It’s easy to make mistakes at online job interviews. If you are applying for a teaching job in Qatar, you will be conducting an online interview. To help you avoid common pitfalls, here are some tips for getting the upper hand during your next virtual interview.
You’ve got the job interview, and now it’s time to impress the interviewer. The problem is that you’re not at a school—you’re sitting in front of your computer with a camera on. What do you do? How do you look professional when there’s no one watching over your shoulder? It’s easy! Just follow these simple steps for effective online job interview prep:
Prepare your space.
It’s important to have a clean and clutter-free space before you start the interview. Ideally, the room should be silent with no distractions (and no pets). Make sure you have plenty of light and that your audio works properly.
Do a test run.
When you’re on the interview, make sure you’re ready to give your best self. Make sure everything is in place: your internet connection is stable and clear, your camera/microphone is working (and turned on), and there are no distracting objects or people around you.
You should also test out different lighting settings—you don’t want to be blinded by a bright light while answering questions!
Take a look at yourself in the camera.
- Look at the camera. You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s worth repeating: make sure you look at the camera for at least 30 seconds. It’s important to be conscious of your body language and facial expressions during an interview, so try to make eye contact with the interviewer. If you’re having trouble doing this, take a moment before filming (or ask someone else) to check that your face is in focus.
- Use a laptop with a built-in webcam if possible. On laptops without built-in webcams, it’s common for there not to be any way for users to adjust or change their camera settings—which means that no matter how much effort you put into adjusting your lighting or trying different angles, sometimes things won’t work out well enough for hiring managers to see what they need from their side of things!
Make eye contact with the lens.
When you’re interviewing, the very first thing you should do is look at the camera, not the screen. This is because it’s easier to find your mark on a large display than it is on a small one. This means that if you’re looking at the monitor, people watching in other rooms can’t see your eyes or face as they would on a TV or computer screen—and this makes it harder for them to feel connected with what you’re saying.
Try practicing in front of a mirror to get comfortable with looking straight into an eye rather than staring at an LCD display; having done that, make sure during your interview that when someone asks something like “What do you think about…” or “Why did such-and-such happen?” (or anything else where there’s no obvious answer), don’t look away from their face until they finish speaking!
Look up and around, not down.
While you’re waiting for your interviewer to come on, take a few moments to look around and get comfortable. The more natural and relaxed you look, the better!
Before you start answering questions, don’t forget that there’s a camera pointed at you. Avoid looking down at your screen during the interview—it can make it seem like you’re not paying attention or that there’s something important on your screen (like an email from your mom). Instead of being glued to what’s on the screen, try looking up every few seconds. This will make it look like someone is sitting across from them instead of someone who is just staring at their computer screen all day long!
When it comes time for questions and answers, keep eye contact with whoever is asking them as much as possible while they’re speaking; if they ask something particularly interesting or thought-provoking then feel free to use eye contact even after they stop talking because this indicates interest in what their saying which can help build rapport between both parties involved in conversation!
Close other apps and tabs.
- Close other tabs. Make sure you’re focused on the interview and can give it your full attention.
- Close all other apps. You don’t know what could have been left open that could distract you, so better to err on the side of caution and close everything else before starting your interview.
Make sure your email notifications are off.
- Make sure your email notifications are off.
- Turn off notifications on your phone.
- Turn off notifications on your laptop, if you have to.
Be careful with your background.
There are many subliminal messages that employers receive from your background. If you’re using a white or light color as your background, make sure it’s not too bright. A white background with squiggly lines or shadows can be distracting to the interviewer and cause them to focus on this instead of what you’re saying. In addition, avoid using any other busy patterns in the background such as flowers or geometric shapes; doing so will distract the interviewer from what you are saying by drawing their eye away from where they should be looking (i.e., into your eyes). Although there may be exceptions, such as if you have some sort of artistic flair that requires a certain type of patterned background (such as watercolors), it’s usually best just to keep things simple and clean so that nothing gets in the way of making sure people remember how good at interviewing you really were!
Don’t forget to smile!
Smiling is the most natural way to show you are happy and comfortable. It can help you relax and feel more confident, make you look more attractive, and make you appear more approachable.
So, now you’re ready to go! Remember that preparation is key in any interview, but even more so when the interviewer is thousands of miles away. Make sure your computer is set up and ready to go, pick out some professional clothing that matches the company’s culture, think about what questions they might ask you and how you’ll answer them (and if there are any topics you don’t want brought up during the interview). Most importantly: have fun! You’re about to chat with someone who could potentially become an important part of your life.