Telecommuting work is growing and will be here to stay post-pandemic. Over 41.6% of American jobs are now telecommuting jobs. Instead of preparing for an in-office face-to-face interview, how should you prepare for a virtual job interview?
Your home is where you are most comfortable. And if you are too comfortable as you prepare for a virtual job interview, you could make mistakes. While you should be comfortable during a virtual job interview, you must also be strategically prepared.
Here is how to prepare for a virtual job interview.
Do Some Prep Work
You should prepare for a virtual job interview in the same way that you would prepare for an in-person job interview. You are going to be asked several questions about your experience, qualifications, and why you should be hired.
Do some research on your potential employer. What do they do or specialize in that you could enhance or improve for them? Make sure you memorize the most important details from your resume about your skills & experience.
It may help to have some short notes in front of you to help you answer questions. But try to memorize them beforehand. Try to get a friend to help you with a mock interview and answer their questions as you would in the actual interview.
Hopefully, with practice, you’ll sound natural instead of stilted and unprepared. A mock interview will help you organize your thoughts and reduce your nerves, increasing your chances of a successful virtual interview.
Choose Your Background Set and Banish Distractions
The only thing that will get as much attention as you during your video interview is your background. As you prepare for a virtual job interview, preemptively consider backgrounds and potential distractions.
Pick the cleanest and quietest room to conduct the virtual interview. You don’t want your potential employer concentrating on a dirty unkempt room or a window overlooking a busy street.
Set up your visual background set like a director. Think about how far your face should be from the camera. You don’t want to look too far away or appear in an extreme zoom closeup during the virtual interview.
Sit up straight and try to keep your face at eye level with your computer’s camera. You don’t want to appear as though you are always looking down. And you don’t want to show off the roof of your mouth or nostrils when you speak.
Make sure there is adequate lighting during the virtual interview. You don’t want your video feed to look too bright or obscured in shadows to your potential employer.
Try to conduct the interview on a laptop or tablet mounted on a desk in front of a non-busy background. If you use a smart device, try to get a mount so your video image stays stable.
Don’t place your computer on your lap or on an unsecured surface.
If you don’t live alone, make sure that no one interrupts your video interview unless absolutely necessary.
Test Your Videoconferencing Tech Beforehand
I once had a virtual job interview and the only thing I didn’t do was test my Skype connection. The connection kept freezing during the job interview and I had to reschedule.
Whether you use Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, or any other videoconferencing software, make sure you test it out 30 minutes beforehand. Make sure the video and microphone are working. And make sure that your internet service is operational and paid up.
Please turn off any cute special effects filters you may have on your computer. A Texas lawyer made global headlines in February 2021 for this reason. The lawyer appeared on a videoconference with a judge as a sad kitten and had no idea how to turn off the filter.
Dress to Impress
How should you prepare for a virtual job interview in terms of wardrobe? Don’t overthink. Just dress business or business casual as you would for an in-person job interview.
You are trying to get a job here. Don’t appear on a videoconference for a formal job interview in torn or dirty clothing.
Be fully dressed.
If you don’t wear formal slacks or a shirt, make sure you wear something like shorts or sweatpants. You may have to unexpectedly get up during the interview. Be fully clothed and not naked.
Don’t create a plausible situation where you accidentally flash your potential employer if you get up. No one will believe it was accidental, you won’t get the job, and you might get sued. And if the video call is recorded, the embarrassing incident might get uploaded to the internet forever.
Be Mindful of Your Facial and Body Language
Smile! Keep a neutral, but pleasant expression on your face. Maintain eye contact with your interviewer. Make sure that you maintain your gaze on the camera as if it were an eye. Don’t focus too much on the image of the interviewer.
Of course, you will look at the image, but focusing on the camera will appear as of you are looking at the interviewer.
Scientific studies have shown that employers are more likely to remember your comments if you maintain eye contact.
Failing to Prepare Is Preparing to Fail
Prepare for your virtual job interview as much as possible relative to your circumstances.
You can only make one first impression. And with a virtual job interview, you have all of the prep time in the world to get ready.