How to Ace a Zoom Interview

For a Zoom job interview, how should I set up my interview space?

woman in Zoom interviewRemember it’s a professional activity. Whether you schedule a Zoom interview or an in person interview, the interview space must reflect professionalism. Avoid visually distracting elements that could divert the interviewer’s attention from you.

That said, I offer these interviewing tips regarding the interview space:

  • Recognize the importance of good lighting for your Zoom interview. You might prefer natural lighting. On the other hand, if you don’t have a good natural light source, you can choose from artificial light options. For instance, use a ring light.
  • Make sure your light source placement doesn’t cast shadows on your face or obscure it. The hiring manager/interviewer needs to see your expression when you answer questions.
  • Provide a business-neutral background. For example, you can choose from virtual backgrounds in diverse colors and designs. Just remember to minimize distractions. You might dream about a Paris vacation, but that doesn’t mean you should show the Eiffel Tower behind you. By the way, Zoom’s virtual background feature requires a green screen–often placed on a tripod to hold it steady and in the best position.green screen for Zoom interview

How should I prepare for a Zoom interview?

In some respects, you prepare the same way you would if you were there in person. For instance, make sure you look presentable and aren’t chewing gum while talking with the interviewer!

Always do your homework–for any job interview. If you need to keep referring to information you should have reviewed beforehand to help you answer questions, you send a poor message. In effect, you’re saying, “I didn’t prepare for this.”

However, a virtual interview does involve differences from one that’s in person. For one thing,  you don’t have the in-person “vibe” to help you judge how things are going. That means you must pay careful attention to other clues, visual and audio, and adjust your actions to fit the situation.

What should I wear to a Zoom interview?

First, wear what you would to an in person interview–often, casual business clothes like a sports jacket and slacks. It’s better to dress “up” a bit than to dress “down” and then find out it’s too casual for the company. (Hint: I wouldn’t recommend jeans as it appears this picture shows.)

what to wear for video interviewSecond, consider that your camera might not “like” some colors and styles or they might not do well in the lighting you’ve chosen. Test out your planned wardrobe before the day of your video interview to prevent awkward mishaps. You want to wear clothes that are a good fit in more ways than one.

How early should I “arrive” for a Zoom interview?

Your interviewer receives a notification when you sign on. Therefore, you should plan to join a few minutes ahead–maybe five minutes or so. This shows you can be counted on for promptness but doesn’t suggest you’re over-eager or desperate.

Moreover, if you’re not familiar with Zoom, arriving a few minutes early gives you a chance to review the “launch/sign-in” process without pressure. Of course, it’s even better if you can do a dry run before the day of your Zoom interview!

During a Zoom job interview, how do I maintain eye contact with the hiring manager when I answer interview questions?making eye contact with interviewer

The short answer is: It’s tricky! For one thing, you need to look at your webcam, not the computer screen (unless your camera is embedded in the screen). This might sound counter-intuitive. However, what your interviewer sees is what the camera shows. So the eye contact you establish could be considered a misnomer. In a sense, you have to imagine that eye contact. For example, don’t try to look into the interviewer’s eyes on the screen if your camera sits off to one side. He/she will spend too much time staring at the side of your head.

In other words, pretend your camera is the interviewer. Of course, the ideal positioning would place the camera where you can look at it and still see the interviewer’s face on your computer screen. If the screen and camera are close together, you can glance back and forth without being obvious.

Above all, remember the Zoom interview has the same goal as an in person interview: You need to give it your best shot to advance your candidacy and capture a new job.

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