Centred Content

Dear Joanna

I have applied online for a warehouse job at one of the large box store’s distribution centre with the help of my Reena job coach. And I have great news – I have a job interview. But for the first time in my life, the interview will not be in person. It will be an online and virtual meeting using the popular application Zoom! I am so nervous. How do I prepare for this type of interview and be successful?

Signed: Tech Novice

Centred Content

Dear TN

Congratulations on your job interview! By the way, with the advanced technological world we live in, the online, virtual and video interviews are more popular now than ever, long before COVID started! They are convenient for employers especially for candidates living in other locations or working remotely. However, during this pandemic, there might never be a face-to-face interview –  you might be hired to start working immediately. It is important that interviewees treat this experience the same as a typical in-person interview in an office.

Below are a five tips on how to have a successful online interview are offered by https://www.chegg.com/advice/career-center/8-ways-to-conquer-the-video-interview/ and Shine (2017)’s blog at https://online.jwu.edu/blog/career-advice-six-tips-acing-online-job-interview.

  1. Learn the technology. Become comfortable with the technology used for the interview in advance. In your case, it’s Zoom.  Download the app and sign up on the website. I would do both just in case. Make sure everything works properly. Test the internet connection as well as the audio and sound. Practice the interview on Zoom with the Reena job coach and/or your family and friends. To prepare properly, Shine recommends to always ask the employer what format will be used for the interview and include the following: 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?
  2. Pick the perfect spot for the interview IN ADVANCE.  Shine suggests selecting a location in your home that it isn’t too dark but also stays away from overhead lights during the interview if you can. Sitting near a window is the best because of its natural light. Bad lighting can be distracting. 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.
  3. Be professional.  Sit up and dress professionally even though you aren’t meeting the interviewer in person. First impressions still matter! Dress in light colors against a darker background or dark colors against a light background. Basically dress as you would for an interview, because it is! 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.
  4. 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 prepare for an in-person interview, prepare and practice your responses to the questions with your Reena job coach as many times as you require to be ready for the interview. Research the company and the job description. Bring a copy of your resume, the job description, a notebook and pen to the interview.
  5. Calm your nerves. Interviews are always stressful. Being prepared can often help reduce the stress. Take your time when answering the questions. Don’t forget to congratulate yourself afterwards for taking this risk. Do something that you enjoy to reward yourself within the limits of the COVID self-isolation. Focus on what went well in the interview. Connect with your job coach immediately to discuss the experience and supports available for self-care especially during the pandemic.

Keep safe and healthy and good luck with the interview!


To submit your questions and comments to this column IN CONFIDENCE, please email jsamuels@reena.org