Color & Control:

The Almighty Job Interview: Acing it Online

By Joanna Samuels, MED

With over a year of dealing with this pandemic, it’s time for job seekers and employment support staff to welcome in the “New Normal”—the virtual job search, job interview and remote work!

We now live in an online, virtual world where video job interviews are more popular now than ever. Adapting to this different way of looking for, and securing work, is critical to job hunting. This format has traditionally been convenient for employers, especially with candidates living in other locations, or willing to work remotely. However, during these risky times, there might never be a face-to-face interview. In fact, you might even be hired to start working immediately, depending on the company’s needs, industry and, of course, your availability.

It is important that interviewees treat their virtual appointments in the same way as a typical in-person interview in an office. You still need to prepare by: 1. Researching the company. 2. Trying to understand the position. 3. Practicing responses to a variety of different types of questions.

Following are five great tips that will help you have a more successful online interview provided by

1. Learn the technology. After confirming the platform and approach, make sure you have the following information: a) Is it an audio interview or both audio and video? b) is there someone on the other end of the video or are the questions pre-recorded? c) If they are pre-recorded, how many chances do I get to record my answer? d) What do I do or who do I call if I start having technical difficulties? e) are accommodations available and how do I access them?

Become comfortable with the platform that is going to be used in advance. For example, Zoom and Office Teams are used in my organization. Download the app and sign up on the website. I would do both just in case. Make sure everything works properly. Test your internet connection as well as the audio sound and video. Practice the interview on Zoom with your job coach, friend and/or family.

2. Be professional. Although non-verbal communication is harder to detect in a virtual interview, the interviewer will probably be trained to be more alert for this feedback. So, try and sit up and dress professionally (business casual to be safe). First impressions still matter! Dress in light colours against a darker background or dark colors against a light background. Basically, dress as you would for an in-person interview!

Don’t forget to smile! Whether you are talking to an actual person or recording your answers, do your best to look the interviewer in the eye through the webcam or camera. Connect into the meeting about 10-15 minutes earlier so you are ready to go when the interviewer logs in.

3. Prepare. Just because you won’t be in an office with real, live human beings, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t taking this extremely seriously. Just as you would do for an in-person interview, prepare and practice your responses to the questions with someone as many times as you require to be ready for the interview. Research the company and the job description and have questions ready. Make sure the interviewer has copy of your resume and cover letter before the interview and be ready to take notes.

4. Pick the perfect spot in your home for the interview in advance. Select a quiet space in that isn’t too dark but also stays away from overhead lights. Sitting near a window is the best because of its natural light. Bad lighting can be distracting and a glare could make it difficult for the interviewer to see you. Eliminate distractions. Silence is key. Make sure that you are alone and nothing interferes with your conversation, including your phone and email notifications on your computer. This includes pets too. Consider the background. What will your interviewer see behind and beside you. Is it tidy? Is it appealing? Does it make you look friendly and approachable?

5. Calm your nerves. Looking for a job is often stressful. Being ready, physically and mentally in advance can often help reduce the stress. Have breakfast or lunch. Take your time when answering the questions.

Afterwards, congratulate yourself afterwards for taking this risk. Do something that you enjoy to reward yourself within the limits of the COVID self-isolation and lockdown. Focus on what went well in the interview. Connect with your job coach or trusted friend or family member immediately to discuss the experience and supports available for self-care if you feel you need support.

Happy hunting and stay safe.

Joanna Samuels, MEd, is an adult educator with an expertise in career/ job coaching and community/business partnership building. She is also is an employment resource supervisor at

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