Top 10 Tips to OWN Your Online Job Interview

The combination of a scarcity of jobs and the emergence of new technologies has made it more common than ever for job applicants to take part in online, or remote, interviews. Remote interviews provide a way for companies to screen potential employees and to save applicants time and money for travel, making them attractive choices for both parties.

New realities and benefits aside, that doesn’t make online job interviews any less intimidating. Whether it’s your first remote interview or your hundredth, here are some tips that can help make the process a less stressful, more successful experience no matter what kind of job you’re interviewing for…

Get the Right Equipment

If you’re going to be giving an interview over a teleconferencing site like Skype, then make sure you have equipment that is going to make it easy for interviewers to hear and see you. If you can’t afford to buy the right tech, see if you can borrow microphones or webcams from friends that will suit your needs for the interview.

Know How to Use Your Technology

Not only do you need to make sure that you have the right tools for the job, but you also need to know how to use them. Spend some time in the days prior to the interview learning how to use the tech you’ll need, both the hardware and the software. You’ll also want to make sure that you have a reliable Internet connection and that your devices are powerful enough to maintain a lengthy online interview. All of this testing will save you big headaches later on, so it’s worth the time and investment.

Give Your Profile a Makeover

You might usually use your Skype account for personal matters, but if you’re going to be using it in an interview then you need to make sure it’s professionally appropriate. If it’s not, give it a makeover or create a new account that’s purely for business use.

Look Your Best

Just because you’re not going into the office doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look businesslike and professional. When doing a remote interview, even from your own home after work hours, you still need to dress just as you would if you were interviewing in person.

Know Your Stuff

Before your interview, do a little research on the company and the person or people who will be interviewing you. Print out some of the information you find most interesting so that you’ll have it on hand to reference during the interview, and use it to generate some questions for your interviewers to answer about their company as well.

Find a Good Place to Talk

Prior to the day of the interview, scout good places in your home or nearby that will be quiet and that have good Internet connections. Finding a place where you can concentrate and won’t be disturbed is critical to ensuring that your interview goes smoothly, but you’ll also want to pay attention to the backdrop you’re creating. For example, a cluttered kitchen or a messy desk isn’t the image you really want to project to employers, so clean up the scenery before you start.

Have Everything You Need at Hand

You don’t want to have to rummage around or get up mid-interview to retrieve things that you need. Put everything you’ll need, from a glass of water to a copy of your rŽsumŽ, right on a table or other surface near you so you can grab it without hassle if necessary.


If you’ve never done a remote interview before (or even if you have), the experience can be a bit stressful. Yet that stress and anxiety isn’t going to help you interview well. Remind yourself to relax, slow down, and think about your answers and demeanor. If you’re the nervous type, put a sticky note on your laptop that reminds you to relax.

Pay Attention to Lighting

You want your interview space to be well lit so that your interviewer will be able to see your face and not just a grainy, blurry image of where it should be. Make sure that the lighting in your space is sufficient to give a clear image, but not so bright that it washes everything out.

Follow Up

Just like with a face-to-face interview, you’ll want to follow up with your interviewer 24 to 48 hours later. Send an email or give them a call to see how things went and figure out when your next interview will be, or when they’ll make a decision on the position.

The best tip for acing a remote interview? Treat it like any other interview. All the same rules apply to online and phone interviews as face-to-face interviews. Remember that and you’ve already set yourself up for success.





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MelissaAbout the Author: Melissa Venable, PhD is an Education Writer for Melissa’s background includes work in higher education – private, public, and for-profit – as an instructional designer and curriculum developer. Melissa is also an experienced instructor, academic advisor and career counselor. She is actively involved in research related to online education and the support of online students. Her work has been published in The Career Development Quarterly, TechTrends, the Journal of Computing in Higher Education. Follow Melissa on Twitter!



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