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Preparing for an online job interview

Need help to prepare for an online job interview? Here are our ideas of questions which you can ask and which you should not ask.

Many companies conduct at least two interview rounds. The first round of interviews is mainly used to determine which applicants have the basic qualifications required for the job. The second round involves more detailed interview questions about the applicant, his or her qualifications and ability to perform in the company.
We have decided to share our tips on the first interview round - an interview, which is frequently conducted online. Interviews held over a telephone or a video call are useful in a quick candidate assessment, when you have a long list of candidates. What the CV may not reveal can be examined through the online interview, and the recruiter can draw conclusions based on the conversation, tone and responsiveness of the candidate.

A web search on online interviews reveals a large number of valuable hands on tips, such as:

  • Find a quiet, private, well-lit place, free from possible interruptions.
  • Ensure that your internet connection is stable.
  • Check that your computer’s audio is working
  • Test your computer’s webcam.
  • Close any unnecessary web browser tabs and applications.
  • Place your phone in silent mode.
  • Prepare questions.

It is a good idea to explore the technical aspects of the online interview thoroughly on your own and well in advance. In the following, we will share our best advice on questions you may ask along with a few other tips to help you appear the best version of yourself.

What can you ask?

As stated in our previous newsletter the interview is conducted as a two-way conversation among equals, so you can always ask clarifying questions and any question related to the job content and the company. Just make sure that these are not questions which could have been found by a simple search on the company website or by a general web search ie. Google, Glassdoor, etc.

Here are some general examples and ideas:

Which tasks does the job involve?

You may ask about specific examples of tasks you would perform if you were hired.

How is the team composed?

How is the age distribution, what is the educational level, which responsibilities does the team have? 

If the position has existed for some time.

You could ask about former employees' role and responsibilities. What did they do well and what was less good? What were their primary tasks? Is the person still in the company? 

If the position is new.

You might want to ask how they will evaluate your performance. It is not certain that they have decided yet, but then you can ask about their expectations for a new employee


How is the focus on development in the company ? It may also be relevant to ask about “onboarding” training focused on ensuring you a good start.

What are the objectives of a new employee?

Do they differ from those of former employees? If you are going to work in a team, how will your goals harmonise with theirs? Are the goals common or individual?

What not to ask

There are very few “no goes”, but what you should never ask about or mention until you are asked is salary and benefits. This is usually one of the last questions you are asked, when you and the interviewer are about to wrap up the interview. You are expected to have a general idea of the salary in your field, and be prepared to mention at least a salary range.

Here are a few suggestions of useful salary calculators: window) (new window)

A few other tips

Eye contact

It is easy for your eyes to wander when the person you are talking to is not in the room. Try to keep “eye contact” by looking directly into the camera instead of the screen or at your own image. Make sure your face is centered and try not to move around too much. 
Listen. We know it can be stressful attending an online interview, but listen carefully to what is said, and do not be afraid of asking clarifying or probing questions or comment on what you are told.

Think in company needs

We often encounter candidates who focus too much on what they will gain from being hired instead of what they can do for the company. Make sure your questions reflect this and make sure you show a genuine interest in the job.

What happens next ?

Make sure you do not leave the interview without knowing when the next round of interviews takes place or when you will know if you have made it to the next round. It is not impolite to ask this. On the contrary, it shows your interest in and motivation for the job.

Interested in more tips? We have another article about online job interviews where you can learn about questions to be asked at the job interview and what to wear.

The article "Preparing for online job interviews part 2"

Try Workindenmark's e-learning course: modul "Contacting companies and succeed in job interviews"

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