Zoom interview tips have become more valuable than ever as employers are starting to see the benefits of virtual interviewing. And although the pandemic has made video interviews a necessity, the practice is likely to stay for the future. Therefore, it’s vital to understand the unique challenges that Zoom interviews bring with them. This article will go over the top 9 Zoom interview tips that will help you get your video interviewing skills to the next level.
Table of Contents
- What is a Zoom interview?
- What are the top 9 Zoom interview tips?
- 1. Download the app and test your technology
- 2. Use a Zoom interview background
- 3. Set up the workplace and limit distractions
- 4. Prepare as you would for an in-person interview
- 5. Dress professionally to impress
- 6. Write down questions to ask the interviewer
- 7. Practice your video interview skills
- 8. Use professional body language
- 9. Be authentic
- What should you avoid doing in a Zoom interview?
What is a Zoom Interview?
Simply put, a Zoom interview is a virtual interview conducted via the Zoom website or application. Zoom is a cloud-based software used for video conferences and virtual meetings. It can use chat, audio, video, or multiple communication channels at once, making it a perfect tool for job interviews. Users can access Zoom via the Zoom app or through web browser extensions. Zoom interviews have become an essential tool for human resources in the past year. And while the Zoom interview process is mostly the same as an in-person one, some aspects can catch even the most seasoned professionals off-guard.
How to Prepare for a Zoom Interview: 9 Tips
- Download the app and test your technology
If you take one thing away from these Zoom interview tips, let it be this. A video interview requires much more than just your confidence and a smile. You will need a reliable internet connection, the Zoom app, and a good camera and microphone. With this many tools at play, it’s best to check them at least a day before the interview. Download the application, check that your computer meets the technical specifications for running the software, and test if your connection is solid and fast enough.
If needed, ask a friend to get on a call with you and make sure you both can hear and see each other well. Or at least take the time to familiarize yourself with the Zoom application and learn the basics. Muting, unmuting, turning your camera on and off – these are all functions you might need during the interview. Needless to say, it’s best not to try and figure them out on the spot.
- Use a Zoom interview background
Virtual backgrounds are one of the most practical features of Zoom. Suppose you’re in a location that is too distracting, messy, or not professional enough. In that case, you can choose to use one of the Zoom interview backgrounds in the app. Zoom has a wide selection ranging from nature to plain colors, making picking one suitable for a job interview easier. Try to stay away from flashy, distracting backgrounds as a rule of thumb. Using a tropical jungle as a background might be great for a call with friends, but it doesn’t exude professionalism. Stick to simple, neutral-colored backgrounds for your Zoom interview.
This is, however, one of the Zoom interview tips that requires a little more preparation. If you want to use a background, you need to make an account on the Zoom app. From there, you will have the option to choose a Zoom interview background and activate it in your profile. Do this in advance to avoid unnecessary delays and stress during your interview.
- Set up the workplace and limit distractions
Try to find a quiet location with the least distractions for your interview. If possible, use a room that is clean and professional-looking. Even if you don’t have a dedicated office, try to find a professional background setup in the living room, guest bedroom, or even a cleared-out closet. To get the best angle for the interview, place your computer on a table at chest level instead of holding it in your lap.
If you live with other people, inform them of your interview and ask them to keep quiet. Similarly, try to place pets in another room for the duration of your interview. However, if you know that interruptions might occur during the interview, it’s worth mentioning it to the interviewer. This will help settle your nerves and show the interviewer that you aren’t afraid to address possible challenges.
- Prepare as you would for an in-person interview
Much like with any interview, preparing beforehand is the key to success. You might feel tempted to write down your answers and hide them out of the camera’s view but don’t. Remember that even a virtual interview should flow like a conversation and not like a script reading. The interviewer is still seeking a person they can see themselves working with. And while getting your personality and enthusiasm across is harder in a video interview, you should still do your best to show them why you are that person.
On top of that, you should prepare for all the things you’d expect from a traditional interview. That is, take the time to research the company and read through the job description carefully. Then prepare your answers to some of the most common interview questions. And, to substantiate these, think of examples of when you used your skills and qualifications. Finally, put together thoughtful questions that you can ask the interviewer.
- Dress professionally to impress
Although this might be one of the controversial Zoom interview tips, you should dress the same for a virtual as you would for a traditional one. Yes, that means pants are compulsory. Dressing for success will help you appear professional and feel more confident and prepared. If you’re unsure what attire to pick, business casual is a safe choice. For example, a simple button-down shirt with slacks or a skirt and a blazer will work for most Zoom interviews.
When picking out your outfit, make sure it looks good on camera. Some patterns and colors might be too distracting or look distorted on video. Similarly, tops with a lower neckline might look odd if your camera angle leaves them entirely out of frame. To be safe, aim for clothing in neutral colors with no distracting patterns or textures. Again, it is best to test out your outfit using the Zoom app the day before your interview.
- Write down questions to ask the interviewer
At the end of the interview, the interviewer will likely ask if you have any questions. Just like during an in-person interview, you don’t want to pass on this opportunity. So prepare your questions in advance and ask about what matters to you. You can write down your questions and keep them in front of you, but avoid just reading them out, as it will interrupt the conversational flow of the interview. Also, you can write down questions you think of during the interview. This will show that you’re engaged in the conversation and proactive.
If you want to keep a notepad with some key points and questions you want to raise, have it out during your practice as well. Whether you’re on a call with a friend or just recording yourself, this will allow you to see first-hand whether your notes aren’t more distracting than helpful. If you find yourself looking away from the screen or disrupting the conversation, it might be best to leave the notepad behind. Additionally, this process will help you memorize your key points, so you might not even need the notes in the end.
- Practice your video interview skills
If you’re not used to video chatting, you might find it a bit awkward at first. Ask a friend, family member, or a colleague to practice with you to overcome this. This will help you zero in on any speech or body language patterns you need to look out for.
Some people tend to look away from the screen, slouch, or make hand gestures out of frame in a video conference. Getting in a call with another person or recording yourself and watching it back can help you uncover these quirks and avoid them during your interview.
- Use professional body language
This is one of the most crucial Zoom interview tips that people often overlook. Video interviews significantly limit your ability to communicate non-verbally. For this reason, it’s critical to use your body language professionally. For example, if you are taken aback by an unexpected question, take a moment to think before you answer.
During your interview, sit up straight and look either at the screen or straight into the camera to imitate eye contact. Avoid looking at yourself on the screen – you will feel the need to fix your appearance constantly, and the interviewer will be able to tell. Find another way to show your enthusiasm instead of a handshake at the beginning and end of your interview. Smiling, holding eye contact, or slightly nodding your head can help you get your eagerness across.
- Be authentic
Zoom interviews grant you the rare opportunity to be in a familiar, relaxing environment. Take this chance to let your personality shine and show the interviewer who you are. Hiring managers want to see whether you’re a good fit for the job, depending on your character and qualifications. So, use facial expressions, body language, and speech to demonstrate why you are the perfect candidate for the job and a valuable asset to the company.
What should you avoid doing in a Zoom interview?
During a Zoom interview, it’s important to be mindful of certain behaviors to avoid making a negative impression. Here are some things you should avoid doing:
- Not preparing adequately: Just like an in-person interview, it’s crucial to prepare for a Zoom interview. Research the company, practice common interview questions, and be ready to discuss your skills and experiences.
- Neglecting technology preparation: Test your internet connection, audio, and video quality before the interview. Familiarize yourself with the Zoom platform and its features to ensure a smooth interview experience.
- Having a distracting or unprofessional background: Choose a quiet and well-lit space for your interview. Remove any clutter or distractions from the background. Consider using a virtual background or creating a professional setting.
- Dressing inappropriately: Dress professionally for a Zoom interview, just as you would for an in-person interview. Choose attire that aligns with the company culture and the position you’re applying for.
- Not maintaining eye contact: Look directly into the camera to create the impression of eye contact. Avoid constantly looking at your own video feed or other distractions on your screen.
- Being unengaged or distracted: Show enthusiasm and engagement throughout the interview. Avoid multitasking, checking your phone, or appearing disinterested. Give your full attention to the interviewer.
- Interrupting or speaking over others: Listen carefully to the interviewer and avoid interrupting them. Wait for your turn to speak and be respectful of the conversation flow.
- Neglecting body language: Sit up straight, maintain good posture, and use appropriate hand gestures. Avoid slouching, fidgeting, or distracting gestures. Maintain a professional and attentive demeanor.
- Not asking thoughtful questions: Prepare questions to ask the interviewer to demonstrate your interest and engagement. Avoid asking questions that can easily be found through basic research.
- Not following up after the interview: Take the opportunity to send a thank-you email or note to the interviewer(s) after the Zoom interview. Express your gratitude for the opportunity and reiterate your interest in the position.