3 ways you might be sabotaging your online job interview

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The coronavirus pandemic has forced many activities — work, school, dinners, happy hours — to go online.

For job seekers, even interviews have moved online. A survey by Gartner HR showed 86% of organizations were conducting job interviews online during the pandemic.

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If you’ve been interviewing online and not getting results, you might be sabotaging your chances and not even know it.

After you do your normal interview prep, check these three things from Fast Company to ensure you’re not being your own worst enemy.

Technology

If your interview is happening over Zoom, make sure you know how to use the platform. Know how to mute and unmute your microphone, and make sure you are framed correctly onscreen. Fast Company suggests you find a friend to practice interviewing with.

Also make sure your internet connection is strong. Buffering or a lost connection can easily cast you in a bad light.

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Personal presentation

Speaking of bad light, be sure you’re not in it while online. Backlighting might make it hard to see your face, career coach Irina Cozma told Fast Company. Moving a lamp or buying an inexpensive ring light can help you shine during your interview.

Also be aware of any “comfort cues,” body language expert Patti Wood, who coaches people for video interviews, told Fast Company. Comfort cues might be touches to your face or neck, for example, that you make when you’re nervous. “These are normal stress cues, we do them all the time, but they increase during on-camera interviews,” she said. That doesn’t mean you should sit like a statue, she added. Hand gestures can help cut down on comfort cues while showing you’re animated and interested.

Check the outfit you plan to wear to see if it looks good on camera. Does it ride or bunch up? Is there a distracting pattern? Check out a few looks so you know you’re making the best presentation.

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Distracting backgrounds

While you’re checking how your outfit looks, scan your background. If you normally sit in front of a bookshelf, remove any clutter and dust. “Turn on the camera and see what shows up on the screen. If there is a trashcan or a messy bookshelf, clean it up,” Wood said.

Also remove anything behind you that might be off-putting, such as political paraphernalia. It’s a good idea to have one or two interesting art pieces, however. They can make good conversation starters if you’re waiting for others to join the meeting, plus show a bit of your personality.

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