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15 Things You Must Know for a Successful Zoom Interview

Got a zoom interview coming up?

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After 2020 where almost every “office” meetings were conducted in Zoom or a similar online app, many people have been introduced to the new normal.

While many places are already opening back up to the way things were done in 2019, some locations are still stuck in lockdown. If you’re finding yourself now that your upcoming job interview will be a Zoom interview, and you’re a late bloomer to this must-know technology, here are 15 tips that could help you ace your zoom interview.

15 Do’s and Don’ts to Make Your Zoom Interview a Good Experience

I’m sure there are a lot more tips to ace your Zoom interview, but here are just 15 you should prioritize:

1. Get the Right Equipment & Set it Up

If you’re using your phone for the Zoom interview, buy a phone stand so you don’t need to balance your phone throughout the conversation. Once you have a phone stand, align your phone camera to your face so the interviewer can see from your head up to your chest. While you’re at it, find the position that compliments you the most.

If you’re using your laptop, check if the built-in webcam and microphone work. If not, buy an external webcam and mic that you can plug in.

If you’re going to use a computer for the zoom meeting and you don’t have a webcam or mic, get the right equipment to do the job, set it up before the interview date, and position to give you the best angle possible.

Headphones will work on your phone, laptop and desktop. Invest in a good one.

2. Be a Zoom Master

If this will be your first time using Zoom (or another online video-conferencing app), it is essential that you try it out first before your actual interview.

Thousands of people have had technical issues “operating” Zoom last year whether it’s during an interview (with the media or Hollywood peeps), (corporate office presentations or work meetings), and even just talking to your boss. It’s embarrassing before, and it is still embarrassing now.

For people trying to land a job with this Zoom interview, it can even be a turn-off to the interviewer, especially if the job you’re trying to win is technical in nature.

Be the master of your Zoom app: download now and practice using it. Being prepared always brings plus points to any interview, whether it’s real-world or virtual.

3. Handle the Noise

Any potential distraction that you can control, be proactive in controlling them. Here are some tips in handling the noise:

  • Pick a quiet spot. If you have a room where you can shut the door throughout the duration of your interview, pick this room. Make sure you are comfortable and you can focus on this space.
  • Get your pets outside for a while.  If you have a cat or dog that loves to get your attention, ask someone to take them out for a walk during your interview time.
  • Turn off phone and PC notifications. The “ding” of the Messenger app is very distinct, so is the notification sound of Discord, Viber, IG, and common apps used by the interviewer. Turn off notifications of your phone and PC apps (or better yet, mute the gadget completely) so no sound will distract you.
  • Silence your phone. If you can’t turn your gadgets off, at least silence them so any incoming calls or messages won’t make any noise during the interview.

If you’re unable to control the noise in your surroundings, learn how to mute/unmute masterfully so that you’ll have as little distraction going into the meeting as possible.

4. Lighting is Everything.

First of all, the room you choose to hold your Zoom interview should be well lit.

If you don’t have a well-lit room, create artificial lighting with a ring light (you can find these at camera shops) or a  lamp with a white bulb.

5. Change your Backdrop.

Find a spot with a clutter-free and solid-color wall and set up your phone or laptop here.

If you can’t find a professional-looking background,  set up a curtain or rearrange your furniture to find a suitable wall.

Zoom has backdrop-changing options to “prettify the background of your video.” Be sure to use those that are not overly “out there”, brightly colored, or moving GIFs. Stick to still images and something that doesn’t create distractions.

6. Screen Sharing Tip: Clear inappropriate wallpaper and shortcuts.

If your interviewer asks you to share your screen with them when using your computer, they will be able to see your wallpaper, opened folders, desktop shortcuts, and many more. Make sure these are all appropriate and cleared when you begin your zoom interview.

7. Practice Maintaining Eye Contact Weeks Before the Zoom Interview

Use Zoom to call your friends and family members weeks prior to your online job interview. Unlike face-to-face interviews wherein you could easily maintain eye contact with your interviewer, it can be challenging for online interviews because you’re technically not in front of each other.

If you look the interviewer in the eyes on your screen, it may not appear that way on their end. In fact, it may even look like you’re checking out yourself. Instead, you’d have to look into your camera for the interviewer to “see” on his/her end that you’re maintaining eye contact with him/her.

8. Prepare Backup Internet and Backup Power

If you’re using your laptop or phone, make sure it is fully charged and you have backup power in case of power interruption.

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If you’re planning to use your computer, make sure the app is also on your phone should you be forced to use your phone during emergency brownout or other issues preventing you from sticking to your original plan.

9. Place all your Materials nearby.

Get a copy of your resume/CV, portfolio or other materials you’ll be using for your Zoom interview. Make sure to place them near you, so you wouldn’t have to keep the interviewer from waiting for you to get everything he/she asks for.

A glass of water or water bottle is also something you’d want nearby, so you can fix dry mouth, coughing or other similar problems quickly.

10. Learn what “Internet Handshake” You’re comfortable doing.

There would be an awkward moment before the interview that you’re not yet introducing yourself and the interviewer isn’t talking yet. This is what is referred to as the internet handshake. You can do any of the following you think fits you best:

  • Nod your head as “Hello!”
  • Smile directly at the interviewer
  • Acknowledge that this is your first time and that the Zoom interview feels so much different.

Quietly ignoring the “presence” of your interviewer can be awkward.

11.  Prepare as you would a real-world interview.

Just like the traditional job interviews, you have to prepare by:

  • Researching the company, its products and services.
  • Preparing some questions for the interviewer.
  • Asking about the position you’re hoping to land.

It’s OK to take down talking points on a notepad, but don’t read it during the interview. Just use it as a guide to push the flow of conversation naturally.

12. Your appearance matters too!

How did you prepare for job interviews in the past?

  • Dress to impress, but make sure you’re comfortable with your interview attire.
  • Brush your hair. Style it professionally.
  • Brush your teeth.
  • Do your makeup, but stick to makeup appropriate for the job you’re aiming for.
  • Check your posture. If you have a problem with slouching, fix this temporarily by sitting on a small pillow.

BONUS: Zoom actually has a beauty filter “touch up on appearance” function. It isn’t as drastic as the beauty apps that totally change your appearance, but smoothening out blemishes on your cheek or forehead really help your overall look. Use it.

13. Don’t be late.

Tardiness is never okay, even if the interview is a virtual one.  Be ready 15 to 30 minutes before your interview time.

14.  Speak Clearly throughout the Zoom Interview

If you are a great communicator, you’ve got the best chance at acing your interview.

But because video interviews are different, you have to communicate as if the person you’re talking to is in the room. Use non-verbal communication (body language, eye contact, and other nonverbal cues) to relay your message or acknowledge your interviewer’s messages.

It isn’t worth answering with “uh-huh,” “yeah,” “I agree” and other quick responses because Zoom might freeze or the other person might mute his/her mic to give way to you speak. If you’re just agreeing and not planning to talk longer, interact in other effective ways that won’t disrupt the conversation.

15. Maintain Focus

It’s easy to get distracted at home, but try your hardest to maintain focus.

Here are some examples of showing the interviewer that your attention is 100% theirs:

  • Be mindful of your gestures. Playing with your hair, scratching, writing down notes, and other small movements make a big impact on how the interviewer sees you.
  • Look into the camera as if the interviewer is in front of you.
  • Nod in agreement if the interviewer is speaking.
  • Don’t check yourself out in Zoom camera. Look at the interviewer instead.

Ready to Ace Your Zoom Interview?

If you’ve been working from home even before 2020, you might have known how to conduct yourself during an online, Zoom interview.

But if you’re new to this virtual interviewing, make sure to follow the tips above. They can make or break your chances of landing the job you’re hoping to get.