Remote working, online meetings, and online interviews have been getting more popular day by day. Coronavirus pandemic accelerated this process in software development companies and remote working style spread to the companies in other industries. Most of the companies even the ones never had remote work experience, started to work remotely, work from home and have their meetings online.
Online interviews are seen as a kind of meeting that can be held online. As a result, companies started to organize online interviews instead of onsite interviews. Some companies are already familiar with online interviews since they do screening interviews and remote interviews. But the situation that we are in shows that eventually almost all interviews will be done online. Even after Corona Pandemic, online interviews will increase their popularity.
With this short blog post, I want to share some tips for getting ready before the interview, tips for having a smooth interview and tips for handling unexpected problems during the interview.
Tips for getting ready before the interview
- You should have a pen and paper. The interview is on your computer, you can think to take notes in note-taking applications, this may cause you to lose contact with the interviewer. Using pen and paper will help you to keep in contact with the interviewer and keep focused.
- You should choose a room with good light and you should position your table to leverage the light best. Better video quality will improve your communication with the interviewer.
- You should keep your environment as silent as you can. Noises around will distract you and the interviewer.
- You should have some water with you. Since you will be talking much during the interview, you will need hydration.
- You should configure and test the online meeting tool (ie. Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, Microsoft Teams, etc.) that will be used in the interview.
- You should configure your camera, microphone, headset in the meeting tool settings.
- You should have a test meeting with a friend on the tool if possible. If you don’t have a friend available for test, most of the tools like Skype and Zoom have internal test tools for sound input and output.
- You should install the required applications that will be used in the interview. For example, you may need to install an IDE for software engineering interviews.
- You should investigate, test and learn online tools (ie. HackerRank CodePair, draw.io, awwapp, etc.) that will be used in the interview.
What should we pay attention to during the interview?
- You should keep the internet usage at the minimum level during the interview. You should inform the people you live with about the interview and ask them not to use internet connection as much as possible, especially video or music streaming applications (ie. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Youtube, Spotify, etc.) may exhaust your connection bandwidth during the interview.
- You should inform the people you live with about the plan and duration of the interview and ask them to keep quiet if possible.
- You should turn off the computer and mobile phone notifications.
- You should not ask for using search engines or online resources unless the interviewer told you explicitly that you can use them.
- You should keep eye contact with the interviewer while answering verbal questions.
- You should ask to repeat the question if you can’t hear the interviewer because of a connection problem or if you can’t understand what is said.
- Just like on-site interviews, you should use your time carefully during online interviews.
- You should prefer resting and getting ready for the next session during the breaks rather than checking your answers for the previous session on the internet.
- You should not forget that all rules for onsite interviews also apply for an online interview.
How to handle unexpected problems during the interview?
- If there is a problem with voice, inform the interviewer via the chat in the online meeting tool about the problem and be in contact while solving the problem.
- If you are having a problem with the internet
- You can try to use your mobile phone’s internet
- You can ask the interviewer to turn off videos
- You can try to connect to the meeting via dial option if provided
- If you still having problems, you can ask to continue the interview via phone call.
- Don’t stress and reconnect soon if you lose the connection. If it takes a long time to reconnect, it will be nice to inform the interviewer by a phone call.
If none of these are applicable or don’t solve the problems, you can ask to reschedule the interview. Don’t think that rescheduling will be a problem for you. Because if you and the interviewer cannot hear each other, it will decrease your performance. When the interview is rescheduled, you should find the root cause and solve it before the next interview.
If a distracting noise starts during the interview, you should ask for a break to stop the noise if you can. Don’t forget that you are responsible for the interview environment for online interviews, whereas the interviewer is responsible for the environment for onsite interviews. You can find the Online Interview Checklist at the bottom of the post.
All of the topics above are also important for the interviewer. If you are the interviewer you should make your environment ready and you should guarantee a high-quality interview.
Don’t forget that all points that you should be careful during an onsite interview are also valid for the online interview.
Wish you the best for your interviews…