Pandemic reshuffled our lives. Recruiting being no exception. In 2020, 86% of companies conducted virtual interviews when screening new candidates. Loads of job offers were extended fully remotely too. This trend is here to stay as employers have finally come to terms with the idea that remote recruiting (and remote work!) work like a charm. But this means you need to perform as well in Zoom interviews as you do in person.
How to Interview Well on Zoom
Regardless of whether you interview in person or via Zoom, your goals will remain the same:
Be confident, compelling, and engage the interviewer in the right conversation.
So, what is the difference between doing well on camera and in person? You’ll have to take a slightly different approach to pull off a successful video interview. That begins with ensuring your technology works impeccably. After all, you can’t appear confident and poised when you’re fumbling with your audio. Now for some additional Zoom interview tips.
1. Do Prepare Like You Would For a Normal Interview
Your Zoom video interview will likely unfold just like any other interview. That means you gotta go through all the standard interview prep steps such as:
- Research the company to learn about its mission and culture.
- Prepare a few questions for the interviewer to ask.
- Practice your answers to common interview questions.
- Plan to connect on time
- Dressing appropriately (like you would for an actual interview)
Speaking of the latter: yes, all of us now work from home and don’t wear a suit. But you shouldn’t roll into a Zoom interview wearing a stained hoodie or with some sauce smudged on your face after lunch. Be in top shape!
2. Don’t Use a Cutesy Background
Most Zoom users tested a bunch of cute and clever backgrounds from the app to hide the background mess. These are loads of fun, but you should keep them away from your Zoom interview. Why?
- Most look unprofessional and mildly distractive
- They sometimes glitch revealing the actual background
The best Zoom interview background is your clean, quiet workspace or just a plain wall.
3. Do Try Recording Yourself First
Do you cringe at the sound of your recorded voice? Chances are, you sound much better than you think. Still, there are some perfect reasons to record yourself on video and watch/listen to your performance.
Analyze how you answer questions. Do you kneecap your own responses? You do if you weaken your statements with words and phrases like, ‘just’, ‘sort of’, and ‘kind of’.
Next, check your body language. Are you slouching, crossing your arms, or shuffling papers around? Be aware that you might appear nervous, uninterested, or simply closed off. Practice better power poses. Also, keep your hands on your knees, especially if you really want to fidget with something for stress relief.
4. Don’t Speak Too Quickly
Practice speaking slowly, clearly, and distinctively. There’s going to be a delay in the delivery of your audio (latency) during your Zoom call. When you speak too quickly, the technology might catch up with you, which could lead to really awkward pauses. This can also lead to you and the interviewer speaking over one another.
5. Do Get Your Lighting Just Right
Bad lighting can be a real problem. Unfortunately, many people simply don’t know how to create flattering, professional lighting for in-home video.
So here are a few dead-simple tips:
- Light the whole room to get rid of shadows.
- Keep the light bright enough to see you, but not so bright it causes glare.
- Use natural light when you can,
- Don’t sit with a window behind you.
- Have lighting to your right and left, angled downward, so half of your face isn’t in the dark.
Again, do a quick recording of yourself from different places at the house to find a good corner.
6. Don’t Stare at Your Screen — Look Into The Camera
It’s natural to look at your screen. After all, that’s where your interviewer is. Unfortunately, to them, it appears as if you are looking away, or at some unknown object.
So instead of scrutinizing the screen, focus on the camera. This is like making eye contact. Feels a bit awkward at first, but a must-do for a good interview.
7. Do Refer to Your Notes
Getting used to Zoom interviews is stressful enough. So the last thing you need is to worry about forgetting something.
So before you jump on the call, place a quick list of notes within the direct eyesight (e.g. near your screen). Or pin them to the wall to your right behind the computer. So that when you try to collect your thoughts, you can take a quick sneak peek at your notes without giving it away.
8. Don’t Sit Too Close
Did you know that the best seats at a concert aren’t necessarily the front row? Sometimes, those seats are uncomfortably close, and you find yourself craning to see the action. The same is true for your Zoom interview. Sit back a little, so the interviewer is able to see you as they would in an in-person interview, instead of a blurry closeup of your face.
Plan Ahead For a Successful Virtual Interview
With a bit of practice, you can ace any Zoom interview. All you have to do is practice your interview style a bit and plan ahead. Create the perfect workspace, plan your lighting, and do a run-through before the live event. This will help you feel poised and confident!