Online job interviews - tips to help you stand out

Posted on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 by GoodJobsNo comments

If you are applying for roles at the moment and have made it through to interview stage - well done! You may now be preparing for your first ever video interview.

Here are a few tips as shared by Charity People in our job seeking in lockdown clinic, to help you prepare and stand out. You can view a recording of the session and accompanying resources for free via the Utopy website.

Having a video interview can feel very different to an in-person interview. It may be a strange and new experience for the interviewer too. As with any interview, preparation is key. Here are some pointers about how to adapt your interview technique to appearing digitally.   


As with any interview, you should make an effort to look professional. Before the interview starts, check your appearance onscreen. Is your hair tidy, does your clothing which is visible, look clean and professional? You might decide not to wear a suit or your interview shoes but should still look smart. Sometimes wearing your usual interview outfit can help you get into the right mindset and help you to focus.

Think about your location. Tidy up your background so it isn't distracting to the interviewer or reveals personal details. If your quiet room for interviews is a bedroom, can you design the shot so the bed isn't visible? Think about framing and the lighting, can the interviewer see you clearly. You may have to rest a laptop of camera on top of something to get the best angle. Persuade flatmates, children or pets not to interrupt you during the interview.

Do what you can to minimise tech issues. This can be one of the most stressful aspect of video calls. Practice logging in / setting up before the interview time. Log in to the call in good time before it starts. Have a mobile phone alternative on standby in case you have wifi or connection problems.

During the interview

Maintain eye contact and be aware of your body language. Try not to fiddle with your hair or fidget. 

Read the signs the interviewers are giving. If they look like they want to move on to the next question, end your response. You can ask if the interviewer wants you to give more detail.

Enthusiasm is key! Everyone is holding a lot on their shoulders at the moment. It is hard. But if you can be enthusiastic and positive, this stands out. Even in the small talk at the start, be positive. Interviewers may well be facing Zoom fatigue, interviewing someone who is positive and bright may give them a boost. 

Be energetic. This is infectious! If the panel is flat, try not to mirror this. Still try and be enthusiastic.


Many interviews still include a task. This might not happen on the same day at the interview. Give yourself plenty of time to do the task. Some are there to stretch you so don't worry if you don't finish. Factor in time to proof read what you have done. You might be penalised for mistakes.

Be transparent with the employer. Ask for reasonable adjustments if you need them.

Top tips

Hide the video of yourself. You don't need to watch yourself. This can be really distracting.

Don't forget to ask for feedback if you don't get the role, in order to help you plan for the next one.

Good luck! 

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