What is a Zoom Interview?

Recently I posted an article on “How to Ace a Zoom Interview.” This time I want to answer a more basic but important question: “What is a Zoom Interview?”

Some common questions job seekers ask include the following:

What is a Zoom app?

According to Google, “Zoom is a web-based video conferencing tool with a local, desktop client and a mobile app that allows users to meet online….” You can install Zoom on your desktop computer, tablet, or cell phone if you plan to use it regularly. However, if an employer has scheduled a Zoom job interview with you, you shouldn’t need to have Zoom already installed on your system. Just choose the download option and sign into the call.

What are the key differences between a person-to-person interview and a video interview?

person-to-person intervierwI touched on this point in my previous post; however, I will recap briefly.

First, I need to refer to the original question above: “What is a Zoom interview?” A Zoom interview is not an entertainment performance! Focus on what you know you need to communicate—your value to the prospective employer. All other factors must support that key goal.

Second, understand that you lose some advantages in a video interview versus a person-to-person interview, but you also get trade-offs. You can sometimes pull body language, voice, and energy cues from a face-to-face session that don’t come as easily via Zoom.

On the other hand, once you gain a certain comfort-level with Zoom, you can pick up some of the same cues as from an in-person interview. You simply need to pay attention–closely. Stay focused and don’t let your mind wander when the hiring manager asks interview questions you have to answer.

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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.

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Career Resilience in Uncertain Times

I suspect most of us think of resilience as the built-in ability to “bounce back” from problems, setbacks, etc. So what is career resilience? It is defined as the ability to adjust to career change as it happens and…adapt to what the market demands. The possibility of an unexpected job loss should not be the primary motivator for individuals to take stock of their careers.” (Excerpted from a Careerminds blog post) In other words, take the smart course of action and start planning before you have to.

“On Career Resilience in Uncertain Times” provides insight into key points to remember as you navigate today’s quick-changing, uncertain conditions. Those conditions can present daunting challenges to career-minded professionals, including reluctant job seekers (forced to do an unplanned job search). [From CFA Institute, Enterprising Investor]

“To stay resilient in an era of continuous and fast-accelerating change, we have to become more agile and adaptable. … The present crisis, with its abrupt shift to a new normal, has forced us to face this reality head on. We can only expect more of the same. The work roles, skills, and environments that are needed and how they are valued will rapidly shift as business practices evolve.”

How Does YOUR Career Resilience Look?

Let’s start with resilience. For instance, what do you bring to the table now, and what could you add to that? Resilience encompasses at least these 9 traits:Career Resilience

  • Optimism
  • Self-belief
  • Self-control
  • Adaptability
  • Flexibility
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Emotional awareness
  • Social support
  • A sense of honor

Next, make a not-huge mental shift to how you apply career resilience. Most if not all of the above traits match well to career-related situations.

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Good Boss-Bad Boss

Good boss-bad boss: How can you tell what you’re in for?

Obviously, you want to know you’re getting the best boss before you start working for him/her. However, sometimes you wind up with a bad boss even when you thought you made a careful choice. Moreover, you might find out that Mr. Hyde turns into Dr. Jekyll only in certain situations.Good Boss-Bad Boss

When Should You Evaluate Potential Bosses?

Ideally, you should start asking yourself (and sometimes other people) at least a few pointed questions during the interview process. When you interview with your prospective boss, what message is he/she sending in your direction?

This doesn’t refer so much to personality as to how the person interacts with those who might become employees. Someone can have a fairly forceful personality and yet communicate with respect and courtesy to potential employees. On the other hand, an overbearing attitude could mean the boss steamrollers over employees.

What Makes a Good Boss?

A lot of factors can determine how you might rank a boss. For example, does he or she build team morale or destroy it by pushing a win-at-all-costs approach? Your preference plays into it, too. A hands-off boss might strike you as near perfect or as wishy-washy, depending on how you like to do your job.

The main question to ask is: Will we be a good fit to work together? In other words, would you have to radically change who you are and how you work to support your boss and meet expectations?

Traits to Consider

Leadership traits or styles that influence your perception of your boss might include the following:

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What does a high-unemployment job market look like? For instance, with the huge increase in unemployment claims and an official unemployment rate close to 15%*, it looks grim. You could justify worrying about your prospects if you’re out of work or viewing it as a possibility. high-unemployment job market

I won’t offer a glib or sugar-coated view of the job market you’re seeing. It presents a daunting picture even to an optimist like me. (There’s a reason I label myself a “realistic optimist.”) However, I see no value in adopting a fatalistic outlook—what I call a “doom and gloom” mentality.

Can job seekers take practical steps to improve their odds in favor of job search success, even in today’s disturbed world? I believe the answer is yes.

Steps to Take in a High-Unemployment Job Market

An esteemed colleague, Jay Block, recently wrote a short post that relates to this challenge. His post, “Securing a Job in a 20%+ Unemployment Job Market,” lays it on the line and then offers a practical approach to make progress.

employer value messageJay begins by stating bluntly that today’s job seekers have to share their value with pinpoint accuracy to get–and stay–in the game. In other words, generalized or haphazard approaches won’t work. You need to share employer value clearly centered on your target job.

On the other hand, you can focus on a few key steps to put you in contention for targeted jobs. Briefly, Jay recommends the following:

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Employment in the New Normal–How Can You Cope? (Part 1 of 2)

What will the workplace  look like in the “New Normal”?

If you’ve wondered how the employment world will function in the new normal (that is, after COVID-19), you’re not alone. Many people speculate about what the future holds. They don’t know what it might involve and worry about its effect on their prospects for career success and stability.

new normal tightrope walkerHowever, such speculation tends to be unproductive, since no one knows for sure about the specifics. Because the current environment is still too fluid and challenging to predict those details with certainty, we’re left hanging. However, I believe it’s safe to say the new normal won’t include a 100% return to business as usual.

How the Workplace is Changing

An article in the May 2020 AARP Bulletin makes a strong case for my belief. For example, it offers one good reason to expect lasting change. “…Companies are doing things in radically different ways, and many will embrace lessons learned instead of returning to the status quo. For older workers, that means adjusting to fewer staff jobs, the immediate need for new skills and an overall flexibility that is far different from the salaried days of even the recent past.”

Furthermore, the article suggests you can expect the employment situation to look substantially different even after the pandemic subsides. The specific challenges remain to be seen. Your best bet rests on developing and executing a flexible career marketing campaign ASAP. The plan must put you on employers’ radar quickly and compellingly, so you don’t come on the scene too late.

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Career Leap of Faith–Can You Do It?

Can you make a career leap of faith if you have to? What if you don’t have to but feel somehow impelled? You make choices and decisions often throughout your professional and personal life. In some ways, you might think you should be used to the process. You’ve done it so many times! On the other hand, some of those choices or decisions could stir a kind of fear in you. How can you handle that?

Why Make a Career Leap?

Career Leap of Faith

If your professional life moves well along a set path, you don’t need to make a career leap unless you choose to. After all, why rock the boat? As we all know, a leap can turn out badly–of course, you’d like to avoid that if you can! No career leap comes with an ironclad guarantee of a good landing.

So you can sit tight and stick with the path you’re on, if it has been working well for you. Unless that path becomes unsatisfying for some reason, you’re fine.

However, what if you don’t have a choice? Whether a global health crisis pulls employment security right out from under you or your employer does it for some other  reason, you find yourself out the door, unemployed.

Suddenly you face an urgent need to take action–to make a career leap in one way or another.

Brave in Life Challenge

Career Leaps Take Courage

“Every great move forward in your life begins with a leap of faith, a step into the unknown.” (Brian Tracy, Canadian-American motivational public speaker and self-development author)

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Top 6 Career Advancement Tips for Executives

You can increase your career success odds by following these Top 6 Career Advancement Tips for Executives:Career Advancement Tips for Executives

#1: Make Conscious Choices and Decisions

One of the top career advancement tips involves thinking about your professional goals and what you want to achieve; then deciding what you need to do to reach it. When you are trying to establish a professional goal, you should have a sense of purpose, as well as explore ideas. This can help you decide where you want to focus.

You might look at more than one goal to begin with, but eventually you need to focus on a preferred direction. In that way, the development of your career path comes together based on your chosen direction.

#2: Create a Flexible Plan

Nothing stays the same forever, and certainly that’s true of our professional lives. I advise executives to start with a plan that includes built-in flexibility when thinking about how they will gain experience to reach their professional career advancement goals. Be aware that you cannot anticipate everything that could happen in your professional life. Frequently events occur that are beyond your control.

If your plan is changeable, you can look at what’s happening and regroup. Perhaps you will stay on the same path or maybe you will choose to alter it somewhat. Your goals might change a bit or your career development might change, based on conditions you face that you didn’t expect. Flexibility is important. Otherwise you can get thrown for a loss because you don’t know what to do when things change.

#3: Do Ongoing Networking

Global NetworkingWhen you consider ongoing networking, I encourage you to think about role models. Having a role model forms a big piece of my career advancement tips for executives. Find a sponsor who can advise you and show the way to professional advancement. I always recommend cultivating a network of professional resources and identifying possible role models. Look for people whose achievements you admire. Adapt each person’s actions to your own style, preferences, and goals.

Be willing to reach out to people respectfully, build your network, maintain it, keep in touch with it. If you have someone who’s willing to be a sponsor, maintain a closer relationship with that person. Actively participate in your network in order to keep it thriving. When you do this, you will uncover more opportunities as you go along. Your professional advancement then becomes more doable.

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