It’s 2021 and Zoom is now a part of the digital interview process. With the job market improving, you want to show potential employees you’re a qualified candidate and put your best face forward. To do this, you’ll need a good grasp of Zoom’s best practices and its functions. These tips also work for other video chat formats too!
Use the mute button
Zoom offers audio muting. This is a great feature to use while your interviewer is speaking so they can’t hear anything on your end. This can be the dog barking, your kids, or street noise. It’s also great if you start sneezing or coughing so your interviewer doesn’t get an earful of that either. Mute helps your interviewer stay focused on you.
Look into the camera while speaking
During an in-person interview, we all know how important it is to maintain eye contact with your interviewer. Video chat makes this a bit tricky, because if you look them in the eye on your screen, it probably does not look like that on their end. Instead, look into the camera as you are speaking. This creates the illusion that you are looking at them rather than yourself or the screen.
Choose a professional background
When setting up your computer, choose an area that is neat with minimal items on your desk area. Make sure your background is simple and only has professional-looking items in the background. It’s best to set up in front of a blank wall or a few tasteful decorations so that the interviewer focuses on you, not your surroundings. Zoom has some free backgrounds but I find these are not appropriate for an interview unless you are interviewing to work on a beach or in a garden.
Check the area lighting
Your interviewer needs to be able to see your body language and facial expressions during your Zoom interview. Choose a room with good lighting, so they can easily see you. Facing a window that lets in natural lighting is a great way to make yourself more visible. Setting up with a window or lights behind you can cast shadows on your face, and make you appear to look like a silhouette or washed out.
Pick a quiet space
Choose an area that is quiet and distraction free. It’s best if you can use a room where you can shut the door for maximum privacy.
Silence your phone and any other noise makers
Before your Zoom interview, silence your phone and put it away 15 minutes prior to your interview. Clear your mind and focus on preparing for your important meeting. Also make sure the television, digital personal assistants, music, etc. are turned off.
Turn off notifications
Along with turning off your phone, you should also turn off any notifications on your computer. Close out of any social media websites or anything else that could become a distraction. The only program open should be Zoom. Set the Zoom meeting to full screen so that your interviewer is the only thing you can see.
Use a laptop or computer
Although Zoom has a mobile app, it's better to use it on a desktop computer or laptop. Having your computer on a table creates a more stationary view of yourself while holding your phone in your hand could cause camera shake. Your computer camera also gives the interviewer a better view of yourself and tends to come in clearer. If you don’t have a laptop or computer, or the camera is clearer on your mobile devices, think about investing in a stand for the device so you can use it hands-free during your interview, and also get the best angle for your interviewer to see you.
Charge your laptop
If your interview space doesn't have an outlet, make sure to fully charge your laptop before your interview. Ideally, you should choose a spot where you can leave your laptop plugged in during the entirety of your interview. This way, your device can last throughout a lengthy conversation.
Update your computer
Always check to make sure you have the newest edition of Zoom prior to your meeting. Also, always update your computer software prior to your interview. Many updates are set for specific times. If that happens your computer would restart during your interview.
Find a good internet connection
The basis of a smooth video chat is a strong internet connection. Without this, your screen may freeze, your audio may fade in and out, and the image and audio may be choppy. Not the environment you need when looking for your next job! Test out your connection prior to your Zoom interview by setting up in your interview space. If you can stream other types of video or do a test call on Zoom with other people, you should be ready for the real Zoom meeting.
Practice using Zoom
Practice makes perfect and using video chat is no different. Get to know how Zoom functions, its various settings, and all its capabilities. Do some test runs with the software with family and friends Test out the software by having video chats with friends and family. See how it feels to do a video interview with some practice interviews by having your friends and family ask you some questions, and give you some feedback afterward.
Practice using the Zoom Record function
Video chat seems to bring out all our body language quirks. Record yourself while practicing with friends or even by yourself. Then play it back to see how you look on video. If you notice anything unnatural or nervous in your presentation – too big or too small smile, lots of eye blinks, looking down, slouching, clenching your jaw, etc. – you can adjust how your come across on video. Remember those practice interviews we just talked about? Record those too and watch them back to make improvements in your appearance, voice and body language.
Wear professional attire (Yes, that means pants)
Dress exactly how you would during an in-person interview. This means you should wear your nicest business attire. Even if the interviewer cannot see your legs, still wear nice bottoms to feel fully prepared and professional. And this protects you just in case you have a camera malfunction showing off your bottom half.
Maintain your focus
While your interviewer is speaking, keep your focus on the screen. Like you would with an in-person interview, show them that you are paying attention to what they have to say through active listening. Use the same techniques you would use in an in-person interview – nodding as they speak, acknowledging what they say, and asking questions.
Use typical body language you would use in an in person interview
Since you can see each other during a video chat, make sure you aim for the same body language you would use if you were interviewing in person. During your interview, sit up straight with your hands in your lap and your feet on the floor. Make sure your chair is comfortable so you don’t fidget. Be as natural as possible, so use your hands while speaking if that is normal for you. When your interviewer speaks, nod and smile to show that you are listening.
Ask & Answer your interviewer questions but don’t interrupt
The interview process should be a conversation, but you’ll want to be a bit cautious of when you answer. With varying internet speeds, there can be a delay in what someone says in his/her microphone (and the image on screen) and what you hear and see on your end. After it appears your interviewer is through speaking, wait two or three extra seconds before you begin to answer. Just like in an in-person interview, take notes during the interview so you can ask any questions you have.
Learning a new skill can be challenging, but with practice you can shine in your next interview. If you have questions or need help, contact me at Your Tech Lady. Help is only a call or message away!