How to nail a Zoom interview
You’ve made it through the first round and have been asked to attend an online interview. Whether it’s Zoom, GotoMeeting or another software option, the principles of putting your best foot forward online are the same. It’s important to remember that your prospective new employer has asked you for a video interview rather than chatting on the phone because they want to see you ‘face to face’. They are looking to engage with you and build rapport, so here are our Top 5 tips to ensure you shine.
1. Be Early
Aim to arrive 5 minutes before the scheduled meeting. Use this time to ensure your lighting, camera angle and sound are all working so you are not flustered with technical issues. The interviewer will send you a link ahead of the meeting so you will know which software will be used to host the interview and if you need to download an app or set things up on your desktop, do this well ahead of time. Zoom will invite you to test your sound (how well you hear the interviewer) and your microphone (how well they can hear you), so definitely run these system checks before the interview is due to start.
2. Ensure you have a stable internet
Nothing will undermine your ability to make a great impression like a poor internet connection. The screen freezing and sound dropping in and out are consequences of dodgy WIFI, so ensure you take the interview in a spot with a strong signal. If you have the option to plug directly into a modem in a quiet, well-lit spot, that could be preferable to relying on WIFI. Plan where you will take the interview – it may be that a quiet corner in an internet café, a library or a cowork space is more suitable than your house.
3. Get your camera set up right
No one wants to look up your nose whilst they are talking to you, so whether you’re on mobile or desktop, you need to prop your camera in a spot at eye level or just above to look your best. This might mean making a platform for your laptop using books, or standing with your mobile phone supported on a shelf. Either way, use that 5 minutes grace you have because you clicked the link early, to ensure you are comfortable and well-positioned.
Once set up, under ‘settings’ on all programs, you will have the option to set your screen name. This is particularly relevant if you are taking the call on someone else’s equipment. Rather than having your screen name showing as ‘Dad’s iPhone’ throughout the whole interview, you can present more professionally by entering your own name. On Zoom, this setting is on the top right-hand side once you have connected to the meeting.
4. Ensure you have a flattering backdrop and good light
- Lighting can make or break a successful online interview. Ensure you are in a well-lit room, ideally with natural light. If it’s dark outside or you have to be in a room with no windows, make sure you have plenty of lights on and bring in extra lamps if necessary.
- Move your camera around to check the best lighting angle before the interview starts
- Check what’s behind you. The best options are a plain wall, a tidy bookshelf or low key piece of art. It’s important you don’t let the backdrop distract from you!
- Sit with your back to a window, it will throw a shadow on your face and make it hard for the interviewer to read your facial expressions, which impacts on their ability to build rapport with you.
- Have children or other people wandering across the background. Ensure you are in a quiet spot where the interviewer can concentrate on what you’re saying and not be distracted.
5. Dress the part
When dressing for your online interview, it’s important to make as much effort as if it was a face to face meeting – on the top half anyway! Ensure your hair is neat and any makeup/jewellery is appropriate for the role you are interviewing for.
Remember, whilst an online interview can be daunting, you have been invited because the interviewer wants to meet you and it’s a great chance to get you one step closer to your dream job. So, take a breath, count to 3 and knock ‘em dead. Good luck!