How to Prepare for an Online Job Interview (Fast Simple Tips)

Maybe some of your friends started working online jobs, moving around, traveling freely. Working at night or in the afternoon wherever and whenever they want and you decided that’s what you want to do too. So now what?

One of the first things you need to do to get started is to prepare for your online job interview.

There are a lot of tips out there about job interviews whether targeted to fresh graduates or seasoned veterans, but do they actually work for the 21st century digital gig economy?

At the Flatwork, we aim to help you work, travel and live freely as a freelancer. So these posts are here to take you through an easy and simple checklist to help you search and ultimately land every job you set your eyes on.

Here are some things to do before the interview:

Test Your Tech

Make sure you test your technology beforehand. Test the mic, the camera, the internet connection, the software you will be using to do the video call, and the background noise levels.

How? Well there are lots of free online tools or websites that allow you to test these things but setting up a call with a friend using the same exact device, internet connection, camera, microphone, background, and location (and near same time of the day as the interview if possible) should let you test all these sufficiently.

Turn off All Notifications

Put your notifications off both on your phone and your laptop. Especially if you will be sharing your screen, on screen notifications may be awkward and distracting if nothing else. Avoid using your mobile phone if you have access to a laptop or a desktop computer.

Minimize Background Noise (tip: headphones)

Remember headphones will help you reduce background noise that the other party is hearing.

Think About What's in the Background

Find a neutral background, an empty wall wherever you live should suffice. If the only private personal space you have is a bedroom, do not show the bed frame in the background.

If possible avoid public places like parks or cafes. If you have to be in such a place try to find a quiet remote corner and maybe explain to your interviewer why you chose to interview where you are.

Find a Well Lit Spot

Try to be in a well lit spot. In front of a mirror during the day is usually good enough.

Dress to Impress

Dress professionally (at least the upper half of you that will be visible, you can always do a sweatpants, button down shirt outfit combo) It is okay to over do the professionalism at this stage if you are unsure about company culture, unless explicitly told by your contact person that you can come casually dressed.

Present Yourself as if They Have Not Read Your CV (They May Not Have)

Never assume that the people who interview you have looked at your CV with enough attention (or even at all tbh.) In an ideal world, yes people would look at your CV before talking to you but even if they have yours may be the 99th CV they looked at or the 67th task on a long day full of boring tasks. So mention the most impressive and relevant pieces of information there again during the interview.

Think of a couple examples of professional accomplishments from past experiences that may be applicable to the job you are applying for. Be concise but specific. Highlight your personal strengths, while being honest about your shortcomings without being negative. (For instance, be clear about your skill level in a required software program that is used on the job, but let them know you are willing to improve and suggest a deadline for a goal.)

Do Your Homework Before the Interview. Research the Client!

Make sure you are well versed in the information that is publicly available about the client. Check out their website, social media, anything else that is noteworthy on the first page when you google their brand. Also familiarize yourself with the product or the service that the client is providing/selling. Do not ask basic questions about the company that can be found on google within seconds.

Speaking of questions, do think of a few short, smart questions about things that you are genuinely curious about.

Try to speak as much as you listen. Even though you are being interviewed this is not an interrogation or a press conference. Always good to turn it into a conversation whenever possible.

Clarify whenever you are unsure about something that the client has said. This also lets them know you are engaged and an active listener.

Final Tips

Interviews typically last 30-60 minutes but they may run as short as 15/20 min. Do not take it personally some people have a shorter style.

Depending on the position you are interviewing for, you may be asked to do a technical interview (for instance if you are a developer, you may be asked to code, make sure you are ready)

Some general questions to expect may be asked about where you are based, past experience, the timeline you are aiming to complete the project, what you would ask of the client to complete the project, how you work as part of a team, and the pay you are asking.

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