Preparing for a Virtual Job Interview

Virtual Job Interview Preparation Today, the virtual interview is being used by hiring managers at an estimated 60% of companies. If you are on the job hunt, be ready. Whether over Skype or another video chat system, there are several key steps to your preparation.

As technology evolves, businesses find news ways to increase efficiency and profits. Organizations often use technology to reduce costs by conducting virtual job interviews. This video or Skype interview setup benefits both interviewer and interviewee, especially when an applicant would otherwise need to fly in. Despite the convenience, it also poses a unique set of challenges.

Communicating via webcam is not something everyone is comfortable with.  For the unfamiliar, the new technology can also cause unexpected problems to arise on the day of the interview. If you have an upcoming virtual interview, here are some tips on how to prepare for it.

How a virtual interview is the same

The typical interview process usually entails multiple steps. First, there is an initial screening, which usually lasts only thirty minutes. It's purpose is to make sure that you are a real candidate and fit the basic requirements and actually want the job.

In the second round interview, the candidate is assessed for their technical skills. Finally, sometimes combined with the second round or sometimes as a different step, the candidate is assessed for their fit with the firm.

Now this process, hasn't changed with the introduction of the virtual interview. This format may be for basic screening purposes or for final selection. Depending on the format, focus your preparation on the same core areas. Identify critical topics based on the job description. If you can, gather insider information so you can ace the interview. And also, use the tools of persuasion to prepare more effective interview answers.

How a virtual interview is different

Normally, for a job interview, you travel to a location, dressed from the part, and with resumes in hand. By the time you get there, you are mentally ready for that experience (hopefully). And besides finding the place, you aren't in any way responsible for the place that you meet.

With the video interview, that changes. You have to make sure you have an appropriate physical location and the appropriate equipment if you want to be successful.

Test Your PC Hardware and Software

Modern technology is great when working, but a pain when it doesn’t. There are countless things that can cause software or hardware problems. It is wise to check the webcam you will be using, especially if you don’t use it often. Testing the webcam will also give you a heads-up if you need to invest in something that is of better quality. Test the microphone or headset you will be using and find out how you sound when speaking. It is also a good idea to test or figure out how to use whatever software the interviewer prefers to use during the interview. You do not want to run into problems in the middle of the interview just because you did not take the time to study it.

The Right Setting

Probably the biggest problem in a virtual interview is having the right setting. Not everyone has the perfect background for a professional meeting via web conference. This is true especially when the home PC is in your bedroom. You want the interviewer to see you as a professional, and having an unmade bed as your background will not help you achieve this image. You need to find the right background for the interview; a blank white wall or bookshelf is usually a safe bet.

Dress the Part

Some may think that being in a virtual interview means that you can get away with not dressing your best. You might be tempted to wear your pajamas for your bottoms during the interview because the interviewer won’t see it anyway. If you do this, it may lead you to forget that you are in an interview. Dressing the part will help you motivate and remind yourself that you want to impress the interviewer.

Eliminate Distractions

Being at home during a job interview does not help you maintain focus. Your brain has been trained to relax when at home. Therefore, it is important to eliminate most if not all possible distractions during the day of your interview. Arrange for a sitter for the kids and pets. Close your browser unless you need it during the interview.

Video Interview Nonverbals

Like any other format, you need prep your interview stage presence. Yet, you also need to be aware of one major inconsistency - making virtual eye contact. When talking to someone via webcam, you have to look at the camera instead of the face in the monitor. 

Take it for a Spin

The most important part of your preparation is doing a test run. Have a friend rehearse a web conference with you before the big day. This will help you know how you look in front of the camera. It will help decide what to wear to make an interviewer focus on you and not get distracted with what you are wearing. Testing will also help you know how loudly to speak and at what pace.

Virtual interviews should be treated like any other type of interview. You still need to research and prepare to do well. Being at home should not be an excuse not to exert less effort than you would do with a face-to-face interview.