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An online interview is similar to a phone interview or an in-person interview, but instead, it's done over a video call online. Today, many companies are using platforms such as Skype or Zoom to interview potential candidates to see if they are a good fit for the company. Usually, they do it this way because it may be difficult for the parties to meet in person or because the company wants to get to know the candidate better before going to the expense of flying them in for an official interview.
While online interviews have many benefits, it can be awkward to introduce yourself via video camera and still give a good impression. A video interview introduction is different from other types of interview introductions. Luckily, there are many tips out there to help you conduct a strong introduction that will segue into what hopefully will be a very successful online interview.
Why Do Companies Conduct Online Interviews?
There are many reasons why companies choose to conduct online interviews over in-person interviews or phone interviews. First and foremost, it allows companies to be more efficient by interviewing more candidates and sorting through them in less time. Before the internet, candidates may have had to travel to get to the interview, costing both the company and the applicant money.
And, while phone interviews still exist, they don't give away as much information about a candidate as an online interview conducted by video does. Doing an online interview through a video chat allows the interviewer to better gauge the candidate by seeing their body language and confidence (or, lack there-of) that can’t otherwise be detected in a phone interview. Likewise, the candidate can also learn things about the company based on their interactions.
And, while online interviews are still nerve-wracking, they can help take some of the nervous energy off the candidate that would likely be present in a physical interview. Online interviews are, therefore, a great alternative to a physical interview, without compromising the ways in which people learn crucial information about each other.
How to Introduce Yourself in an Online Interview
There are several ways to introduce yourself in an online interview. Keep in mind that because you are not doing the interview in person, certain things like shaking hands, for example, won’t be happening.
A handshake is a great way for an interviewer to sense your confidence. But online, the hiring manager will be looking instead at how you introduce yourself by the way you speak, what you say and your facial expressions. Therefore, when introducing yourself in an online interview, it's important to speak professionally, but also in a friendly manner.
Be Ready on Time: The first step in properly introducing yourself in an online interview is to be on time. To do this, be sure you are familiar with the software beforehand so that you can arrive on the call before the interview starts and so you won't encounter any technical issues. Even if the interviewer is there before you are, it will give you some time to relax before turning on the camera and making your introduction.
Read the Interviewer: You might want to wait until the interviewer speaks first. She may speak right away and even address you by name. If the interviewer seems eager to get right into the interview, then you might just say, “Hello, I’m ready whenever you are.” Otherwise, don't be afraid to use a simple greeting and let the interviewer initiate the next step. You want to be careful not to plunge into a formal introduction if the interviewer is keen on introducing themselves first.
Introduce Yourself: If after a brief hello and maybe even a wave, the interviewer smiles and seems as though he wants to hear you talk first or he tells you to go ahead, then introduce yourself with these easy phrases:
- Initial greeting and name: Hello; Hi; Good morning; or Hi, my name is____.
- Secondary greeting: “Nice to meet you.”
- Thank you or anticipation: “Thanks for having me today" or “I’m excited to speak with you today.”
- A Courteous Question: “How are you today?” or “How are you this morning?”
As you can see, it’s not always necessary to say your name, especially if the interviewer says your name first. But, if they do not say your name first, then you may want to add it to your initial greeting. For example: “Hi! I’m Jonathan. It’s nice to meet you. Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me today.”
If you don't know the interviewer's name, you can conclude your introduction by asking them. Though, be sure that the interviewer didn't tell you their name in an email beforehand.
Even these ideas may sound too rehearsed, so it’s important to act natural, be yourself and try to mirror the interviewer’s pace.
"Tell Me About Yourself" Interview Answers
After the initial introduction, the interviewer will likely begin the interview by asking you to elaborate on who you are and why you're interested in the position. In many cases, they will do this by saying, “Tell me a little bit about yourself.” When you answer this, it’s important to make sure your answer is directly related to the job for which you are interviewing. For example, this is not the time to discuss your hobbies or the name of your pets, unless you're applying for a dog-walking position.
You can start by highlighting the strong suits or skills that should be emphasized for the specific position you're applying for. If you are applying for a manager position, briefly explain your job history and something unique about you that would make you a good manager.
For example, say something like, _"_I've worked as a manager for the last five years. There are many things I like about the job, but what I enjoy most is being able to take on a leadership role at a company by advising others on their day-to-day tasks."
Look at Sample Introductions
Although introducing yourself is rather straightforward, it can be a bit uncomfortable to do in an online interview. In addition to researching tips and advice regarding online interview introductions, it's helpful to look at "introduce yourself" samples online, as well as examples of job interview videos. Read blogs, watch videos and listen to podcasts about the topic.
What to Avoid When Introducing Yourself
There are many situations to prepare for when going into an interview, especially one that's being conducted online. Yet, in addition to following the guidelines of what to do for a proper introduction, there are other things to be mindful about or to try to avoid when introducing yourself in an online interview:
- Make sure you're ready on time.
- Wear a job-appropriate outfit.
- Check your internet connection before the interview.
- Put away potential distractions. For instance, make sure your phone is on silent.
- Be careful not to speak over or to interrupt the interviewer, even if it's a bit awkward in the beginning.
- Do not look away from the screen. Even though you're not in the same room, it's important to maintain eye contact.
Introducing yourself in an online interview can feel a bit strange. But, as long as you know what to expect and prepare accordingly, you'll do just fine.