Zoom interviews for jobs are becoming the norm. Even before the pandemic began, many companies started using video calls as a form of preliminary interviews before calling candidates in for a final round (our rounds) of in-person meet and greets.
Whether you’re new to video interviews or just want to brush up on etiquette, this post will cover things to think about to prepare for before your Zoom interview.
How to Do a Zoom Job Interview
As a hiring manager and someone who has been through the process as an interviewee, it’s important to do some recon on the situation you’re about to be in so you spend less time worrying and being anxious, and more time focusing on having a truthful, engaging conversation with your potential new employers.
With that in mind, here are some tips on how to do a Zoom, or video conferencing, job interview that will help you feel more cool, calm, and confident.
1. Make it real
While you’re on video and not in person, it’s important to “walk” into the situation with the same mindset you’d have if you were meeting someone in person. Things like posture and presentation are still important so be sure to bring your A-game to a video interview, just as you would to an in-person interview.
2. Shoot your shot
Set up your shot so you’re centered and your background is uncluttered. Try to make sure you’re conducting the call in a low-traffic, low-noise environment so there are no interruptions. It’s also important to make sure your background is clean and simple, as tchotchke-laden books cases or backgrounds can often be distracting and make other people on the call lose focus on what you’re saying.
3. Houston, we have a problem
Test your tech ahead of time. If you’re not familiar with Zoom or the video conferencing platform being used for the interview, be sure to test it out before the interview, at least a day or two in advance. Set up a call with a friend so you know how the interface works and that your headphones, mic, and other tech all work together. Nothing derails a conversation faster than people not being able to see or hear each other.
4. The eyes have it
Eye contact still counts! One of the things we’ve probably all fallen victim to? Looking at ourselves during video conferencing. While it’s nice to steal a quick glance now and then to ensure you’re still in frame or that you’re presenting yourself properly, it can be distracting! With that in mind, be sure to use speaker view in Zoom instead of gallery so you’re not tempted to steal too many glances while you’re talking to someone else.
If the interview is being conducted by multiple people, speaker view may not be the best option, but make a conscious effort to look at others, especially the ones that are talking.
5. Practice makes perfect
Interviews in general can be a bit nerve-wracking, whether you’ve been out of work for a while or at the same job for a while, it’s important to brush up on your skills. Find a family member or a friend who will conduct a mock interview with you so you can practice talking about your experience and the company with which you’re interviewing so that you’re not stiff and uncomfortable when the time comes.
6. Handshakes but digitally
With an in-person interview, you get that moment at the beginning where you enter the room, shake hands, and make some small talk while everything is winding up for the main conversation. With Zoom interviews, it’s a bit different. You’re in a waiting room and then suddenly your interviewer or a panel are right there. It can feel like you need to launch into the serious stuff right away, but don’t.
Be sure to greet everyone on the call and present yourself as friendly and approachable. Ask something you’d ask in an in-person interview like “How is everyone’s day so far?” Just be sure to come across as natural and not forced. If small-talk isn’t your thing, practice! People are put at ease when they feel like an interviewee is open and approachable from the first moment.
7. Serve face
Have you ever been in a situation where you think “Oof, I didn’t mean to make that face out loud?” It’s even more important on Zoom interviews to be aware of your facial expressions because your conversation with your interviewer is more basically focused than an in-person interview where people may look away to look down at your resume or to the side at something behind you or in the room.
While you shouldn’t fret every second over what your face looks like, it might be nice to have a post-it note or reminder to “Smile, you’re on camera.”
8. Mind the gap
Be prepared for things like delays in sound that can cause conversations to become stilted. It’s 100% ok to say something about sound if you feel like it’s too noisy, lagging, or otherwise distracting.
9. Do your research
This goes for all interviews, regardless of where they’re happening! Be sure to bring to the table a comment about recent social media posts or blogs as well as questions about the company that show your interviewer that you’re interested in the company and not just interviewing with whomever called you back (even if that is in fact, the case).
10. Interviewee, Mute Thyself!
If you’re like me, an excited talker, it can be too easy to want to hop on an idea right away. This doesn’t always lend itself to the best kinds of interview conversations. In order to keep your background quiet and to prevent yourself from interrupting your interviewer, you may want to consider putting yourself on mute while others are talking. This may also help you focus on what they’re saying.
If you do this, just remember to unmute yourself before you start speaking!
The Best Zoom Interview Tip
Be real. Regardless of the interview situation, you’re in, it’s important for you to be your authentic self. If you feel like you can’t do that or people you’re speaking to wouldn’t be open to it, it might be an indicator that the expectations and culture of the business don’t match with yours. If you’re planning on working somewhere for the long haul, it’s important that you feel comfortable speaking your mind and bringing your real self to the table.