Have An Online Interview Coming Up? This Is What You Need To Know

Last updated 21 Sep 2016 . 3 min read

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The word  ‘interview’ gives one an image of smartly-clad prospective employees waiting for their turn, anticipation writ large on their face, with a resume in their hands. However, that scenario is fast changing. Technology is replacing the typical face-to-face interview, and helping bring opportunities and interactions to candidates wherever they are.

What makes a virtual interview work?

Now, an on-camera Skype, FaceTime or telephonic interviews are not just matching jobs to candidates; they are connecting just about everyone. Doctors are doing consults online, lawyers are conducting meetings, teachers take tutions, and scores of corporates take their work interactions online every hour.

Technology is here to stay, and recruiters and job sites are using online interactions as a viable option to identify and match candidates with the correct job profiles. The virtual interview works for organisations that want to curb the time and money spent on candidates travelling in from far-off places. Today, many preliminary interview rounds are generally conducted online.

Pros of a virtual interview

For the candidates: The interviewee has a lot to gain from an online interaction: This arrangement helps them face interviewers without feeling the intimidation they may otherwise do when they meet face-to-face. It also allows the interviewee access to their resources for quick reference, if needed.

For the organisation: It helps trim hiring costs by eliminating travel and stay arrangements for outstation candidates. Telephonic rounds help begin the process to separate the chaff from the grain at a bare minimum cost to company.

Things to watch and keep in mind

The Look: While communicating in person is a breeze for many of us, communicating via technology can bring up hitches, both real and imaginary. A ‘presentable’ on-screen image becomes an added factor to be taken into account by both parties. So, just because it is online does not mean that you do not make an effort to be presentable. Rehearse ahead of time if needed; use your phone camera, record and review. It is now a part of interview preparation, and practice is key.

Tech hiccups: Technology comes with its own issues. A long-distance interview can be interrupted by glitches such as ‘frozen’ on-screen visuals, or disrupted calls due to poor connectivity. They affect the flow of the interview. It can take a recruiter some time to finetune the interviewing process and eliminate the virtual roadblocks that can create gaps and awkward silences.

As Dipak, who works in a ‘man and management’ organisation, says, “We are yet to achieve the technological perfection that impersonates a real-time human interaction. But once it is in place, even the final rounds of an online interview will be as good as the ‘real’ ones to gauge a person and their alignment with the job profile.”

Essentially, an online interview is the same as an in-person interview, where both parties are visible to each other. However, there are many who are uncomfortable being ‘on-camera’, talking to a screen. But, it is good to remind yourself that this an interview, just like any other, and moves from one pre-set question to another. Any ‘gaps’ can easily be filled in by taking cues as the conversation moves along.

Ilakshee Nath
Ilakshee Bhuyan Nath is a freelance writer having contributed to magazines both e-versions as well as print. She donned many hats as TV newsreader, anchor and voice over artiste, teacher, communication specialist before starting on writing while baby-sitting her two daughters. She is an avid traveller, blogger and spectator of life.

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