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What is an Online Interview?

By Lily Ruha
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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An online interview is a job interview carried out over the Internet. It can be conducted using a Web camera, a computer microphone and, in some cases, a live chat feature. Successful preparation for an online interview requires testing the video, audio and chat features to make sure the equipment is working properly. In all other respects, an online interview is the same as an in-person interview and interview success requires an attitude of professionalism.

An employer may choose to conduct an online interview in place of an in-person interview. Oftentimes, this is done to save the company money and time. It is also more convenient for job applicants, in some cases, because it eliminates transportation time and costs. Online interviews are more common in situations in which the employer and applicant are located in different countries or time zones.

Preparing for an online interview requires gathering a few important pieces of information. If the employer is in a different time zone, the applicant must clearly understand the time of the interview. In addition, clarification is needed on whether the interview will be carried out via Web conferencing, an Internet phone or a live chat. If specific communication tools will be used requiring a login and password, this information will be needed ahead of time.

Testing the computer equipment ahead of time is an important part of preparing for an online interview. If using a Web camera, the applicant can test it to make sure he is sitting in a position that allows his full head and face to be visible. Testing microphone and speaker volumes in advance is important to avoid last-minute adjustments. If a live chat or Internet phone will be used, these applications need to be downloaded ahead of time.

Aside from the mode of communication, a remote interview is much like an in-person interview. A large degree of professionalism is required. The interviewee must take great care to dress professionally and eliminate any unnecessary noise from his location. Any items in the background that may give an unprofessional impression, such as food wrappers or a messy room, should be avoided.

The nature of an online interview is such that an interviewee might feel more relaxed because he is in the comfort of his own home or office. This can be an advantage, particularly since interviews can cause anxiety for some people. The interviewee should take great care, however, to avoid being too casual in tone or conversation. An interviewer who is located in an official environment will probably expect a certain degree of formality.

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