Why You Have to Up Your Game When Attending an Online interview

By Drum Web Meetings

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You graduated from university with your 1st and excel in extracurricular activities. You have been offered an interview for your dream job, things could not be going any better. You receive your interview confirmation email, with a link to the meeting? Your interview is being held online! Well… this has caught you by surprise. You may have been to plenty of interviews and feel confident in your performance. However, an interview using a web meeting tool is a different task altogether.  

I was recently using an online meeting tool discussing strategies with some senior members of staff. Whilst we don’t expect anyone to be playing a game in the background, there may be some unexpected noises which can easily enter the meeting audio. Here is what happened recently in one of our meetings:

I am sure my colleague was not aware we could hear, but he was enjoying a tense racing game whilst in the meeting. The noise of VROOOOOM! Would increase and decrease as he was (we assumed) taking corners. After approximately 20 seconds, we decided to mute his microphone, without him noticing, so as to remove us from his intense race.

This entire use case breaks so many web meeting etiquette rules. So what are the online meeting etiquettes we should all consider? Especially for your interview!



Timing is critical for any interview. Whilst an online interview may seem to eradicate the unknowns of commuting and locating an office, there are still stumbling blocks to a web meeting. Here are the typical reasons:

  • Computer firewall issues
  • Ensuring the right version of the software is downloaded
  • Losing the interview link

These are all common causes for even the most experienced online user can experience. Systems update, altering system permissions change and we use a variety of devices. Here at Drum, we live and breath our web meeting solution, knowing it inside and out, but we still join the meeting 15 minutes prior to the start time. Drum has no downloads or system requirements, so be sure to allow additional time on top of this if you are using a solution requiring a download at some stage.


Background noise

The obvious one from the example above is the background noise. Whether it be your phone buzzing away or the TV you have forgotten to mute. Be sure any background noise is completely eradicated. The smallest of things such as taking a sip of your coffee becomes amplified into each meeting attendee's ears. Once or twice, I am sure you will be forgiven. However, one text message, a glass of water, a head scratch and then a biscuit later you will quickly lose the attention of the meeting attendees. Some things within your control can severely affect the outcome of the interview.


Speaking over your interviewer

This is quite possibly the hardest part of having an online interview. We don’t really get that personal feel with an online interview or see the full body language of the interviewer in the meeting. Traditional meetings allow us to read body language and understand who is about to speak and who isn’t. You can be forgiven for starting to speak at the same time as someone else, but you can’t be forgiven for continuing to talk over someone. You can’t simply raise your arm in a web meeting, you should always wait for the person to stop speaking.


Attention to the interview and interviewer

Keep your attention on the interview. It is easy to drop your attention when you are not in the same room as the interviewer. If anything, it is more important to keep your attention on the interviewer than it is in an office based interview. You have few physical prompts in a web meeting tool to bring you back on track if you do lose your concentration. Before you know it, the interviewer has asked you about skills and qualifications raising some concerns and you are lost for how to answer.

Keep your attention on the interview and take notes along the way if you are someone who easily loses their focus. Create checkpoints within the interview of what has been covered so, at the very least, you can work from the previous talking point.


Remember, you are still on camera!

The camera is set to focus on your face, so you only really need to dress the top half of your body right? I mean, your interviewer will only see what is on camera. That is until you become engrossed in your interview and begin standing up as your express yourself. The not-so-dressed you suddenly becomes visible on camera!

Also ignore your phone to the side of you. Don’t be tempted to pick it up and answer that message about the weekend or the latest happening. Everything you do on the camera can be seen by your interviewer, including the direction of your eyes!

Come to each meeting prepared and ready to engage within the meeting organiser or interviewer. Be super focused and super prepared. Hope this helps in your interview - and good luck!

P.S. Have experiences of your own to share? Please do add in the comments section below!


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