Updated: Jan 15
After many applications you are delighted to have secured a job interview! But before too long you start to panic about what this means, and wonder how you will thrive at an interview when you're not in the same room as the interviewers. Fear not! As well as having the advantage of being on your home turf and not having that awkward and dreaded walk from reception to the interview room, there are also lots of other advantages to this process as well as pitfalls to avoid.
Here are my top tips to smash that all important interview.
Practice! If you're not familiar with the technology they will be using, have a practice with a family member or friend. Do your research about the features and log on with plenty of time in case anything happens - nothing more annoying than a laptop which decides to die on you just as you try to log on with minutes to spare! Make sure you also test your internet connection (using a cable to plug in to network rather than wifi is often better if you possibly can as it's usually more stable and reliable), and check your microphone is clear and a good volume.
Think of any other potential challenges with you doing this from home. Being on 'home turf' may well help you to feel more relaxed but the last thing you want is one of your children popping up to join in, or the dog barking through your answers. Do all that you can to organise it so you won't have these disruptions or pre-warn the interviewers if that is not possible.
First impressions still count. As do eye contact and body language. Position your camera so it's a good angle, think about what's in your background and set up a virtual one if you don't want the interviewers to see last night's washing up behind you. Make sure you look directly into the camera - it looks like you are looking at them and has the added benefit that you can look at the camera and not be put off by their faces. But make sure you check in regularly with them - you want to observe their body language too, for example if you see them looking a little uncertain when you've answered a question it will alert you to asking them if you need to explain anything further.
Just because you're at home doesn't mean you treat this any differently to a face to face interview. Don't turn up in your onesie, make sure you are dressed smartly and I advise that goes for your bottom half as well - although in theory they shouldn't see this, if you have to get up for any reason then a quick flash of your PJs under your smart top and jacket will not win you any brownie points!
Prepare for, and treat this, like you would any interview. Go through the job description and think of any examples of where you have done similar activities or used the same skill set. Think about the types of questions they might ask you and what you want to ask them. The advantage of being at home is that whilst it is ok to take notes into an interview anyway, you can do this 'secretly' when interviewing at home, with post it notes or bits of paper on your desk, around your computer screen etc. You can also add the odd inspirational quote and crucial reminder like 'just breathe'!