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  • David Still

Virtual Interview Reminders

Updated: Jan 30, 2022

It is common knowledge and practice at this point to interview virtually. It is more on point to say that we are doing almost everything virtually these days if possible. That is especially true for those of us so called “knowledge workers,” or workers whose primary job involves handling and using information.

Knowledge Workers – 1 Billion Mark

According to Gartner, the world surpassed the 1 billion mark for knowledge workers in 2019. That is an awful lot of people in the workforce “who apply theoretical and analytical knowledge, acquired through formal training, to develop products and services,” according to Peter Drucker in his book, The Landmarks of Tomorrow, which ironically was published some time ago in 1959.

As of 2021, there are approximately 7.8 billion people in the world, so knowledge workers comprise approximately 13% of all people in the world, not to mention the workforce. That is a very large group people, and the number is naturally only expected to grow significantly in the future given continued tech advances and shifts in cultural attitudes facilitated by influences such as a global pandemic.

Virtual Expansion - Not Just Knowledge Workers

Although the trend towards virtual work has been obvious and plain to see for some time, especially for knowledge workers, it is fair to say that the pandemic accelerated the need for everyone to become more comfortable with technology for all the obvious reasons.

The need to develop fluency in communicating virtually as a practical matter has now become a priority for all. It is assumed that most households – at least in more developed and westernized countries – have access to at least one computer and internet access. Therefore, wherever possible, people are making the effort to communicate safely via technology until such time that they can no longer mitigate risk by physical distance.

In other words, even if you apply for a job that is not a “knowledge worker” type of job and requires your physical presence, you may still initially likely need to interview virtually.

Virtual reality has been on its way for some time, but it can no longer be ignored, even by the late adopters who may be kicking, screaming, and wishing they could remain in a bygone era. It is in this spirit that we offer some straightforward virtual reminders:

Virtual Interviews & Etiquette

- Technology: Test your computer and technology in advance. This is the virtual/technology version of scouting out the office you interviewed in for your last job the day before you had the interview.

It goes without saying that it is best to identify and resolve any potential issues before they occur. You can bet that you will be dinged for this if you have issues by the hiring authorities. They may not tell you as much, but it will hurt you so be careful here.

- Surroundings: This should be no surprise to anyone at this point. We have all witnessed newscasters and other professionals in the public eye work virtually for almost a year now. You want to be cognizant of your virtual professional surroundings.

They do not need to be glamorous and you do not necessarily need a full bookshelf behind you, but your setting should be clean, tidy, and professional in appearance. If possible, we recommend refraining from some of the PC-generated theme backgrounds. This can be risky depending upon your taste or lack thereof. It may be best to stick with a simple and unpretentious professional workspace. No one will fault you for that.

Also, be careful to think through how your workspace could potentially be violated or interrupted during your upcoming interview. For example, can you lock your door so your kids cannot rush in during the middle of your interview?

- Professional Appearance: Again, no major news flash here but you will still want to appear as you would if you were interviewing in a professional environment. This will depend upon your industry and type of role you are applying for, but you generally should know what is expected.

If not, take a few minutes and do some quick checking online. This is another real basic item that there is really no excuse for fumbling on. If you have any question at all, err on the side of caution and go a little more conservative than you might ordinarily (e.g., sport coat over polo shirt).

- Other Areas: After the basic virtual reminders around technology, surroundings, and appearance, you should otherwise prepare for your interview as you would for any other job interview.

Remember, just because you now have more latitude to interview and/or work from home, does not mean that a more casual attitude necessarily prevails. The expectation is that personnel will still conduct themselves in a highly professional and ethical manner.

With some of the added perks of interviewing / working from your personal environment also come the responsibilities of reminding oneself that there is still a professional context to respect.

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