As you probably know, in today’s job market, landing an interview can mean jumping through a lot of hoops first and then being lucky enough to maybe land a first interview on Zoom. This is common especially when you are working virtually and not in a physical office.
To help you ace your next Zoom interview, here are some essential tips to keep in mind.
1. Prepare Your Tech
Before the interview, there are a few steps you want to take to make sure you are ready.
Make sure you have a stable and high-speed internet connection to prevent lags or disconnections during the interview.
Test your camera and microphone to ensure they work correctly. Adjust the angle and lighting to ensure you’re well-lit and clearly visible.
Download the Zoom app and familiarize yourself with its features, such as mute/unmute, screen sharing, and virtual backgrounds.
Have a backup device ready in case of technical issues with your primary one. Share your phone number with the interviewer in case you need to switch to a phone call.
2. Choose the Right Location
It may seem like simply setting up your laptop and going on camera, but choosing the right location takes a little more than that.
You want to find a quiet, well-lit room where you won’t be interrupted by family members, pets, or background noise.
Opt for a clean and uncluttered background. Consider using Zoom’s virtual background feature if your surroundings are not ideal so it blurs them out.
Sit in a comfortable chair with good posture, and ensure that your face is well-lit, preferably with natural light (but don’t sit directly in front of a window, it will put you in a shadow. Make sure natural light comes in from the side or front of you.) Also, make sure that on screen, your face is seen. Not the top of your head, chest, or ceiling. You can do a test run on Zoom to make sure you have it set up in just the right way.
3. Dress Professionally
Even though you’re not meeting in person, dressing professionally is important.
Stick to solid, neutral colors as patterns or bright colors can be distracting on camera.
Pay attention to personal grooming, including hair, makeup, and facial hair.
4. Test Run
It helps with anxiety if you practice beforehand. You can ask a trusted friend to record a mock interview with you so you get used to the format, identify any potential issues with sound or video and you can see how you come across on camera.
5. Body Language Matters
Maintain eye contact by looking at the camera rather than the interviewer’s face on the screen.
Sit up straight with your shoulders back to convey confidence and professionalism.
Use natural hand gestures to emphasize your points, but avoid excessive movement. Keep in mind, if you are using a virtual background, every movement looks a little odd because it cuts out at times and they can’t see what you are doing. It’s a bit distracting.
6. Prepare Your Environment
Have a printed copy of your resume and any notes you might need within easy reach.
Keep a pen and paper handy to jot down important information or questions.
Have a glass of water nearby in case you need it, but avoid noisy containers.
Be mindful also of not chewing gum or eating while you are on the interview. Treat it as you would if you were in person.
7. Be Mindful of Time
Be on time for the interview and don’t keep the interviewer waiting. You can usually log in a few minutes early and you will be put in a waiting room until the interviewer is ready to go.
Keep your responses clear and concise. Don’t be robotic, but don’t provide long drawn out explanations of your answers unless it is required.
Have questions ready as well. Not only is the interviewer checking you out, but this is an opportunity for you to check them out as well to make sure it is a fit if you decide to move forward.
8. Stay Engaged
Show that you’re engaged by nodding and using verbal cues like “I understand” or “That’s a great point.”
Do your research on the company so you have thoughtful questions about the company and role ready to go during the interview to demonstrate your interest.
Send a thank-you email within 24 hours to express your gratitude for the opportunity and reiterate your interest.
9. Manage Nervousness
Nerves are normal during an interview. It can be a bit stressful, but there are ways to calm them that even the interviewer won’t be able to tell you are doing.
Take deep breaths to calm your nerves before and during the interview.
Techniques like meditation or visualization can help reduce anxiety in your time before the interview.
Go into the interview silently reminding yourself of your qualifications and the value you would bring to the company.
10. Learn and Adapt
If you don’t succeed in an interview, ask for feedback to improve for future opportunities. Take the feedback seriously and incorporate it into your interview approach in the future.
Remember, in this new online world, people like having the option of doing more with their time. That is why a Zoom interview is so popular, as there is no travel. Zoom may be something you are used to now, or something you are still adapting to, but with proper preparation and a professional demeanor, you can make a lasting impression even on Zoom.
Remember, the same fundamentals of a successful interview apply, even in the virtual realm. Good luck!
If there is any way I can help you get ready for your interview, please reach out. I would love to do a mock interview with you, give you pointers and hear about the results afterward!