Welcome back to lockdown, albeit this time with the difference that we can (hopefully) see an end to our enforced silos, thanks to the (hopefully again) rapid acceleration of the vaccination programme.  I’m conscious that hope is needed with respect to Covid, but when it comes to online interviews, which are now mainstream and will continue to be so once we’re through the pandemic, you need more than hope if you are going to succeed in your quest for a new job.

Now I know that you may have seen similar advice in the past, but the fact is that most people only think about interviews when they come onto the job market and, consequently, have ignored all this sort of article, often finding out when it’s too late that they have made a mess of what is (for them) a new experience compared to the old-fashioned face-to-face interview.  So for these people, and for all those who are “just thinking” about a move onwards and upwards in 2021, here are the key things you need to do in a Zoom-style online job interview, or indeed a video recording you are appending to your online application.  Over the next few days/weeks, I’ll flesh these out in individual blogs.

  1. As with all interviews, preparation is key. However, in addition to the things you do for a traditional, face-to-face interview (learn about the company, those who will interview you, the role, etc.) there is more to do for an online assessment.
  2. Master the technology: bearing in mind that not everyone uses Zoom (other software, as they say, is available). Having no technical glitches conveys professionalism and you will be better placed than those who have embarrassing pauses and whirling screens while their system re-buffers.
  3. Do a run-through with a friend if possible, partly to check the tech and partly to give you more confidence when you actually sit in front of the interviewing panel. Make sure that you start well: exude confidence (see below) but don’t come across as cocky.
  4. Anything that distracts your interviewer is not good. Please don’t let us hear your mobile going off in the middle of your explanation as to how you are going to transform the HR team.  Mute it, or better still, switch it off!
  5. Dress appropriately.
  6. Look your interviewer(s) in the eye.
  7. Where appropriate (it invariably is), have one or more good questions. Aim for something that shows the interviewing panel that you really have done your homework and that you understand and have thought deeply about the job.
  8. And finally, as above, exude confidence. You can’t shake hands (you wouldn’t want to nowadays!) but when the interview comes to an end, thank the interviewer(s) and bow out gracefully. Leave the online session as you entered it: confident, friendly and professional.

Remember, the interviewer wants you to succeed.  I’ve done hundreds of interviews over my career as a recruiter and there is no doubt that interviewees who start well, come across as friendly, engaging and professional and demonstrate clearly they have done their homework are more likely to succeed. In each recruitment competition, RGU is looking for a number of high quality people to make up a high quality short-list. Why should that not include you?

Julie Skinner, Benefits and Resourcing Specialist, RGU