Interview tips

interview tipsWhen you’ve invested a lot of effort and time into job hunting in another country, you want to get an interview right once it happens. The last thing you want is for a simple misstep to render all your work obsolete.

We’d like to help you get through the interview successfully, so we’ve gathered the best tips from around the internet and share them with you here.

First up are tips for online video interviews, like over Skype, and then we share general tips for your next interview.

Online video interviews

1. Be professional

Being professional starts with your username:

Skype and most other digital communication platforms will request a username when you set up an account. Stick with your real name – it might be boring, but it’s professional.

Being professional extends to the interview itself too:

Dress the part, as you would have during a face-to-face interview. A neat appearance always make a good first impression.

2. Pick a good location

Your location will make up the background of the screen.

Ideally this background should be a clean, neutral environment. Set up a space in your home if you can. It could be as simple as taking paintings off a wall in your living room and setting up desk in front of the wall.

No space in your own home? Then ask a friend with a study to use theirs or go to a library and ask if they could be of help.

3. Eliminate interruptions

Ask everyone you share your home with to not interrupt you during the interview. Lock the door of the room you’re in if necessary.

Also turn off all notifications on your laptop or desktop as well as your phone. Close your email account too and put your cell phone on silent, so not even calls can come through.

The use of a headset, if you have one, will further eliminate any sound interruptions from inside or outside your home. The other benefit of using a headset is that it’ll be easier to hear the interviewer speak.

4. Do a couple of practice runs

Ask friends to help you test the online communication platform you’ll be using. Ask specifically for feedback on:

  • Sound – can they hear you clearly?
  • Visibility – can they see you clearly? If not, adjust the screen’s brightness or the light in the room.
  • Your appearance – how do you come across? Comfortable or nervous?

Use these test runs to also fix any technical issues that come up. This will also give you the confidence to troubleshoot should anything go wrong during the interview.

5. Position the camera perfectly

It is recommended to position the camera on your laptop or desktop so that the lower edge of the frame is in the upper part of your chest. This is roughly in line with the third button of a dress shirt. Position the top of the frame about a hand’s width above your head.

6. Make eye contact

You’re not sitting across from your interviewer, which makes it harder to make eye contact.

To make eye contact over a digital platform, always look at the camera – not the screen of your laptop of desktop.

Placing your laptop or desktop on a stack of books to get the camera at eye level will make it much easier to fix your eyes on the camera.

7. Ask if the connection is clear

The minute the greetings are done, ask the interviewer if they can see and hear you clearly. Time delays, breaks in transmission or a fuzzy image will make the interview unpleasant and could reflect poorly on you. If there are any problems, sort these out before continuing with the interview.

General interview tips

1. Do your homework

Researching the company that’ll be interviewing you is non negotiable. You must have a solid knowledge of who they are and what they do:

  • What the company does.
  • What the company stands for.
  • The background of the company.
  • Recent stats, figures and accomplishments.

Your work will pay off when the interviewer asks you questions about the company. More often than not, they do!

A thorough understanding of the company will also allow you to ask insightful questions during or at the end of the interview. You’ll come across as interested and this will make a good impression.

2. Review common interview questions and their answers

We all hate the “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” question, but we can’t avoid it. It’s one of the most asked questions during interviews in all fields and industries.

You’ll fare a lot better if you have a set of answers prepared. The same goes for other common questions, such as:

  • Why are you looking to leave your current company?
  • Tell me a bit about yourself.
  • How do you handle conflict in the office?

For suggestions on how to answer the 10 most common interview questions, have a look at what Big Interview has to say. They provide in-depth analysis and suggested answers to all the big questions.

3. Be mindful of your body language

You want to send a positive message verbally and non verbally. That’s why you have to be mindful of how you carry yourself during the interview. Examples of good body language are:

  • Smiling.
  • Eye contact.
  • Solid posture.
  • Active listening.
  • Nodding.

These are examples of what you should not be doing:

  • Slouching.
  • Looking off in the distance.
  • Playing with a pen or your cell phone.
  • Fidgeting.
  • Chewing gum.

4. Do ask questions

As pointed out before, asking questions make you appear interested – in the company and the job.

No interviewer wants to give a job to someone who’s doing the interview simply for the sake of doing it.

They want to appoint someone that’s passionate about the position, the company they’re applying at and what they do.

Naturally questions will arise during the interview but definitely prepare between three and five questions for when you are given a chance for questions at the end of the interview.

You’ll come across not only interested, but prepared too – creating a lasting and positive impression with the interviewer.