How to prepare for a Zoom interview

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How to prepare for a Zoom interview

Posted 04 May 2021

Since the pandemic hit, Zoom has become increasingly more popular, becoming one of the most used online apps/programs in the world for video conferencing, webinars and most importantly for remote job interviewing. In a recent survey of talent leaders and recruiters conducted by tech firm Talview, 80% of respondents said their hiring process is fully remote, while 39% have increased their use of video conferencing software, like Zoom, for the interview process (The Balance Careers). 🎥

Although you can interview for jobs from the comfort of home, virtual interviewing also comes with its own set of challenges. It’s easier to get distracted, easier to be unprepared with the technology and easier to miss the small details that make the difference. To increase your chances of making a good impression and getting the job, these tips will help you overcome the unique challenges in video interviews so you can put your best foot forward. 🏆

Practice with the technology beforehand

Even if you are familiar with the video platform the interviewer wants to use, it's best to practice before the interview comes around. We’d suggest downloading the video platform software two or three days before the interview to try it out and resolve any technical issues. Have a friend or family video chat with you to make sure you can hear and be heard and see and be seen. Plus, it will allow you to get comfortable with the process and test the strength of you Wi-Fi. 💻

Interview in a clear space

Create a good impression with your physical shot by ensuring there is no clutter or mess behind you. Having an unmade bed or dirty laundry in your shot will immediately give the interviewer a negative impression and decrease your chances of securing the job. If you are concerned about pets or family members walking past you can upload a digital background for the background of your video. When the main room of your home is at its cleanest, take a landscape photo and upload to Zoom. Then, make it your virtual background and the interviewer would never even know you may be sitting in a pile of laundry or in the closet where the WiFi is the strongest. 🏠

Dress to Impress

Just because you’re in the comfort of your own home does not mean you shouldn’t make the effort in the same way you would if the interview was in person. The urge to be less formal because you’re in your own home is understandable, but it might send the wrong message about how interested you are in the role. Try to choose your outfit to the company’s culture as you understand it, but do dress up a bit, even if employees keep it super-casual. Whatever you choose should show well on camera as well as be professional. 👚

Sit in a brightly lit room

Your interviewer needs to be able to see your body language and facial expressions during your Zoom interview. Choose a room with good lighting, so they can easily see you. Setting your interview space facing a window that lets in a lot of natural lighting is a great way to make yourself more visible. Setting up with a window behind you can cast shadows on your face and make you appear to look like a silhouette. 💡

Silence your phone and switch off computer notifications

Before your Zoom interview, silence your phone and put it away. This way, you can focus on the interview rather than a text message or phone call. You should also turn off any notifications on your computer. Close out of any social media websites or anything else that could become a distraction. Set the Zoom meeting to full screen so that your interviewer is the only thing you can see. 📱

Charge and update your computer

Ideally, you should choose a spot where you can leave your laptop plugged in during the entirety of your interview so your device won’t risk losing battery. However, if your interview space doesn't have an outlet, make sure to fully charge your laptop before your interview. It is also best to ensure your computer doesn’t require any updates. If you were to accidentally click on the install update notification during your interview, this could cause your computer to restart mid-interview. By doing these updates a few hours before the interview, you can ensure your device is at its best. 🖥️

Maintain eye contact and body language

Maintaining eye contact with your interviewer is a sign of confidence and respect. Little gestures can make a big impact. Fidgeting with your hair or your clothes, checking your phone, or staring at yourself instead of connecting with the interviewer can make it seem like you’re disconnected or distracted. Look into the camera as you are speaking as this creates the illusion that you are looking at them rather than yourself or the screen. 👀

Don’t forget to pay attention to how you sound

During your practice, take note of how fast you speak, how you pause, and the tone and pitch of your voice. Ask the person you’re practicing with for any feedback or improvements you could make to sound clearer and easier to understand. For the sake of any interviewer with a bad connection, be sure to speak clearly and at a reasonable pace but keep it natural. Make sure you sound excited when discussing the things you’re passionate about and the role itself. 🔊

Log on a few minutes early

You wouldn’t walk into the building where a 3pm interview was being held at exactly 3pm or even at 2:59pm. Make sure you have all your interview materials, i.e. your resume, references, portfolio, etc., and that you’re comfortable and ready to speak. Prepare your computer well in advance by closing all extra windows and tabs and log on to Zoom at least 5 minutes early. That way you can check your surroundings, check the settings and be ready to go when the interview starts. 🕒

Ask questions

Prepare questions you have prior to the interview so you definitely have something to ask but also take mental notes of any new questions you may have as the interview goes on. If you don't have anything specific, ask a broad question about advancement opportunities in the company, something about the company culture, or what a typical day might look like on the job. You should avoid questions asking about what kind of personal time you get off, whether you can arrive early or late as long as you are doing the contracted hours, or any other benefit related questions. These things can be discussed later in the process.

Most importantly stay calm and enjoy the conversation! Technology develops at such a fast pace, so we have to be open to change and be comfortable with new challenges. No matter the changes in an interview process, the secret to being successful will always be the same: preparation and practice. 🎯

Resources:

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/zoom-job-interview-mistakes-to-avoid-5111830

https://www.themuse.com/advice/video-interview-tips

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/zoom-job-interview-mistakes-to-avoid-5111830

https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/interviewing/zoom-interview

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