How to Ace Your Next Online Interview – A Quick Reference Guide

With the rapid growth of video conferencing tools, the popularity of online interviews among recruiters and hiring managers is booming.

Whether you’re new to Skype (or whatever tool you use) or a seasoned pro, this quick reference guide will ensure that your interview goes off as planned and puts you ahead of others.

Phone interviews are a great way to pre-screen someone, but what really gives you a sense of the whole person has primarily to do with body language. In fact 55% of what you communicate is visual, 38% is about your voice and only 7% of your impact as a communicator is about the words you choose.

This quick reference guide will help you to make the most of your online presentation and take it from zero to hero on your next online interview.

Check Your Gear.

That first impression only comes around once so make sure, and then make sure again, that your video technology is working properly.

Choose Your Room.

Be sure you are in an uncluttered looking room. Test your camera on Skype or whatever tool you are using to make sure that the camera isn’t picking up any personal items like your bed or a pile of dirty dishes. Sitting at your kitchen table with your back facing a plain wall is a simple solution.

Get in Position.

Position yourself so that you are showing from the chest up. More than that and your face will be too far away, less than that and your interviewer won’t be able to view your body language.

Make Eye Contact.

Eye contact tells others that you feel they are important. Everyone wants to feel important. So if you are busy looking at your image in the corner of the screen the message you are sending is disinterest and boredom. Look directly into the camera at the top of your monitor to demonstrate eye contact.

Use Posture.

Sit upright and lean in a bit towards your camera. This shows interest. Sitting tall also projects confidence.

Hands Can Talk Too.

So let them. Hand gestures used at the right time can be a great way to add impact. Use a few of the more common ones like a thumbs with a smile up to show agreement and enthusiasm.

Don’t do things like fidget with your hair or flip a pen or pencil back and forth in your fingers – this displays inattention, disengagement and lack of confidence.

Watch Your Tone.

Talking too quickly or in a clipped manner can come across as dismissive and in a hurry to ‘get this over with’, while talking to slowly or ambling can make your interviewer mentally disengage while they wait for you to bet your point across.

Breath. Before You Answer.

Breathing is the very best antidote to de-stressing your anxiety. When asked a question, stop and think about it for a few seconds. Take a full and deep breath (silently) and then respond.

Avoid Interruptions.

Be somewhere that you will be free of interruptions and background noise – screaming kids, barking dogs, ringing phones – avoid these at all costs. And if you can’t apologize to the interviewer at the outset that there may be some unavoidable interruptions.

Keep Notes Handy

Highlight key areas in your work that are especially relevant to the job you’re being interviewed for. My favorite stand-by is colored index cards, using a Sharpee felt pen so I can write big and clear for easy reading.

The interviewer will see you referring to them, and even if they don’t, it’s good to let them know ahead of time that you have made some notes. That tells them that you care enough to do the extra work to ensure you have addressed all the key areas with them.

Be Dressed – Not Just From the Waist Up!

This one always makes me laugh. We’ve all seen the tv commercials where someone is in an online meeting wearing their pyjama bottoms or sweat pants. Don’t do it. Anything can happen – fixing your connection or catching a falling glass of water- to cause you to jump up, so be sure you’re fully dressed, all the way.


Ashton & Associates are specialists at identifying right fit candidates on the basis of values alignment, ambition and drive, skills, competencies and need.

Add your comments to this post on social media. Like us on Facebook & follow us on Linkedin

Barbara Ashton is the President and Founder of Ashton & Associates Recruiting.

Ashton & Associates Recruiting… Hiring Right. Every Time.

This post has been approved for public release by Barbara Ashton. All certified posts carry this Google Authorship link to Google.