You did it! You got an interview and you’re now one step away from your dream job. The only detail? It’s a Zoom interview. How to prepare? What should you wear? What setup do you need? Don’t panic, we gathered for you 10 tips to maximise your chance of success during your Zoom interview.
Before we dive in - what is a Zoom interview?
In the past few months, Zoom interviews have become more and more popular. Zoom is a video conferencing software used by many companies for their recruitment process and internal communications for remote teams.
It’s quite easy to use, however you’re strongly encouraged to get familiar with it in order to prepare your interview.
Preparing your interview - 10 important tips
1. Look professional
Ever seen these funny videos about conference calls where one person looks formally dressed, then gets up and accidentally shows their PJ’s pants? As amusing as it can be, you should definitely not follow this example.
Wear what you’d wear for a face-to-face interview. If the job requires you to wear business attire everyday, it’s most likely what you’ll want to wear during your interview. Of course this varies depending on the industry and the position, but a professional outfit over a casual look is usually the way to go for an interview.
2. Set up your interview space
Your setup is a very important part of the preparation. In which part of your home will you be sitting? Can anything potentially disturb you? What will your interviewer(s) see on their screen?
One of the benefits of a Zoom interview is that you are in the comfort of your own home. Make sure to have a professional setting: your computer should be on a desk with minimal clutter around, good lighting and importantly a neutral background.
A white wall is your best option. Don’t have a white wall at home? 2 solutions:
- Make sure your environment is super tidy, you’ll look neat and organised.
- Use a virtual background. This Zoom functionality allows you to upload a photo of your choice as your background. Pick a neutral image and avoid anything too flashy.
3. Let your household know about your interview
Being interviewed for a role is stressful enough, you don’t want to make it worse with unpleasant surprises.
If you live with other people who are likely to be home during your interview, give them a gentle warning to make sure they won’t disturb you.
4. Know your way around Zoom
As we said before, you don’t want to deal with unnecessary stress. One issue that can be avoided is the use of unknown technology.
Get familiar with Zoom. Download the app and have a go at it. There are a few settings you can tweak to make your experience even smoother:
- You can set up reminders before your upcoming meetings (not that you’d forget about that interview)
- In the video settings, you can enable HD video and touch up your appearance (these unwanted skin imperfections tend to appear at the worst time…)
- If you’re using headphones, make sure that the right mic input is selected, you don’t want to make your interviewers wait awkwardly while fixing technical issues
- In the profile settings, double check that your profile name looks professional (with your first and last names).
The more you’ll feel comfortable using the software, the less you’ll stress about your interview.
5. Be on time
This one is a no brainer. You wouldn’t be late to an in-person interview, the same goes with video calls. However, there is a big difference.
While you’d show up 10 or even 15 minutes early for an interview on site, you want to access the Zoom interview maximum 3 minutes in advance. The reason? When setting up interviews, hiring managers most often create a “meeting room”, especially if other remote interviewers are attending. This means that the meeting link you’ve been sent is potentially the same link sent to other candidates.
By entering the meeting room too long in advance, you take the risk to pop up in the middle of another interview or during the interviewers’ debrief.
6. Sit straight and don’t look away
While a handshake and eye contact are important to make a good first impression, a Zoom interview gives you less space (literally) to succeed in that matter. So how can you make a good impression?
We previously mentioned the benefit of being interviewed at home: comfort. While you’ll want to sit in a comfortable chair, don’t look slumped. Sit with your back straight and your feet planted on the ground.
What about eye contact? During a video call, we are all tempted to look directly at our screen when speaking. The problem is, all your interviewers can see on their end is you looking down. The solution? Every time you address them, look straight into the camera. It will give them the impression that you are looking at them in the eyes.
And don’t forget about that smile :).
7. Mute yourself when needed
A good skill to have while on a video call is the ability to know when to mute yourself. If your interviewers are speaking for a long time, you’ll want to turn off your mic to avoid disturbing them with your background noise.
It’s actually pretty astounding what one can hear on a video conference. Think those birds outside are too far away to be heard? Wrong. Make this experience as seamless as possible for you and for them.
8. Practise with mock interviews
You know the saying “practice makes perfect”. A Zoom interview is no different. Practice will help you prepare your answers to common interview questions, be comfortable with the software and test your environment.
Ask a friend if they can help you by being your interviewer. Prepare yourself as if it was your big day: dress up, sit at your desk, and have everything ready. To make the best out of this experience, record your interview on Zoom so you can watch it later and assess what’s working and what’s not.
9. Put your cheatsheet close by
Another benefit of video interviews is that you can have your cheat sheet handy and look at it more discreetly than during a face-to-face interview.
Place your cheatsheet close to your computer so that when you look at it your gaze doesn’t go too far. Do not overload it: you want to find the information quickly and with one word or two. By writing long sentences, you’ll be tempted to read and your answers will sound less confident and natural.
10. Be free of distraction
Whether you’re practising or attending your interview for real, you should get rid of any source of distraction.
Your only focus is the interview, so make sure that:
- Your phone is in complete silent mode (not even vibrate mode). The best way to do it is to turn on the Do Not Disturb setting that will block all calls and notifications.
- All the programs, including unnecessary browser tabs are shut on your computer.
- Your computer is either on charge or has a full battery.
- The window is closed as well as the door if other people and/or pets are at home
- Make sure your computer is up to date, you’d hate to have the automatic restart happening just before or during your interview…
Show your interviewers that you are focused: look at them when they speak, nod from time to time and avoid looking away too often.
In addition, don’t forget to prepare for the interview as you would for any interview: have your answers to the most common questions ready, come up with relevant questions for the recruiters and be professional.
You are now ready to rock your Zoom interview. Go get that job!