Looking for a job is easier said than done. It’s simpler to click “submit resumè” on every job you find on Jobstreet than it is when you actually get an email requesting for an interview. The email makes it more real, somehow.
Because of the pandemic and lockdown, people are finding it a lot more difficult to look for jobs. The numbers of people unemployed are slowly rising. In Malaysia as of June 2021, the number of unemployed persons increased by 4.8 percent with 768.7 thousand unemployed persons.
If you’re attending an interview soon, it’s important to brush up on your interview skills. An online interview isn’t that much different from a face to face one. The only difference is the screen. Just because you’re comfortable at home doesn’t mean you should let your guard down, though.
With the Mega Career Fair coming up next week, here are some tips for a (hopefully) successful online interview.
1. Dress appropriately
Similar to going for an interview physically, you must dress for the part. You might think that just dressing professionally up top counts. It’s not like they can see what you’re wearing through the screen, you scoff.
But I’m here to tell you that the bottom half counts too. No pyjama pants, no shorts, no just underpants.
Speaking from personal experience, some jobs may require you to stand up and present yourself first before they interview you. To gain extra points and give your future employer a good first impression of you, dress nicely. Also, dressing appropriately sets the mood for a professional setting.
2. Study up on the company you’re applying for
Before going for a job interview, it’s important to look up and “stalk” (so to speak) the company that’s interviewing you. Find out what they do, their goals, their missions and visions and all you can about them. The more you know about the company, the better.
This is mostly for your benefit. It gives you the opportunity to ask your future employer anything you are curious about and want to know about the company. It also gives you brownie points because your future employer would see the lengths you go to in getting to know the company.
Googling answers your future employee asks while you’re in the interview is a big no-no. It’s embarrassing and it’s obvious that you’re unprepared. Before you ask, yes this has happened before and I won’t be answering any further questions, thank you.
3. Make sure your computer is working well
You don’t want to look unprepared and unprofessional, do you? What if in the middle of the interview, your computer battery dies on you? Or they can hear your mother screaming at your brother to pick up after themselves? I’m speaking from experience here.
It’s not a good look on anyone. It’s awkward and you have to stutter through an apology and continue on with the interview like nothing happened.
So to avoid all that, check if your power outlets are working correctly (or at least have your laptop battery full), check your links or any other presentation pieces you would like to put forth. Test your microphone so that during the interview, and be in an area that has little to no background noise.
4. Be early or on time. DO NOT BE LATE
If your interview is at 9am, make sure you’re in front of your computer and ready by 8.50am. Fix your tie, pin your hijab, comb your hair. There’s something to be said about first impressions. And the best first impression you can make on a future employer is to already be waiting to be let in on the video link before they show up. It lets them know that you’re a responsible employee.
Being early also means you can double and triple check on your appearance, links associated with the interview and have a last practice on what to say during it. Check your notes and make sure to smile!
5. Although it’s tempting, please keep your background neutral
It’s certainly amusing and entertaining to set your background to look like you’re in outer space or in a field of cows. In my opinion, it certainly makes for an interesting conversation starter! But no matter how tempted you are to do that, maybe save it for later when you actually get the job.
Instead, find a space that has a white or a non-bright background that you can settle on. This allows you to set the tone to a more professional direction. It also helps lessen any distractions your interviewer may have. Think about it, would you be able to pay attention if your interviewer’s background was of a large cute cat? I don’t think so!
6. Pay attention to your interviewer
Sometimes, when you’re nervous, you tend to avoid eye contact, that’s completely normal and it happens to everyone. Your interviewer will understand.
But try your hardest to maintain eye contact and keep your smile on throughout the interview. Control your body language and facial expressions to react to what the interviewer is saying to you.
It’s important to let the interviewer know that you’re paying attention. So even when you have nothing to say, offer a nod and a smile once in a while to prove that you’re with them. Paying attention to the interviewer also allows you to come up with questions of your own to ask them if you’re curious.
7. Ask questions at the end of the interview
Usually, interviewers would often be the one asking questions to you but at the end of the interview, it’s your time to shine. Whatever you need to know, ask them. Ask your interviewer about what your job scope entails because it’s important to know what you’re signing up for.
Another good question to ask is what the working environment would be like. Of course, everyone would like to work in an environment that’s positive, uplifting and productive, so make sure to ask about that.
In an interview, there is no such thing as a stupid question. If you’re curious about something, just put the question out there. Remember though, be respectful when asking questions.
Some useful questions to ask could be:
- How did you think I did during the interview? Are there any areas I need to brush up on?
- What do you personally like most about working here?
- How would my success in this role be evaluated (if I were to be hired)?
- What did you achieve while working at this company?
- Do you have any hesitations or questions about my qualifications or experience?
Some of these questions may be a little bit intense but it’s important to ask them if you’re really serious about being hired by the company.
A bonus tip: to let the company know that you’re serious about wanting the job, follow up with your interviewer by sending an email after the interview. Tell them about your experience in the interview and how you’re looking forward to hearing from them soon.
Go Forth and Get That Bread!
Getting a job might be a drag for some people, especially in a pandemic when you’re just going to be working from home anyway. But effort counts and hard work pays off. Show these companies what you’re made of!
Hopefully, these tips will help you in landing that job you want.
Once you get the job, don’t just sit around and expect things to go your way. The harsh truth is that some workers don’t know how much they have to lose. Make sure you read up on your rights as a worker: