Three Ways to Professionally Handle The Online Interview Process

In today’s technological culture, more and more of the professional world is transitioning online. In addition, with most places in some form of lockdown, many schools and jobs are switching their interview processes from in-person to online. Maybe your graduate school interview was just changed to online, or perhaps your job interview is via video chat. While in-person interviews can be daunting, online interviews present their own types of challenges (and benefits). These three ideas will help you to be confident and comfortable in your next online interview.

  1. Take your time in the meeting ​ . It can feel tempting to rush online meetings, since you’re not actually there in person. However, this is still the panel’s chance to get to know you as a person. With this in mind, take time to engage with your interviewers. Respond to their conversation, and feel free to take your time answering their questions fully. If you need to take a moment before responding, politely pause and think. Don’t feel pressure to hurry and speak as soon as the panel is finished asking their questions. Choose to speak thoughtfully, take your time, and fully engage. This will help your interviewers to get to know you as a full person better, and to feel more connected with you.
  2. Pick an optimal place ​ . One positive thing about online interviews is that you have control of the background and location. Choose wisely. As ​Indeed​ suggests, pick a distraction-free spot that is quiet and professional, signaling to your interviews that you take this interview (and future job or academic position) seriously. Additionally, you can practice for your interview in this place. Make sure that your background looks clean and works well with your camera angle, and get used to speaking in that space. This advantage will help you to feel comfortable and confident during the real interview.
  3. Persistently and politely follow through ​ . The interview process does not finish at the end of your interview. It can be easy to do an online interview, continue with the rest of your day, and let that interview slip to the back of your mind. However, be sure to follow up with your interviewers in order to stand out and show them you care. You should follow up with your interviewers (specifically with the person who told you they would contact you) at least a week after your interview, according to Interview Coach ​Margaret Buj’s article from LiveCareer​. ​ ​Buj also suggests sending a thank-you email “within two days of the interview.” This simple act shows the panel how much you care. As Buj explains, “Only one in 20 candidates send a thank-you note after an interview, so taking the time to write one is a great opportunity to leave a positive impression on the interviewers.” Choose to politely and consistently follow up, and you’ll create a positive impression by branding yourself as gracious and dedicated.

While online interviews might sound daunting, don’t be overwhelmed. By taking control of the meeting by taking your time, selecting a professional and basic background, and courteously following up with your interviewers, you will have the tools you need to leave a professional, personal, and powerful impression.

By Carissa Joy Burns

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