Unwavering uncertainty is the name of the game this year… still. This includes searching for jobs and starting down new paths even despite all that has been going on. Oftentimes, the first step in these new exciting directions is an interview! Unfortunately for us, Zooming for interviews has become a necessity over the last few months.
But Zoom interviews aren’t so different from regular interviews, after all. You still have to come prepared, show your best self, and speak with confidence and clarity to show why you are the best fit for the job (or whatever else your interview might be about!). So as you prepare for your zoom interviews coming up, remember these ten important zoom interview tips you must follow…
1. Camera On (if literally at all possible)
Unless it is absolutely not possible for you to turn your camera on, do it. Without it the interview will feel very distant and impersonal. Showing up on camera will be the closest thing you will get to a “normal” interview for a while, so do what you can to help it run smoothly. Plus, with your camera on, the interviewer will also be made to feel more comfortable and normal about the situation- the connection between the two of you will grow stronger and you will feel like you actually got to know each other as opposed to a blind phone call.
If you are unable to have you camera on- if your computer is broken or it doesn’t work for another reason, be sure to let your interviewer know far in advance. That way you will not give the impression of being nervous and unprepared; but your reasoning for having the camera off will be understood early on.
2. Find a Quiet Space with Few Distractions
Quarantine has pushed many of us back into our childhood homes, with parents and siblings and other relatives. Whether this is your situation most of the time or all of the time, it has no doubt become harder to find a nice quiet space all to yourself. But for the hour or so of your zoom interview, this setup is crucial. Find a space that you can reserve for just you and your (virtual) interviewer. Take away any other distractions surrounding you- turn the tv off and shut the door to the rest of the world. Putting yourself into the interview zone will be even more important over zoom than in person, and more difficult, too. So make sure to find a space for yourself to keep from getting interrupted and distracted throughout the call.
3. Test Your Computer Features Beforehand
Computers are not always the most reliable pieces of equipment. Microphones break and cameras go out, so you have to be prepared for the potential technical difficulties. While it’s not always possible to prevent every single possible mishap, checking your systems beforehand is a surefire way to be prepared as you can be.
To do this, have a friend help you out. Hop on a zoom call with them the day or a few hours before your zoom interview. Make sure they can hear you well, see you well, and that your computer is functioning to the best of its ability.
4. Lighting is Key
When setting up your zoom interview location and set up, it is important to think about the lighting. If you are too backlit or unlit in general, it will be extremely hard for your interviewer to see you. Without them being able to fully see your face, they will most likely not be paying attention to the content of what you are saying, rather distracted about how to see you better. Having a well lit and semi-professional lighting setup is crucial from the beginning to the end of the call.
Set up tips:
Have the light source in front of you, behind the camera- that way the entire frame of the zoom call is completely lit up without shadows or dark spots.
Use a natural light source if possible- an intense and unnatural light bulb will be equally distracting to the others on the call. Make sure your lighting is as natural as possible.
If you can’t use natural light, turn on as many lights in the room as you can- use these other lights in the room to balance out the light source in front of you (you don’t want a single spotlight, after all).
5. Clean Your Background
Another point to keep you and your interviewer from getting distracted, a clean background is also super important. It won’t take too long to clean that couple-square-foot in-frame area of your bedroom. So make sure to have no clutter, clothes, thrown pillows or blankets or towels behind you as you speak.
6. Camera at Face-Level
An awkward camera angle is another thing to look out for when setting up your zoom interview space. If possible, have your camera at face level, or at least close to it. Looking too far up or too far down is really uncomfortable and will probably not show you in your best light. The most natural way to speak to someone is eye-to-eye, so try your best to replicate this in your zoom interview. If you need to practice where your camera should be, this is another great time to employ a friend of yours and take their suggestions as to how you should adjust.
7. Know Your Audience
Preparing for a zoom call or zoom interview can be very different depending on who you are going to be talking to. Make sure you determine who exactly your interview will be with, recall what the interview is for- is it a potential job, a Q & A, something else, and based on these answers decide how you want to present yourself. While you might not have to pay too much (if any) attention to what you wear on the bottom, your top, makeup, hair and anything else visible just might be a very important aspect to focus on. If it’s an interview you really want to impress for, throw on a nice lip color or skin-toning makeup product. It doesn’t have to be anything too fancy, but a little will definitely go a long way for a video call.
8. Wear a Rich but Solid Color
Deciding what to wear to any interview can be a super nerve wracking thing! This time, as mentioned before, you might not have to worry too much about your pants, but you should still be strategic with the top you choose to show. One good tip is to wear a rich but solid color. A rich and noticeable color will be sure to help you stand out on the screen. You will be sure not to fade in with the background and it will be a great way to frame where you are in the zoom interview space. A solid color is a good option to go for because any crazy prints or patterns can be hard to look at over a screen for too long, even causing some people to get headaches for looking at it too long (we do not want this!). So your best bet is to wear a color that’ll make you stand out, but a solid that will help you stay easy on the eyes through the camera lens.
Pinks, yellows, blues and greens are all great options!
9. Pay Attention to the Other Zoomers
Is zoomers a thing? Anyway, make sure to really pay attention to the other people on the line of the zoom interview. It is really easy to get distracted by your own reflection or lose focus because you aren’t in person. You must make it your mission to be completely engaged in the other speakers throughout your call. One tip: keep your camera on, but hide your picture from yourself. That way, you have nothing to look at or fix about yourself.
10. Remember, It’s Just Like Any Other Interview (mostly)
A zoom interview is actually super similar to any other in-person or “normal” interview, despite the big piece of technology sitting in between. But even though it is through a screen, the same rules and suggestions of preparing thoroughly beforehand, staying calm, collected and confident, and being true to yourself reign true.
A zoom interview is a great way to start job searching, connecting with people, and figuring out what’s in store for you next even though many of us have been stuck without these opportunities- at home in quarantine- for so long. So take your zoom interview just as you would a regular one. Come prepared, set yourself and your surroundings up for success, and focus on the details of what you are saying and what the interviewer is saying throughout the entire discussion.
Oh, and good luck!