Preparing for an Online Interview

Preparing for an Online Interview

Video interviews, are efficient and effective for both the candidate and the company. Knowing how to prepare for a virtual interview can give you confidence and help you prove your value as a job candidate during an online meeting.

Follow this advice to set up for your next video interview so you’ll look and sound (and feel!) totally professional.

How to prepare for an online interview: BEFORE the day of your interview!

With virtual interviews, there are many things to consider prior to the day of your interview that you don’t need to think about for an in-person meeting. Below are some things you can do ahead of time to make sure your online interview goes smoothly.

Test the technology

  • Familiarize yourself with the necessary equipment and software before your interview appointment. Make sure that your microphone and speakers are working, and ensure your internet connection supports high-quality live video. You may also want to check and make sure you’re using a professional screen name that interviewers can easily recognize.

Practice and prepare

  • After you’ve tested your equipment, it’s a good idea to practice your interviewing technique. After you check technology with a friend or family member, ask them to practice interview questions over the video call. Practice responding to questions naturally and make sure you let the interviewer finish before speaking. Practice listening carefully and speaking clearly. The more you practice, the more confidence you build before the actual call.

Consider your location

  • Before the scheduled interview time, select a location for your interview. Find a quiet room with minimal background noise and no distractions. Make sure you have adequate lighting (preferably natural) and that nothing is distracting behind you. Make sure your housemates know not to disturb you and shut any pets out of the room. A professional backdrop will show the interviewer you are serious about the interview and the job.

Consider wearing earbuds

  • Tucking a tiny earbud into your ear can help you hear interviewers more clearly. These devices also provide less bulky sound amplification than a pair of regular headphones which may also prove distracting for interviewers. Practice speaking with your earbuds in to balance your volume.

How to prepare for an online interview: The day of the interview

  1. Dress professionally. Because you’ll likely be visible to an interviewer only from the waist up, the blazer on top, sweats on the bottom look might be tempting. However, treating an online interview the same as an in-person interview with regard to wardrobe will not only make a good impression, it’ll boost your confidence, which will improve your focus. When choosing an outfit, have a look at the company’s website and social media accounts. These may provide some insight as to what the culture is like, and you can dress accordingly. Neutral, solid colors work best — anything too bold could create exposure issues with your webcam.
  2. Eliminate distractions. It’s essential that your interview environment is as free from distraction and interruption as possible. Silence your phone and make sure you don’t have any scheduled alerts or alarms, close all unnecessary windows and tabs on your computer screen, and close any doors and windows to the room you’re in. Make sure pets are out of the room and occupied, and survey the room for visual distractions. While it’s imperative that you aren’t distracted, it’s equally important that there isn’t anything in the room with you that will pull your interviewer’s attention away from your conversation.
  3. Test your technology again. About 30 minutes before your interview is scheduled to begin, run some last minute tests on all the things that could potentially malfunction such as earbuds, video program, and network connection. Make sure your lighting is as flattering and professional as possible, and that your outfit looks good on your camera.
  4. Be mindful of your body language. Body language refers to non-verbal communication through facial expressions, posture, gestures, etc. Without the face-to-face element of a traditional interview, your body language is both more noticeable and more important. All the same rules apply here as with an in-person meeting: Sit up straight with your shoulders back and relaxed, chin up, legs still. Try to keep your hands visible, and maintain natural, attentive eye contact. When on a video call, the tendency can be to look at your preview, but this should be avoided when possible. To simulate eye contact, make a conscious effort to look into the camera — especially if you’re using a computer. Lean in to the conversation, instead of sitting back in your chair, to express interest.
  5. Log on at least 10 minutes early. With in-person job interviews, you’re advised to show up at least 15 minutes before you’re scheduled to be there; similarly, for your video interview, logging on at least 10 minutes early will give you the chance to make sure everything is working as it should one last time.
  6.  Set up your space. Before logging on, spend a little time preparing the area around where you’ll be sitting for your interview. Make sure you have some water, some paper and a pen for note-taking, and a cheat sheet including your scripted answers to common interview questions along with prepared questions for your interviewer, inspirational messages, reminders about posture or eye contact, etc. Make sure a copy of your resume is within sight in case you need to reference dates, job titles, or qualifications. Post-it notes make great cheat sheets, as well, since they can be stuck directly onto your computer screen or on a wall behind your computer, invisible to your interviewer.
  7. Be aware of the time zone. Confirming the time zone of your interview will save you from potentially showing up to the meeting three hours late.

Good online interview skills can be the difference between gaining and losing a job opportunity, so remember that in-person interview basics still apply. Communicate confidently, don’t stress too much, and use these online interview tips to ace your next online interview.

Common Intern Interview Questions

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want this internship?
  • What do you know about our organisation?
  • What is your understanding of the values and objectives of our company?
  • What is your ideal work environment?
  • What is your dream job?
  • What is your biggest strength?
  • What is your biggest weakness, and how are you trying to overcome it?
  • What is the most challenging situation you have faced so far?
  • How do you handle challenges at your job?
  • What can you do if your entire team disagrees with you?
  • How do you resolve workplace conflict?
  • What motivates you in the workplace?
  • How do you organise your day-to-day tasks?
  • Do you have questions for us?

Questions about experience and background

  • Do you have previous experience caring for livestock?
  • Which responsibilities have you had on a farm before?
  • What got you into farming as a career?
  • Which pieces of farming equipment do you know how to use?
  • Do you prefer working on small farms or large farms?
  • What would you describe as the most difficult aspect of working on a farm?
  • What questions do you have for us?

In-depth questions for a farm intern applicant.

  • Do you view farming as more of a business or a lifestyle?
  • How important do you think environmental sustainability is in farming?
  • What do you think is the most satisfying part of working on a farm?
  • How would you describe the ideal farm intern?
  • What’s one of the biggest changes you’ve observed in the agriculture industry?
  • How have you used farming to engage with your local community?
  • What would you describe as normal working hours for a farm intern?
  • Do you have plans to supplement your income with other work or focus solely on farming?
  • What do you think is the most impactful innovation in agriculture from the past five years?
  • Which tools do you think are essential to have on a successful farm?
  • What questions do you have for us?

Focus On Your Ability to Learn Quickly

Internship interview questions focus on more than just your current skills — interviewers also want to see that you learn quickly. Employers know they’ll likely need to show you the ropes or help teach you new skills, so they need to see in the interview that you have a growth mindset and can quickly pick up new information and skills.

Be yourself!

Your personality matters!

  • You want to come across as genuine and authentic during an interview. This is your opportunity to express yourself off paper. Your resume already got your foot in the door, now you get to show who you are as an individual. Be confident in yourself, and remember, people hire people, not a piece of paper!

Ask questions. 

  • Once the interviewer has finished talking, ask them if they are taking questions. If they say yes, then ask any that you have about the job.


  • Prepare by doing some research on the company and industry. Try to think of five good questions that aren’t about salary or benefits (you can have those, too, but they are too easy. They don’t let the interviewer know you’ve done your homework and your serious about the job.)