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Andrew Arkley|January 2, 2021

Online Interview Tips: What To Do & What To Avoid

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Any type of interview can be nerve-wracking, but online interviews come with their own set of challenges. If you’re not used to them, an interview over the internet can seem very daunting! 

That’s why we’ve rounded up our top online interview tips so you can give your best performance on the day.  

Preparation is key 

Firstly, you’ll want to prepare for a online interview in much the same way you would for a face-to-face interview. Consider any challenging questions you might be asked and how you might answer to really showcase your aptitude for the job. Be sure to practice a range of interview questions, such as competency-based questions as well as questions about your experience. 

But if you’re worried about potential technical difficulties, don’t leave your first practice round to the day itself.

Make sure that you’re fully set up beforehand by downloading the appropriate software to your desktop (Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams etc) and creating an account if necessary. Then see if you can find a friend to have a rehearsal online interview with; they can then tell you how you come across on camera and advise if there’s anything you need to work on. 

Dress appropriately 

This one is often an overlooked online interview tip, as you can indeed get away with wearing pyjamas from the waist down if you position your video camera just right!

However, even though you may be conducting the interview from the comfort of your living room, you still should consider what to wear for an online interview to come across professionally.

What’s more, as you’re not going to be meeting in person, how you present yourself may be all the more important to making a positive first impression.

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Are you sitting comfortably? 

Securing a comfortable and suitable environment for the interview itself is one of the most important online interview tips that we can’t really stress enough!

Avoid choosing a noisy cafe or somewhere you’re likely to be open to distractions. Setting yourself up at home, on the other hand, can be far more relaxing as you have far greater control over your surroundings. 

Pay attention to your backdrop too. The interviewer will want to focus solely on you and your answers, so it’s advisable to sit in front of a plain wall. 

Potential problems on the day

Even if you’ve gone through all of the steps to set up your online account and given it a test-run with a friend, there is still the potential for technical glitches on the day.

If you’re struggling to hear or understand the interviewer, avoid guessing the questions they’re asking as you may end up saying the wrong thing. Let them know you’re experiencing some difficulties and work together to address the problem. 

Other useful online interview tips include having a headset handy in case you struggle to hear or be heard, and having your camera set up in a suitable and stable position beforehand. 

Online interview tips to help you engage 

Developing a rapport with your interviewer may be more of a challenge over the internet, so it’s important to be aware of your body language and ensure you are fully present during the interview. 

You may not be physically sitting opposite your interviewer, but you can still maintain eye contact, smile and give positive sound reinforcements to show you are listening. 

Avoid tampering with the computer unless you have indicated there is a problem, as this can be distracting. 

Write prompts for yourself

Take the opportunity to prepare some visual or written aids in advance of your online interview. Whether it’s to remind yourself to mention certain achievements or to ask particular questions, take advantage of being interviewed over the web by writing some prompt sheets that you can pin above the computer in front of you (but hidden out of sight from the camera). 

Avoid writing too many, though, and ensure you don’t become so distracted by them that you become disengaged with the interviewer. 


As with any interview, it’s important to relax and be yourself. Get your laptop ready, take a pause before you answer and just try your best. Good luck!

When you have time to reflect, check out our blog on how to know if an interview went well.

Struggling to get an interview? Our team of professional CV writers are here to help you nail that all important first step.

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