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Understanding Zoom Interviews

As technology advances, more employers are turning to video conferencing software like Zoom for interviews. Whether for remote positions or initial screenings, these interviews require a different approach than traditional in-person meetings. To ensure your success, consider the following factors. 

On this page, we will delve into what Zoom interviews entail and provide you with 18 invaluable tips to help you prepare for your next Zoom interview. 

What is a Zoom Interview?

A Zoom interview is a virtual interview conducted using Zoom or a similar platform such as Microsoft Teams. For this example, we will continue to speak towards Zoom. Zoom offers various tools such as screen sharing, text chat, video recording, and muting. By learning to use these tools effectively, you can optimise your next video interview experience. 

Tips for Succeeding in Zoom Interviews: 

Utilise the mute button: During extended periods when the interviewer speaks, use the mute button to eliminate background noise from your end. This feature proves particularly useful if there are distractions in your household, such as barking dogs or playful children. Muting yourself allows the interviewer to focus on delivering their message uninterrupted. 

Maintain eye contact with the camera: While in-person interviews require maintaining eye contact with the interviewer, video chat presents a different dynamic. Instead, look directly into the camera when speaking. This creates the illusion that you are making eye contact with the interviewer, rather than with yourself or the screen. 

Opt for a professional background: Select a tidy, clutter-free area as your interview space. Your background should appear professional and devoid of distractions. Setting up against a blank wall or tastefully decorated backdrop conveys organisation and attention to detail. 

Ensure good lighting: For your interviewer to perceive your body language and facial expressions clearly, choose a well-lit room. Position yourself facing a window to benefit from natural light, as having a window behind you may cast shadows on your face and obscure visibility. 

Select a quiet environment: Designate a quiet space, free from disturbances, to allow your interviewer’s undivided attention. Ideally, find a room where you can close the door to minimise noise. Shut windows, turn off music or the television, and create an atmosphere conducive to a focused conversation. 

Silence your phone: Before the interview, silence your phone and keep it out of sight. By doing so, you can fully concentrate on the interview without the distraction of text messages or phone calls. Consider putting your phone away for at least 10 minutes prior to the interview to clear your mind and prepare. 

Stay focused: Demonstrate active listening during the interview by maintaining your focus on the screen while the interviewer speaks. Affirm their statements, nod in agreement, and ask questions based on their comments, just as you would in an in-person interview. 

Turn off notifications: In addition to silencing your phone, disable any notifications on your computer. Close social media websites and other potential distractions. Optimise the Zoom meeting to full screen mode, ensuring that the interviewer is the sole focus of your attention. 

Use a laptop or computer: While Zoom has a mobile app, it is preferable to use the software on a desktop computer or laptop. A stationary view from your computer allows for a more stable visual experience, as holding a phone in your hand may cause the camera to shake. Additionally, a computer camera provides a clearer and more detailed image to the interviewer. 

Charge your laptop: If your interview space lacks power outlets, fully charge your laptop beforehand. Ideally, position yourself in a spot where you can keep your device plugged in throughout the entire interview. This ensures your device remains powered for the duration of an extensive conversation. 

Update your computer: Ensure that you have the latest version of Zoom installed prior to the interview. Additionally, perform a full system update on your computer well in advance. Accidentally clicking on an update notification during the interview may cause your computer to restart. By completing these updates a few hours beforehand, you can ensure your device is optimised. 

Secure a stable internet connection: Test your internet connection and the location where you plan to conduct the interview. If you can stream videos or engage in Zoom calls without issues, it indicates a reliable connection for your interview. 

Communicate with your household: If you share your living space with others, inform them about your interview schedule and location. Remind them to maintain a quiet environment and refrain from interrupting until you have finished. Ideally, have your household members occupy a separate room to help you stay focused. 

Dress professionally: Dress in appropriate attire for your industry, just as you would for an in-person interview. Adhering to the company’s dress code, if known, is recommended. Browse through photos on the company’s website to gain insight into the expected attire. 

Keep your screen clutter-free: If you anticipate utilising the screen sharing feature, ensure that you close all unnecessary windows and applications beforehand. This minimises the chances of unexpected audio or video playback. Streamlining your screen helps facilitate an efficient and distraction-free Zoom call.  

Familiarise yourself with Zoom: Take the time to explore Zoom and familiarise yourself with its features. Test the software by engaging in video chats with friends or family members. You could even conduct mock interviews to simulate the experience. Have your loved ones ask you typical interview questions and provide feedback afterward.

Utilise appropriate body language: Video chat allows both parties to observe body language and facial expressions. Sit up straight, place your hands in your lap, and keep your feet on the floor. Feel free to use natural hand gestures when speaking, if it aligns with your usual communication style. Display active listening by nodding and smiling when the interviewer speaks.

Ask thoughtful questions: Throughout the interview, take note of any questions you would like to ask about the role. Prepare questions in advance, based on your research and the information provided during the interview. Listen attentively to ensure you ask questions about topics that haven’t been covered yet. Some appropriate questions include: 

  • Can you provide more details about the day-to-day responsibilities of this position? 
  • How would you describe the company culture? 
  • What do you personally enjoy the most about working for this company? 

Final Words of Encouragement 

Remember, the purpose of a Zoom interview is to facilitate the hiring process and make it easier for both you and the interviewer. Approach the interview with confidence and view it as an opportunity to showcase your skills and qualifications. Before submitting your application, review your cover letter and CV to ensure they align with the job requirements and company values. 

By following these tips and guidelines, you can navigate Zoom interviews successfully and leave a lasting impression on potential employers. Good luck with your future interviews! 

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