How to Nail Your Zoom Interview

January 5, 2021

With the onset of COVID 19 there has not only been a shift to a virtual workforce, but job screenings and interviews have also shifted to utilizing Zoom, Skype and other video-based platforms. These interviews are just as important as in-person formats and are often more challenging because candidates don’t have the advantage of giving and receiving clear visual cues and lose direct eye contact. But all is not lost, with a few preparations and employing some tried and true video-conference tips, you will be armed and ready to nail your video interview.  Read on:

  • Compile a list of what qualifies you for each aspect of the job. For phone screens, keep this and a copy of your resume nearby so you can refer to them as needed.  For video interviews, consider taping a copy of your resume near the camera so you can look directly at it and avoid looking down for the duration of the interview.  When you rehearse your answers for typical questions, practice speaking without using “um”, “uh”, “okay” and “you know”.. These non-words and delays are even more noticeable over the phone or on camera.
  • For phone interviews, use a landline when you can or a reliable cell service location. Bad connections are not a good first impression.
  • For video, test your connection and set up, including camera, microphone and speakers, in advance with friends and family. Use favorable lighting and a background that is not distracting.  Take note of where you are looking versus where the camera is to find ways to possibly make eye contact whenever you can.
  • Remove all possible noise distractions. Interviewing in a quiet place will help you devote your full attention to your interviewer and avoid startling interruptions like family members doing housework, watching TV or conducting lawn work.
  • Have a glass of water handy in case you need it.
  • Do NOT eat while participating in the interview.
  • Take notes that are brief, but thorough enough to remember key items discussed for later use in a thank you note and possible face to face meeting.
  • Focus, listen and process the questions carefully. It is easier to lose focus when you are not face to face.  Ask for clarification if needed and be careful not to interrupt the interviewer.
  • Enunciate, answer the question and be concise. If you talk too long, it won’t be as easy via phone or video to see that you’ve lost their attention.  You can always pause and ask if they need more information.
  • For all interviews, including over the phone, sit up straight and smile (even if they can’t see you via phone). Why?  Because you will breathe easier, be more relaxed and have a more positive inflection in your voice.
  • Your clothing, jewelry, grooming and posture matter just as they do in person. Conservative professional dress is always a safe choice. Avoid stripes and patterns as they can be distracting on camera. Also, avoid turtle-necks as they can sometimes give the illusion of a “bouncing head” and green clothing as they can be deceptive to the eye as well (think green screen used in weather studios).

Don’t underestimate the video interview in today’s job market.  These interviews are just as important and are often times replacing the traditional in-person interviews.  By putting these tips into practice you will increase your likelihood to moving forward in the all important interview process.