The key to nailing a Zoom job interview

Feeling intimidated by Zoom interviews? Here are some tips to help you nail it every time.

COVID‑19 has upped the chances that you will be required to complete your interview via video. Here are some top tips of how to prepare for and present well in a video interview:

  • – technology is wonderful, but it can let us down at the worst moments. Log in well before your interview and check that everything is connected, especially your microphone and speakers – a silent interview is not a good interview! If possible, do a test call with a friend to get your volume and camera angle correct.
  • – don’t focus all your attention on your computer screen. It’s important to gauge the interviewer’s response, but it’s not engaging for them. Instead, alternate your gaze between the on-screen image and your computer’s camera. This will appear to the interviewer as though you are maintaining eye contact and looking directly at them.

Prepare the area – you don’t have to think about your surroundings when you go to an in-person interview, but on video you definitely do! Interviewers don’t want to see

your dirty dishes or unmade bed. Set up your computer pre-interview – check your camera angle and find a blank wall or sparse background to use as your backdrop.

Think about lighting – if your light source sits behind your head, you are going to cast a shadow over your face. Instead, aim for a soft light in front of you.

What’s that noise? – interviews are normally held in private rooms with peace and quiet for both parties to speak and think. Ideally, a video interview should be no different.

Make sure you are not going to get interrupted – think children, housemates or pets.

Check your appliances – noises you wouldn’t normally notice become loud and distracting on video. Turn off your TV and radio and avoid putting on a load of laundry or dishes until afterwards.

Present yourself properly – it is easy to be too relaxed in a video interview because you are in your home environment. Sit as though you are in an interview room – this will not only portray the right image, but also help you prepare mentally.

Dress appropriately – and yes, head to toe, even though your interviewer will likely only see your shoulders (better safe than sorry!).

Organise what you’d normally take to an interview – have, for example, a pen, a notebook and a printed copy of your résumé ready on your desk. And remember: the interviewer cannot see what you are doing – let them know if you are taking notes so they don’t think you are being inattentive or rude.

Have you phone off – out of sight and reach!

Allow enough time – video interviews are just as detailed and comprehensive as face-to-face interviews, so be prepared for an extensive discussion about your experience and future expectations. Don’t schedule another meeting straight afterwards – allow time for an in-depth conversation.

Have your questions ready – this one’s self-explanatory. You don’t want to be left thinking of questions on the spot. Interviewers love to see you’ve been listening throughout the interview and that you’re inquisitive.

Don’t be put off by brief time delays – these can cause video discussions to flow less freely than face-to-face conversations.

Be polite – Make sure to allow the interviewer to finish speaking before you start your answer.

Roxanne Calder, author of ‘Employable – 7 Attributes to Assuring Your Working Future’ is the founder and managing director of EST10.