Interviewing

Best Practices For a Successful Zoom Interview

June 11, 2021

With the popularity of video conferencing expanding, more job interviews and meetings are being conducted online through video conferencing software platforms, such as Zoom. In this article, we discuss the features and benefits of using Zoom for your interview and how you can best prepare for a successful video call.

What is a Zoom interview call?

Many recruiters and hiring managers are moving to a virtual interviewing process, often conducting a Zoom interview call. A Zoom interview call uses a video conferencing software platform, called Zoom, that allows the interviewer and job candidate to hold a virtual meeting in real-time. The interviewer will send you a link via email that you will click on at the corresponding time for your interview. You will then be able to hear and see each other and complete the interview as if you were together in the same room.

What is Zoom?

Zoom is one of several video conferencing software platforms that is has various applications, including education and training, business meetings, and job interviews. It has quickly become a staple application for many companies and individuals to stay in touch with colleagues, clients, and friends. The basic version of Zoom is free and can be accessed on computers, laptops, and mobile devices.

What are the benefits of using Zoom for an interview?

There are many benefits for both parties to using a video conferencing platform, such as Zoom, for conducting job interviews. Holding an interview over Zoom allows a company to screen job candidates efficiently without having to meet face to face. Use of the platform can be easily organized and and both parties can attend on short notice. It also provides an opportunity to see the person you're speaking with, even within a remote setting.

How to prepare for your Zoom interview

Making sure that you're well-prepared for your interview includes taking care of technical preparation before the event. Proper technical preparation will ensure that you can concentrate on the interview and not on IT challenges. To help you prepare the technical components, follow these tips:

1. Download Zoom and become familiar with the basics

In order to feel confident when being interviewed on Zoom, download the application on your computer or laptop and become familiar with the basic functions of the software. It's free to use the basic program, although there are several levels of paid options that aren't necessary for interviewing. Once you've downloaded the app, sign in and become comfortable with the features of turning the audio and video on and off, as well as other functions such as the chat feature.

2. Use a professional email and screen name

The recruiter or hiring manager will send you a link via email for your Zoom interview. As a best practice when job seeking, ensure that you have a professional email address. You can easily create an email address from various free email providers that you can customize to sound professional and career-focused, instead of that email you created when you were in your teens. This will enhance the positive impression you give to the interviewer. Also, when logging into Zoom for your interview, use your full name as the screen name that will appear under your video.

3. Use a computer or laptop when possible

In order to have the best Zoom experience, use a computer or laptop if possible for your interview. If you must use your phone or tablet, be sure to prop your phone up or use a phone stand and ensure that they can easily see you on the screen. While you use Zoom on your tablet or cellphone, it's considered best practice to be stationary during your interview, which will provide the best audio and video for both parties.

4. Charge your laptop and update your computer

To ensure your Zoom interview goes smoothly, be sure to charge your laptop and update your computer. Save yourself the embarrassment of your laptop dying mid-interview or trying to download the latest updates by preparing in advance.

5. Make sure you have a strong internet connection

Because Zoom technology relies on an internet connection, be sure that there's a strong connection where you're preparing to be interviewed. If you're using Wi-Fi, check your connection strength during your technical preparation. As an alternative, you can plug directly into an Ethernet connection to be hard-wired into the internet. If you have no other option but to use a cellphone for your Zoom interview, be sure there's a strong internet or cellphone signal wherever you set up by testing it beforehand.

6. Test your audio and use a headset

After you've downloaded Zoom onto whatever device you'll be using for your interview, test your audio. On a computer or laptop, you have the option of what microphone you want to use. It is advisable to use a headset during your Zoom call. You need nothing fancy for this; you can even use the headphones that come with your cellphone, as long as they also include a microphone. This will ensure there isn't any strange echo or feedback when you're on the call.

Environmental setting tips for your Zoom interview

Setting up your physical surroundings is also a key step in preparing for your Zoom interview. Follow these tips to prepare your environment to ensure you give a positive and professional impression:

Create a professional background

Because you'll be on camera for your interview, it's essential that you create a professional background behind you. If possible, choose a blank wall to sit in front of or one with minimal decoration. Remember that the interviewer will see what's behind you, so avoid a messy or cluttered room or a distracting environment. Zoom also offers the option of selecting from several virtual backgrounds that use green screen technology to have you sitting in front of the Golden Gate Bridge or on a tropical beach. While these may not be the best choices, you can upload your own virtual background to keep your location private and enhance your physical setting.

Find the best lighting for your call

Natural sunlight is the best option for lighting on video. Try to set up your computer near a window and be cautious of direct sun that may cause a glare. A suitable alternative is a brightly lit room. When you're preparing for your interview, be sure that you have enough light in the area for the interviewer to see you well.

Eliminate noise in the environment

When selecting the space you'll use for your Zoom interview, be aware of outside noises and interruptions. Pick a quiet space that offers privacy with minimal noise, i.e. without radios, television, or household members chatting in the next room. A quiet environment allows you to focus on answering the interview questions and leave a positive impression on the interviewer.

Put your phone on silent and turn off computer notifications

Before clicking on your Zoom link to begin your interview, be sure to turn off your phone or put it on silent, just as you would for an in-person meeting. Also be sure to turn off computer notifications to minimize distractions during your interview. Not only will this improve your attention and focus, but it's also considered proper virtual interviewing etiquette.

Shut down all other tabs on your computer

In case they ask you to share your screen during your interview, it's a good idea to shut down all other internet browser tabs or programs in use on your computer or laptop. This will ensure that an accidental audio or video clip doesn't suddenly start playing in the middle of your interview. And freeing up resources on your computer can improve the quality of your video call.

Best practices for during your Zoom interview

Once you've prepared for the technical aspects of using Zoom for your interview and have the best environmental setting, you're now ready to hold your Zoom interview call. Follow these best practice tips to make the best impression during your call:

Let your household know you're having a virtual interview

Before stepping into your interview, be sure to tell your family or household members that you'll be on a virtual video conference for a job interview. Let them know you appreciate their help by keeping noise to a minimum and not interrupting you during your call. Giving them a cue for when you're finished, such as opening your office door, can help let others know whether you're still in your interview.

Dress in professional attire

Even though it's a virtual meeting, this is still a formal job interview, and it's important to wear appropriate professional attire. Wearing the same outfit you would to an in-person interview will give a positive first impression to the interviewer and enhance your confidence and presentation.

Stay focused on the camera and screen

Just as you would in a face-to-face meeting, be sure to look directly into the camera when answering questions or speaking to the interviewer. When the interviewer is talking, look at the screen, as if you are making eye contact. If you need to reference your resume or notes, you can easily have them below the monitor to glance at and stay on track. Be mindful of your facial expressions and gestures during your interview, and visually show your positivity and enthusiasm to express your interest in the position.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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