Online interviews, whether by Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts or other platforms, are becoming more common, especially in these days of Covid-19. Here are 12 tips to help you excel in an online video interview and get that dream job in Japan.
1. Basic Preparation
Prepare yourself as you would for any formal interview: research the company thoroughly in advance; consider the typical questions you are likely to be asked and prepare your best answers; prepare your own questions; and pick out a formal interview outfit that will make a good impression. Even though the interviewer will probably only see your top half, it’s a good idea to wear a full formal suit and shoes, as it will prepare you psychologically for the interview process — and act as insurance in case you need to stand up!
2. Know the Technology
Familiarize yourself with the video conferencing platform; you need to know what media will be used and you need to know how to use it. Download the necessary software well in advance so that you can practice using it. Most people find it easiest to conduct an interview on their computer rather than on a smartphone or tablet device. You might also ask your interviewer in advance if there is a back-up plan (such as switching to a telephone interview) in case of unforeseen technical breakdowns.
3. Choose Your Location
Choose a quiet location where you will be uninterrupted. You should have soft lighting and a plain background. A cluttered background will create a bad impression. To play it safe, a blank wall with neutral colors is best. Ask your friends or family not to interrupt you during the interview and close all doors and windows so that you won’t be interrupted by pets!
4. Test Your Equipment
Check your internet connection and make sure the camera and mic on your chosen device are working. Test everything a few days prior to your interview, and then again on the day of the interview.
Practice in advance with a friend or family member. If you can record this practice interview, you can use the recording to study any bad habits. This is a good opportunity to examine your posture and your body language on screen and improve it if necessary. Sitting up straight and leaning towards your device a little will create the right impression.
6. Don’t Be Late!
Double-check the time zone. If your interviewer is in Japan, and you are in another part of the world, it is all to easy to miscalculate the time difference and you don’t want to be late for your interview!
7. Turn Everything Off
Before the interview starts, turn off your phone so that you won’t be interrupted. You should also turn off any apps, email alerts, or other programs on your chosen device. Use headphones or earphones to avoid audio feedback from your speakers.
8. Loosen Up
If you have a problem with nerves, doing some mild exercise or stretches prior to the interview may help to settle you and put you in the right frame of mind.
9. Prepare Your Notes & Resume
The advantage of an online interview is that you can have notes off screen to help you during the interview. However, you shouldn’t look at your notes too much, so pare them down to the key points you need to help you through the interview. You should also have a copy of your resume at hand in case you need it for reference.
10. Eye Contact
Just as you would in a normal interview maintain eye contact with the interviewer, smile, be confident, enthusiastic and maintain a conversational tone. To maintain eye contact it is better to look into the camera than to look at what is on screen. To help yourself out with this, try moving the window of your video-conferencing platform as close as you can to the location of your webcam at the top of your screen.
11. Take Your Time & Listen Carefully
Online time lags can make it easy to talk over someone when video conferencing. Listen carefully to what your interviewer is saying and pause for a moment before you answer any questions. Don’t rush your answers. Speak slowly and clearly, take your time and make your responses calm and considered.
12. Say Thank You
Don’t forget to send a polite email to your interviewer after the interview is over to thank them for their time.