Online job interview tips
Job interviews are a rite of passage pretty much everyone has to go through. No matter your experience, the one person you have to impress is your interviewer, and first impressions can make or break that.
These days, interviews tend to take place over online platforms like Google Hangouts and Zoom – especially now that plenty of companies have work-from-home arrangements. Still, that doesn’t mean we can afford to slack off in terms of grooming and preparation, so check out these handy tips before rocking up to your next online interview.
Read till the end to find out more about how Colgate can help you make a good impression during your interviews.
1. Invest in a good camera set up
A clear backdrop and good lighting creates a better visual for online interviews
Image credit: Farzana Fattah
With video interviews, the first and most important thing is, of course, to ensure that the interviewer can see you clearly. And what can help with that is a good webcam, complete with adequate lighting and a clean background.
Here’s how to get started:
- Invest in a standalone webcam and sit facing your light source. Backlighting will make you appear as a shadow and possibly be glaring to your interviewers.
- Declutter your backdrop and position your camera an arm’s length from you. This is to avoid unflattering angles and clutter behind you, which can take the attention away from you.
These simple steps will work in your favour to appear professional – and visible – during online interviews.
2. Smile with confidence and convey positivity
Unlike physical interviews, online ones make it a little harder for interviewers to read your body language as they’re mostly limited to your above-shoulder area.
One sure-fire way to convey positivity through the screen is to smile. HR personnel have stated that smiling immediately makes you a more likable candidate. Research also says that you only have 7 seconds to form an impression, so flashing a smile as soon as the interview starts is a must-do.
To get whiter-looking teeth ASAP, invest in whitening toothpastes like the Colgate Optic White
Pro tip: Do some essential prep before your interview. Start using a good whitening toothpaste at least 1 week beforehand to avoid showing up with confidence-dampeners like stained teeth.
3. Dress up formally even if you’re at home
For online interviews, formal clothes are still the way to go, so be sure to dress up both your bottom and top halves. Colour-wise, “safe” ones for real-life interviews like black and white might wash you out on video, so, opt for gray or navy – or even rich colours like burgundy or emerald green to show some personality.
Pro tip: Avoid patterns or stripes on your outfits – some video conferencing software can create optical illusions like a moire pattern on videos that is distracting.
From left to right: a full-Windsor (formal), half-Windsor (semi-formal), and four-in-hand knot (casual)
Image credit: @stylebyhector, @stylebyhector and @tie_men_vintage
Another pro tip: Guys, if you’re wondering how formal you should go with regards to wearing a tie, opt for the half-Windsor knot. It strikes a perfect balance between formal and casual, and will impress if your interviewer is a stickler for small details.
4. Arrive 10 minutes early online
Fumbling over a new piece of tech is pretty common, even among the most tech-savvy people. Even so, anything from a stubbornly muted mic to a forgotten software password can knock you off your A game, especially moments before the interview.
Sort out any technical difficulties at least 10 minutes before the interview
To avoid this, sit yourself down at least 10-15 minutes before your interview. Check everything from your mic to the Wi-Fi connection, and if possible, do a test run of the online platform you’ll be using. Here’re questions you can address during that time:
- Can I hear the speakers clearly or do I need to plug in to earpieces? Is my mic working?
- Is my internet speed fast enough? Use this speed checker – a good gauge is above 350 Kbps/second.
- Do I know the features of my video software? For example, presenting screen, recording, or chatbox.
5. Eliminate distractions to be 100% present
Lock the door and turn off all your notifications before your interview begins
Home is where potential distractions are – we’re talking messy rooms, nosy pets and kids, or siblings appearing in a state of undress. Before sitting down for your interview, run through this checklist to reduce any risk of distraction:
- Inform your family members, spouse, or housemates about your interview in case they want to use a blender or go on a vacuuming spree in the middle of your interview.
- Lock your room door to your room to shut out family members and pets.
- Turn off all notification sounds on your phone and computer.
Additionally, ensure that you’re 100% present by adjusting your camera to your eye level. This makes it look like you’re looking directly at your interviewers, thus creating “eye contact” through the screen.
Pro tip: If you need to refer to notes during the interview, write them on a post-it and stick it beside your laptop camera.
If you need to take notes throughout the interview, use a notepad and a pen instead of your computer. The act of jotting it down is much clearer to the interview, whereas typing can make you seem distracted – even if that isn’t your intention.
Make a good impression during job interviews with Colgate
The rules of the game are a little different in the digital age, so take note of these online interview job tips to give your interviewers the best first impression possible. Be sure to keep those nerves in check and put on a big smile, as that simple action is a fail-proof way to exude positive body language.
To have the best smile possible, cultivating habits to keep those pearly whites pristine is of the utmost importance. Thankfully, these habits can be as simple as brushing your teeth with teeth-whitening toothpaste like the Colgate Optic White series. It promises whiter teeth in just 1 week* – just the thing if your interview has sprung up with barely a week’s notice.
*When used continuously and as directed, for extrinsic stains only, vs non-whitening toothpaste. Results may vary.
You don’t need to resort to tight-lipped grins if you have stained teeth, either. Consider Colgate Optic White’s newest addition, the Volcanic Mineral toothpaste. The volcanic mineral and silica bits are great for exfoliating your teeth to remove stains, making it a handy whitening fix for stubborn stains.
They’re readily available at all major retailers, and also online at Watsons, Shopee, and Redmart, so you can easily purchase them from the comfort of your own home. Plus, you can give yourself a much needed confidence boost when it comes to make-or-break events like interviews.
This post was brought to you by Colgate.
Photography by Edmund Wong.
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