How to Prepare For a Job Interview in 2021

9 Easy Steps That Work For Any Online Interview 

In person job interviews are so 2019. With the ongoing pandemic and the spread of remote work and online technologies, virtual interviews are the way to go now! Just as the pandemic, socially-distanced job interviews are going to be here for another while. And now that they’ve been established, they’ll probably stay.

So you should definitely start preparing early for the virtual interviews that might be coming up this year! Even-though this format can seem overwhelming at first, good preparation for an online interview is fairly easy!

How to Prepare For a Job Interview in 2021
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Preparation is the key to success!

9 Important Tips on How to Prepare For a Successful Online Interview in 2021:

1. Get fully dressed

This used to seem obvious, but we now live in a virtual world, where even news reporters are caught not wearing pants on air. Don’t be like that reporter! Dress yourself as if you were going to an in-person interview. This will not only save you from uncomfortable situations, but it will also influence the mindset and the attitude with which you present yourselves. It’s simple: look professional, feel professional, be professional.

2. Switch with a friend to see what your video background looks like

Be aware of the fact that the display detail you see on your computer screen does not look exactly like that of your counterpart. You might be sitting next to your framed Maya Angelou quote, but you don’t want it to be the backdrop of your video interview. So ask a friend for a quick video call to confirm that your background is neutral. Everything that should be seen is your face and part of your torso. Ideally, you should opt for a plain and neutrally colored background and make sure to have sufficient lighting available.

3. Have a glass of water at hand

During face-to-face interviews, you are usually offered a glass of water. By the way: yes, you should always accept that offer and here’s why. During an online interview, you might also need some time to quickly gather your thoughts, take a breather before answering a question, or you might simply get a dry throat. If this happens, you can just take a sip from your glass water. You should always have this in reach as getting up during the interview to fetch water is not really a good option.

How to Prepare For a Job Interview in 2021
Photo by Katerina Holmes on
How to Prepare For a Job Interview in 2021
Photo by Pixabay on

4. Find a quiet space

As a recent graduate, you might still be living in shared housing. However, you don’t want any distractions during the online interview. So if you are offered a range of interview time slots, choose one where you’ll have the house to yourself. If that isn’t possible, make sure to inform everyone about your online interview and ask your housemates to please stay quiet during your interview time. It’s best to ask everyone to keep noises down for at least an additional 30 minutes prior to the interview and another 30 minutes after its scheduled end time. This way you can full concentrate on preparing. Plus, you are also geared up for any unexpected events!

5. Check the internet connection

A good internet connection has never been more important. You don’t want any malfunctions during your virtual interview as a candidate. So make sure the connection runs smoothly on your interview day. If you live with other people, ask them if they can go offline or at least not stream during your interview. High utilization of the internet connection can negatively impact video quality.

6. “Arrive” early

This tip applies to in person interviews and virtual job interviews alike. Don’t wait until the last minute to get in front of your screen. Being stressed is never a good starting point for a conversation. So make sure that you have some time left to take a few deep breaths. This way you can gather your thoughts before the interview commences. Sometimes you have to log into a video conferencing tool, which can take a few minutes and you don’t want to be late because you haven’t calculated this in.

7. Have notepad and pen ready

Paper and pen are always useful if you want to take some notes during the interview or if you have prepared some questions to ask your interview partners. If not that, it’s always good to keep your hands occupied even if they are not on full display.

8. Practice active listening

It’s much harder to gauge body language from a video conversation. Thus, you have to make sure that the person on the opposite side knows that you are attentive and following what they are saying. Some techniques for active listening include: nodding when you agree with something, smiling to show appreciation for statements that have been made, asking questions, commenting and participating actively in the conversation. This will ensure that your interview partners know and see that you are engaged and truly interested.

9. Have a back-up plan

We can do all the preparation we want, but sometimes things still go wrong. Especially online, a lot of things are just out of our hands. Despite an earlier test, the internet connection might still be lost or you might not be able to log onto the interview platform for whatever unknown reasons. These things happen but they don’t mean the end of your interview if you have a back-up plan. This means having a list with emergency contacts ready (phone number of HR & interview partners), preparing an email draft so you can let people know immediately that something is wrong. You can also already ask about what to do in case of system failures when scheduling the interview, so you can plan ahead.

If you are already past the interview stage and are struggling to bond with your new colleagues in an online environment, read this post on how to bond with them remotely. Also make sure to check out our other posts!

Did you already have an online job interview this year? If yes, how was it? Sound off in the comments below, if you have any additional suggestions and share this post if you’ve found it useful!

See you soon,

Hannah 🙂

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