In the past, an online job interview was a rarity, but these days, just about everyone interviewing for a job will be doing so online. A Zoom interview or Google Hangout interview can be a bit intimidating, but we have some tips that will help you achieve success with these sometimes scary online interviews.
1. Choose A Room With A Door
The kitchen, family room or dining room might not be the best options for your Google Hangout interview as these often are open to the rest of your home. Obviously, many of us have limited locations options. If you have an office with a closing door, you are set, but otherwise, a bedroom can be a good option, as you can ensure privacy.
2. Create A Professional Space
No matter where you end up interviewing, make sure the space is spotlessly clean and professional. Don’t interview in a messy room filled with papers, discarded clothing, stacks of books, etc. Not only does this look unprofessional, but it will also make you feel less professional.
While you don’t want a hiring team to see you sitting in a cluttered, messy room. It’s not great for you to be surrounded by a mess. When the space is clean, it will be less of a distraction, so spend a few hours getting the room in perfect order before you interview.
3. Check Out Your Camera
Call a friend via Google Hangouts, Skype or some other video conferencing option and ask your friend what they see on their screen. In some cases, it might just be a blank wall or curtains, which is fine, but if the background includes a bunch of personal items, you will want to remove those if possible. People don’t need to see your collection of stuffed animals, beer cans or even family photos. You want everything to be as basic and plain as possible so that the hiring manager is focused on you and not on your apartment.
4. Dress Up
While it’s tempting to spend the day in yoga pants or old sweats, dress for a Google Hangout interview just as you would for an in-person interview. The hiring manager still expects you to be dressed professionally, and wearing work attire also helps you to feel more professional and focused.
We know it can be tough these days to get a haircut, so if you aren’t able to do so, just do the best you can to look polished and professional. Hiring managers will understand if your hair isn’t quite up to standard and you can just joke a bit about your quarantine hairstyle. Everyone is in the same boat, and even the hiring manager’s hair might look a bit worse for the wear.
5. Ensure Everything Is Working
It’s important that your PC, laptop or tablet are ready to go and have a strong internet connection. If you are using a laptop, make sure it is plugged in and fully charged. A tablet also should be fully charged. Typically, it’s best to use a laptop or PC, but if you are using a tablet, make sure all notifications are turned off during the interview.
While a Google Hangout interview is one possible option, your interview might take place via Zoom, Skype or something else. No matter what is being used, be sure to download it in advance and test it out to make sure everything is working properly.
6. Limit Distractions
For any video or Google Hangout interview, you want to limit as many outside distractions as possible. Turn off your phone and place it in another room. Ask your partner to take your kids for a walk or bribe them with some screen time. If you have roommates, let them know when your interview is planned, and ask them to stay as quiet as possible for the duration.
Keep windows closed, and if you have drapes, close those as well. You can’t prevent all outside noise, such as trash trucks or police sirens, but keeping the windows shut and drapes closed with muffle the noise as much as possible and help you stay focused on the interview.
7. Practice Your Interview Skills
No matter what type of interview, video or in-person, practice answering some typical interview questions. Hiring managers like to hear about how you’ve overcome challenges and solved problems, as well as learning about your skills, so be sure that you can answer some tough questions.
It’s a great idea to hold a few video practice sessions with a friend or family member. They can provide you with helpful feedback such as whether or not you were making eye contact, if your voice was clear enough or perhaps too loud, or if some of your answers seemed to be too long or too short. Sometimes we aren’t aware of little habits, such as tapping our fingers or saying words such as “um,” too often, etc. A practice session can highlight your interview strengths as well as areas of improvement.
8. Be Prepared
You should never go to an interview unprepared. Before your interview, you need to learn some information about the company and, if possible, about the hiring manager. You need to create some thoughtful questions to ask the hiring manager, so you can gain some insight into the job requirements and the company culture.
You can write down some questions and some notes, but don’t spend a huge amount of time referring to your notes. You will want to make eye contact as much as possible, just as you would with a face-to-face interview. Of course, it’s fine to look away once in a while to jot down some notes. If you are going through a series of interviews, it can be tough to remember what was said in each one, so taking notes can be helpful.
9. Follow Up
After the interview concludes, be sure to follow up with a thank-you email or even a handwritten letter. Be sure you personalize the email or written note, using the hiring manager’s name. Never just send out a generic note, and be sure that you have the correct address or email address.
In the thank you note, you obviously want to thank the hiring manager for their time and assure them that you are happy to answer further questions or clarify any answers. It’s also nice to add something personal in the thank you, such as “I was excited to learn about your campaign to target a younger audience, and I believe my background in social media can help the company find success in this area.”
More than half of all interviewees fail to send a follow-up thank-you note, and this really can cost you a job. Hiring managers are more likely to remember you and appreciate your efforts if you follow up and thank them for their time.
The Google Hangout interview, no doubt, will be here for quite some time, so we hope these tips have helped you prepare. If you need a resume, we can help with that, as well. At Resume Writing Group, we can create dynamic, error-free resumes, cover letters, thank-you notes and more that will attract the attention of hiring managers and help you find a great job, which can be tricky during these difficult times.