Tips and tricks for landing your dream role in the virtual space we currently occupy.
Over the past year, we’ve all made a plethora of adjustments to a virtual world instigated by the COVID-19 pandemic. While it’s rarely “fun” to be sitting in Zoom meetings all day, the Zoom interview is not so different from an in-person interview as you might think.
While on a Zoom meeting you’re interacting with coworkers who you’ve likely met in-person at some point, on a Zoom interview screen you have the opportunity to convince strangers that the energy and enthusiasm you bring will brighten up their Zoom screens.
Anxiety is always normal prior to an interview but, believe me, it’s not hard to make a positive, lasting impression on a Zoom interview (or other form of virtual interview). And, don’t just take my word for it — here are a multitude of Zoom interview tips to help you land that role.
5 Tips to Ace Your Zoom Interview
Check Your Tech Equipment
From ensuring your WiFi signal is strong to making sure that your laptop is charged and that you’ve downloaded the latest version of Zoom or other video conferencing software, these steps are new to the Zoom interview but nevertheless are the low-hanging fruit you can ace. If your laptop dies on you, you will undoubtedly stand out from the pack — and not for the better.
Whether it be asking your spouse to watch the children or informing your roommates of your interview, eliminate all possible distractions. Make sure that all members of your household are aware that you have an interview and can help take care of your neighbor who always rings the doorbell at 10am, or deal with the scheduled maintenance worker arriving in the middle of your interview slot.
Focus on the Screen
Just as it would appear unprofessional to be looking out the window or staring at a clock during an in-person interview, it is similarly bad form to be looking away from your screen during your Zoom interview. Focus on the screen, particularly the camera — not your own image on the Zoom interview screen.
You should also ensure that you are at eye-level with the camera, not looking at it from above or below. While your interviewer will not notice the effort you’ve made to ensure you look presentable on the Zoom interview, they will notice if you’re looking at the camera from a strange angle or keep peeking at your dog from the corner of your eye.
It can be tempting to roll out of bed and onto your Zoom interview, but it is important to dress appropriately. As a fail-safe, I think it’s best to dress professionally from head to toe. I’ve personally been on virtual interviews where we’ve done group stretches and having to stand up and reveal my sweatpants would have been embarrassing.
That being said, it is most important to dress professionally from the waist and up, so a shirt that fits you well and won’t have you fidgeting and subtle accessories that won’t distract from your interview is essential. If needed, avoid flashy colors and confusing patterns, particularly if you don’t have a neutral background in your home.
Finally, as you would with an in-person interview, do your research. Figure out who’s interviewing you, the role they play in the company, their previous experience, and how you may be working with them in the future.
Take time to also delve into the company and team extensively, so you can be prepared with a list of thoughtful questions for your future employers, and show your enthusiasm and interest for the role by referring to aspects of the company that you could have only known through careful and detailed research.
Zoom Interview Dos and Don'ts
In addition to the five Zoom interview tips outlined above, here are a few dos and don’ts to make sure you succeed in landing that role:
Do test your lighting beforehand. For example, your lighting situation could mean that you need to wear a brighter colored shirt than you normally would so that it appears a normal shade on the Zoom interview screen.
Don’t use a default Zoom background. Instead, ensure that your background is clean and professional. While it can be tempting to use a Zoom background, they can also be distracting when you move.
Do check that your glasses aren’t reflecting the screen in a distracting manner.
Don’tpoint out any eccentricities in the background of your interviewer’s screen.
Don’tignore your body language and how it comes across on-screen.
Do practice speaking slowly and articulately.
Don’t ignore your sound quality — wear a headset or earphones if that will improve your sound.
Dowear an outfit that makes you feel confident.
Don’tbe late to the Zoom interview!
Don’tlook at your phone (or even bring it into the same room as your interview!).
Do check to see if there are any time zone differences.
I hope these Zoom interview tips have helped to calm any anxieties you may have ahead of your conversation. While it certainly isn’t an easy experience, it also isn’t more difficult than an in-person interview can be, so chin up, remain confident, and good luck!
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Keertana Anandraj is a recent college grad living in San Francisco. When she isn’t conducting international macroeconomic research at her day job, you can find her in the spin room or planning her next adventure.
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