Online Interviewing: 5 Mistakes You Must Avoid

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Are Resumes Still Relevant? /Online Interviewing: 5 Mistakes You Must Avoid

Online Interviewing: 5 Mistakes You Must Avoid 

With more and more employers opting for online interviewing, now is a great time to brush up on your online interviewing skills.

There are key differences between performing well in-person and online interviews, but most people rarely understand these differences. If you are unsure about what to do to secure an online job offer, this blog post should help.

Why Online Interviews Are Here to Stay

 The pandemic brought about considerable changes to how we live, work and socialise. One of the most significant changes to the working world was online interviewing. Online interviewing became an absolute must during the pandemic. And I think this trend is here to stay, especially with the rise of technology platforms such as HireVue to support the interviewing process. And with increasing demand for remote working roles, it makes sense for companies to offer more online interviewing opportunities. This is why you must know how to perform well in an online interview.

There are significant differences between in-person interviews and online interviews. As well as things you should be doing to ensure your online interview goes according to plan. I will explain these differences and what you need to have in place so you can put these principles into practice in time for your next online interview.

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How to Start an Online Job Interview

Your online interview must start well, setting the tone for the rest of the interview. To get your interview off to a good start, consider doing these things:

1. Introducing yourself and thanking the interviewer for the opportunity to interview
2. Let the interviewer know that you are looking forward to interviewing as you have a lot of great ideas about the role and the value you can bring
3. Let the interviewer know if you have any issues on your side, such as low internet speed, a noisy neighbour etc.
4. Make good eye contact by looking into the camera and not at yourself on screen.
5. Check that everyone can see and hear you clearly.
6. Be positive and smile.

How to Set Up for an Online Job Interview

First and foremost, to deliver a successful interview, you must pay attention to your equipment and setup. This means checking you have sufficient internet speed and that your audio equipment is working and pitched at the right volume. You also want to ensure you are in suitable seating with good lighting. But also somewhere with no distracting pictures or objects in the background. Be sure to turn off all other devices so you are not disturbed during the interview.

This also includes letting people you live with know you are interviewing, so they don’t bother you. Lastly, pick a comfortable chair to sit in and record yourself answering interview questions. This way, you can watch yourself on the screen to ensure you haven’t missed anything. But also to check if you are happy with the sound, lighting and the general look of your practice interview. That way, when it comes to the real thing, you can feel confident that you are happy with your presentation.​

Mistakes You Are Making in Your Online Job Interview

1. Watch Your Body Language
Online interviewing makes it harder for some people to read subtle facial cues and body language. Therefore your presentation skills must be top-notch. What might have seemed endearing during an in-person interview may come off as awkward during an online interview. Again as an interviewee, I would encourage you to pay attention to your body language when recording yourself. For example, what are your hands and facial expressions doing as you talk? And where do your eyes gaze as you answer questions? These things can give the interviewer clues about your personality and go for or against you. Be aware of any potential signals you may be giving off through your body language. Working with an interview coach can help you with this.

2. Manage Silences in an Online Interview
How you manage silences during an online interview is essential. Poorly managed silences create an awkward experience. In contrast, well-managed silences give the impression of thoughtfulness and well-considered answers. Think of your online interview as a performance where every part of your performance is managed. This also includes how you manage pauses in between and during questions. For example, I encourage my coaching clients to have a glass of water while conducting online interviews. If clients need more time to think through an answer or compose themselves, they can inform the interviewer that they need to take a sip of water. Stopping to drink water is an example of a well-managed pause as it explains the silence and provides my clients time to think. It is far better to do this than stop and stare blankly into a screen while you think about what you want to say. If you want to learn more communication tips, check out this book here.

3. Build Connection in an Online Interview
During an interview, people not only remember what you said but how you made them feel. Thinking about how the interviewer will remember you and how you want them to feel is just as important as planning what you want to say. I talk more about this in my ebook How to ace any job interview.

Creating a connection is more straightforward when interviewing in person. With online interviewing, the connection has to transcend through the internet. Therefore when preparing for your online interview, spending time to think through how you want to be perceived and remembered is important. Then be sure to use words that connect and create the right feelings. I have coached my clients to develop their soft skills during online interviews and reported a greater success rate when interviewing. This is why I offer all my clients help to master these soft skills during interview coaching.

4 Using Prompts in an Online Job Interview
If you work well with prompts, online interviews create an excellent opportunity to use prompts without being obvious. The key is to use and access your prompts without giving off the impression that you are using prompts. However, I do not encourage interviewees to have scripts that they read off. It is very easy to notice when someone is reading from a script. And using a script usually does not go down well with interviewers. Instead, I would write down a few keywords and would use prompts as a guide to elevate my answers.

If you struggle with knowing what direction you want your career to take, I recommend this Career Workbook. It may help you clarify your vision and set goals to understand how to grab your dream job.


Online interviews are becoming the norm for interviewing, especially in our post-Covid world. I believe that online interviews will continue to grow in popularity. If you have not yet mastered the art of delivering a successful online interview then now is the time because online interviewing is here to stay.

How do you feel about interviewing online? Please drop us a comment below and let us know. And if you need help to improve your interviewing skills, book a mock interview with me.

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