Phew, it’s just an online interview. That’s way easier than an in-person interview, right?
Contrary to popular belief, online interviews can be much more difficult than in-person interviews. Sure, you COULD take an online interview in your living room in your PJs. But doesn’t mean you SHOULD.
The stakes for online interviews are just as high as in-person ones, and the virtual format comes with a host of unique challenges.
So don’t make the mistake of underestimating your next online interview.
In today’s lesson, we’re going to take a look at some of the challenges of online interviews and how we can address them.
And for those of you who are deeply invested in supercharging your online interview skills, we have a special treat for you at the end of this lesson, so stick with us!
Okay, so let’s first talk about what makes online interviews tricky.
I bet you can guess the first reason… It’s kinda obvious. Ready for it?
There’s a screen between you and the interviewer!
The presence of that screen makes a HUGE difference.
We talk a lot about the shortcomings of virtual communications. Because of that pesky screen, all of these shortcomings apply in online interviews.
For example, remember Professor Mehrabian? He discovered that only 7% of our communication is conveyed with our words. The remaining 93% is conveyed in our body language and tone of voice.
So with online interviews, we’ve lost 93% of our communicative power, right off the bat.
Okay, well now you’re probably thinking: “Umm, but MD, there’s video and sound in an online interview. So what’s the problem?”
Well unless you and the interviewer are projecting life-size holograms into each other’s locations, there’s a huge difference between digital body language and real-life body language.
On a screen, the picture is effectively two-dimensional, and it’s a heck of a lot smaller than a life-size person. And unless you’re rocking a gigabit internet connection, chances are the image is pixelated and your voice cuts in and out.
Good luck trying to detect micro-expressions and subtle shifts in body language.
Also, how are your laptop speakers? Or built-in mic, for that matter? For most of us, the audio experience is heavily handicapped.
All of these little issues add up to a big problem when it comes to communicating with clarity during the interview.
So what’s a poor online interviewer to do?
For starters, we need to make our words count. Even with the addition of video, our words and tone of voice are still our best tool for conveying our meaning. And since those communicative devices need to compensate for a lack of body language, we need to be unusually thoughtful about how we articulate our thoughts.
The best way to be thoughtful is to take your time when you respond. Don’t rush into an answer. Pause and consider what you are going to say before you say it.
Strategic preparation ahead of the interview also goes a long way toward articulating your thoughts with clarity and precision.
Do your homework on the company and your interviewer. Try to anticipate ahead of time what types of questions you’ll be asked. This way, you’ll have a general sense of how you’d like to answer.
You can also stack the odds in your favor by developing a personal connection with the interviewer during your interview. People who feel a personal connection to you are far more likely to evaluate you favorably.
Make sure you are conveying your authentic self through candidness and humility. Use descriptive language to show, rather than tell, your capabilities.
There are also a number of important technical steps you can take to improve the clarity of your communication during an online interview.
Test and optimize your internet connection ahead of the call. Among other things, you may want to ask any other housemates who share your internet connection to go on airplane mode during your call.
You should also get your hands on a decent mic and headphones to ensure you can speak, and hear, clearly. You’d be amazed at how much better a $50 mic is compared to your laptop speakers.
And of course, don’t forget to adjust your lighting so that the interviewer can see you clearly. Make sure your face isn’t shrouded in shadow or underexposed due to a bright window behind you.
Finally, don’t make the rookie mistake of looking away from the camera. Instead, speak and listen with your eyes glued to the camera lens so that you appear to be engaging directly with your interviewer.
Phew, okay, I’ll stop there.
As you can see, I have a lot to say on this topic. Way more than I can fit in a YouTube video.
If you’re looking for a much more detailed walk-through of the steps you need to take to ace an online video interview, check out the link in the description box below.
This course draws from Greg and my combined experience navigating highly selective recruiting processes, on both sides of the table. We get deep into the head of the interviewer to understand what they are looking for in candidates.
It’s packed with original insights and powerful, actionable strategies to equip you for success.
Again, if you’re interested, check out this link.
So now that I've shared our thoughts, I would love to hear about your experiences with online interviews. What challenges have you encountered so far? What strategies have helped you overcome those challenges? Share that with me and the Explearning community in the comments below.
And, if you loved this lesson, please be sure to let me know. You can give this video a thumb’s up on YouTube and if you haven’t done so already subscribe to join our tribe of Explearners, so you never miss a lesson. If you ring that bell, you’ll get notified about new lessons and our weekly live streams.
Email this post to a friend or coworker who also wants to supercharge their social skills.
While we’re at it, feel free to also share it with your Facebook and Twitter friends as well!
And remember, the writeup of these lessons are always available here on our blog at explearning.co/blog.
With that, have an awesome week, Explearners.
Thank you so much for joining me and I’ll see you next time for your next Explearning lesson.
Happy Explearning ⚡