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Tips to prepare for Online Interview

We have compiled a few tips to help you prepare for an Online Interview.  Although these tips are directed towards students appearing for admission related interviews, you may find them helpful for any other online interviews as well.  These tips are not in any particular order of importance.

Technical and Venue Setup

In usual face-to-face interviews, the venue is prepared by the interviewer/organisation, and the interviewee can focus on the actual interview*. In Online interviews, a part of ‘venue’ preparedness needs to be done by the interviewee themselves. A few tips for that:

  • Ensure system (Camera/ Mic/ Data/ etc) works. You can take the call using your computer/ laptop, or using a smartphone with a front-facing camera.  Laptop is generally preferred as it has built-in mic and front facing camera.  If you have good headphones+mic, use them. Ensure the laptop/ phone is fully charged. Ensure your internet/ data connection is on (3G/4G is recommended).  It is a good idea to check if your hardware & software works by making a trial call, say with your friends.
  • Lighting: Take your call in a well lit room, with your face well lighted. For e.g., if you have a window with natural light coming in, then sit facing the window instead of sitting with your back to the window.
  • Quiet place: Choose a location in your home which is reasonably quiet.  Keep TV, music system etc off. If you are taking the online interview via laptop, keep your mobile in silent mode. Disable notifications.
  • Neutral background: Sit in a place such the the background is non-distracting, has no people movement.
  • Face the camera: Align your face at the camera-level and not at the screen level. Ensure that your full face is visible.
  • If using a smart phone for the online interview ensure that it is kept at a distance neither too close nor too far, where you full face is nicely visible.  Prop up the phone away from you. Holding the phone for the entire duration of interview is not advisable as it be prone to shakes.


Actual Interview

Although the above tips are necessary, you still need to do well in the interviews to get selected. The essential idea here is we that try and follow etiquettes similar to that of a face-to-face interview.

  • Prepare well for the interview. Talk slowly and clearly. Remember, it will be a technical/ academic interview looking at your interests/ preparedness in pursing post-graduate studies in IEOR.
  • Make yourself presentable. Online interviews typically involves video calling. So, it is important that you are well groomed and looking sharp, just like in a face-to-face interview.
  • If you attempted a test before the interview, keep copies of your answers with you, in case you are asked questions about it.
  • Keep a notepad and pen handy.  You may need to use pen+paper to help answer some questions. Write in big fonts as you may also need to show your work to the panel.
  • Keep a copy of your transcripts, certificates, etc. If asked, you can show either a hardcopy via camera, or a softcopy via screen sharing (If you plan to do screen sharing, keep the files pre-opened on your computer. Don’t search for them at the time of interview).