Before 2020, you may not have been familiar with the software Zoom, however fast forward to November this year and it’s simply unavoidable. Online quizzing with friends, and catching up with family that we couldn’t visit during lockdown led Zoom to become a household name. However, Zoom has become essential in the world of business, for online meetings and for the topic of this blog – online interviews.
Job seekers will have become more than familiar with the new normal’s demand for interviews to be performed over Zoom, utilising the webcam feature. This is the closest way of replicating the in-person interview we are all used to. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of tips and advice to see you excel during your online experience.
If your whole interview experience will be taking place over Zoom, it is absolutely crucial that you are familiar with the technology you are using and the features it has.
First off you need to ensure you’ve signed up, and downloaded Zoom’s software onto your laptop. This may seem a blaringly obvious first step, but if you haven’t got these essentials sorted, you won’t be able to access your interview, and your chances of securing your dream job will be compromised.
Once you have signed up, and signed in, familiarise yourself with all that Zoom has to offer. For example, do you need to present content? Then make sure to take full use of the screen-share feature; you’ll appear more professional and polished.
Now on to ensuring you have all the other technicalities ticked off and ready for that important Zoom call.
Zoom predominantly relies on a good, strong Internet connection. A pixellated image, or out of sync audio will affect how you are perceived, and could compromise your ability to shine. Therefore, we advise you position yourself in a place where your Wi-Fi signal is strong, leaving one less thing to stress about during the interview.
Secondly, you want to ensure that the interviewer can hear the answers to questions you are giving clearly. The microphone on your laptop or computer can often sound tinny and muffled. A solution to this is using earphones; the microphone is positioned in a better place and will enable you to be heard far more easily.
Last but not least, ensure your battery is fully charged. Cutting out mid-interview due to a lack of battery would be disastrous, so we suggest keeping your laptop /computer plugged in and ready for all eventualities – you don’t know how long the call could last!
Once you have the technicalities sorted, you need to focus on what your interviewer will be seeing when they look at your webcam screen.
This interview is all about you, and what you have to offer the company, so you need to ensure that all distractions are eliminated. Therefore, we recommend a neutral background, as this will keep the focus on you, and not the busy, household objects behind.
It’s also important to ensure you are set up in a space where the lighting is suitable and complimentary. Dark spaces won’t be able to show you or your friendly face off to their best ability.
Our final piece of vital advice for creating the perfect online interview setting, is ensuring all those in your household are aware of the interview beforehand. There is nothing worse than an unannounced intruder entering the webcam screen, or extremely loud background noise – so make sure they keep disturbances minimal!
Just because your interview isn’t taking place in person doesn’t mean it’s any less formal. Therefore, your clothing choice for your Zoom interview still needs to be smart and sophisticated. Whilst there is room for interpretation depending on the job you are applying for, our general advice is stick to business attire.
As with all interviews, preparation is key. Before your Zoom interview you need to ensure you’re confident with the topics that may arise, and equipped to answer all questions that may be thrown your way. Try to note down some real-life examples of when you’ve excelled and faced difficult situations.
A top tip we suggest is using sticky labels and placing them on your monitor with short and concise prompts. This way you will remain face on to your interviewer, and won’t be looking down / appearing unorganised or disinterested.
We also highly recommended jotting down questions to ask the interviewer. You’re interested in their company and their job, so prove it, show your interest!
Once you’ve ticked off each of the tips we’ve given you, we suggest having a practice run through with one of your friends. This way you can ensure you’re familiar with Zoom’s features, you can check sound and picture quality, and your friend can report back on any distractions that may be visible on the choice of setting.