabitants to stop causing distractions: We’ve all had that one awkward moment in a lockdown Teams lesson when a family member/pet has burst in to interrupt your lesson for some trivial reason while your video and or microphone was on, much to the delight of your other classmates. (No? Well then, I envy you). Putting aside the effect of this mortifying incident throwing you off, it also seems unprofessional to employers, so make sure you’re doing the interview in a quiet space (with a blank background or else blur it) where you won’t be disturbed! Also, make sure your phone is on silent, to avoid notifications blaring out. 
  5. Practise speaking to the mirror / your phone’s camera: There is something about glimpsing sight of yourself in the small camera in the corner of the screen that has a tendency to throw yourself of course as you tend to focus on your appearance rather than the question you’ve just been asked. Other than simply trying to not look in that corner, a better way to avoid this pitfall is to just to practise talking to yourself in the mirror or camera. Any budding influencers out there should already have plenty of experience with this.

And that’s it for the basics! Thanks for reading Part One- the next blog is going to focus more on the nitty gritty of what content actually to prepare for online (or in-person) job interviews- so stay tuned! 

Priya x

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