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On-Line Interviews Do's & Don'ts

You will not believe some of the interviews I have conducted on-line, crazy stuff. It's the 'new norm' (to hijack an over used phrase) now, but even a couple of years ago it was still in baby step mode. We now remote interview in over 15 countries, it is no longer the future, it is now.

So I'd thought I'd set out a few do's and don'ts for remote, on-line, video or group on-line job interviews. Some of this might seem obvious but let me tell you, all of these Don'ts have been experienced by myself and my colleagues.


  • Sit on your bed in your PJ's

  • Dress smartly only from the waist up (I cannot recount how many times someone had to getup during the interview for whatever reason and were in their track pants or shorts on the bottom half).

  • Forget to contain the pooch, prep your flatmate or your children (so many dogs have jumped in front of the screen or barked loudly during the interview)

  • Chillax too much: this is someone who wants to invest in you, professional, polite and prepared are the key pharses.

  • Forget to test your camera and settings well in advance.

  • Look as if you are reading from the wall behind your laptop or your desktop, yes... we can tell - every time.

  • Sit in a cafe with a noisy crowd around you.

  • Keep looking at yourself in the mini-screen - it just looks weird and it is a nervous habit to keep checking yourself out. A couple of times ok, no worries but don't fixate on it.

  • Head into this remote interview thinking 'I hate talking on screen' (Your confidence in handling flexible communication situations needs to be on display)

Now on to a more serious note, the do's are part of your pre-interview preparation as well as on-screen presentation. Most of us cannot wing it so prep well in advance if you can.


  • Smile - heard it before I know. When you smile your entire demeanour opens up and says 'I am happy to be here and open to this conversation', it is not an overrated idea, it is an essential one to create an awesome first impression at the start of this relationship.

  • Research - check our the employers website, linkedin, social media, key team members, business values, affiliates and always read their latest media releases, How they are handling COVID19 is of course on-trend so know what they are doing around that. Check out the linkedin profiles for the each interview team member.

  • Questions are essential - intelligent well thought out questions. If you could find it out on line then don't ask it. Questions should benefit your application not demonstrate your lack of research.

  • Test your tech - it's in the don'ts as well, but I cannot stress this enough. Being technologically competent is an essential skill, messing about trying to figure it out puts you on the back foot from the get go. Test your on line platform early, have a back software if there is an issue.

  • Check out your on-camera visual - check the wall behind your camera, what does it say about you? If it is mess, move or clean it up. It doesn't have to be blank just organised and simple.

  • Outfit - what is acceptable differs between industries but remember, your outfit either says I am professional and taking this seriously or, I am... to quote myself above, too 'chillaxed'.

  • Preparation vs Rehearsal - as I alluded to above, most people cannot wing it so we have to take the time to prepare for the expected questions. Think about some examples that illustrate your ability and what you can achieve for an employer. Think about your work style, your strengths and have some ideas ready. We want to see you, not some robotic monotone version of you. So while I do not advocate memorisation and rehearsed responses, I want to see you have put some brain space in and around this opportunity.

  • Have water ready, in case of a throat tickle or dry cough.

  • Be on time.

Many are finding they are out of work unexpectedly and that means you will have gone through a process similar to shock and maybe grief at the loss of your valued career and income. That is a process you have to manage, one that takes some time and the opportunity to reframe your objectives and feelings.

Please be kind to yourselves, and take one step at a time.

Each new decision you make or step you take could open a new opportunity. It only takes one person, one employer to say yes to turn this around. The world will reopen and each step you take will set you up to take advantage of whatever opportunity comes your way.

"Up-skill, retrain, reinvent, pivot and transition - look outside what you know and consider the possibilities"

Kirsty Anne Ferguson

Interview & career coaching, interview workbooks, resume help, 'This Is Me' confidence coaching:

Global interview and success coach, author and speaker.

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