One of my clients has a Zoom interview on Monday and asked for tips. I knew I’d previously written about this on my website
Over three years ago I wrote an article on Skype interviews, and although we all seem to have moved to Zoom or Teams, it’s still relevant. This is from nearly 8 years ago, I was writing about it back then!
Be comfortable using Skype/Zoom – set up a few practices video calls with friends or family. Familiarize yourself with your webcam and microphone so you know how they work. You want to be sure that you can both be seen and heard. Adjust so the camera is at eye-level. you want to be looking directly into the camera. Adjust the settings to ensure that you are clearly in shot. Check how you look on the screen and adjust the camera angle. If you use a laptop, place it on a stable surface rather than have it wobbling on your knees. Adjust the setting so they can see you from the waist up you don’t want the screen to be filled with your head.
Consider your environment – Check the lighting and background. You may need to switch the lights on or close the curtains/blinds. Look at the background and make sure it is neutral. Do you really want your untidy room to be on show? There are backgrounds you can use in Zoom and Teams.
Get comfortable being filmed – The more you do, the easier it gets. You can easily set your camera set up so you can record yourself. Get someone to read interview questions and practice answering, but talking about anything, and recording yourself will also help you to feel more comfortable. When you watch the playback look at what you do with your hands, do you wave them about? Look to see if you make eye contact or mainly look away? Do you slouch or sit up looking alert?
Wear business dress – Wear the sort of clothes you would wear at work. It helps make a good first impression and makes you feel more confident.
Make the video of your interviewer full-screen – This means that you are not distracted by anything else on your computer. Turn off any sounds or notifications that might pop up in the background. Be safe, turn off all other programmes/ apps.
Make sure you won’t be disturbed – Turn off other phones and ensure family and pets will not disturb you.
Prepare to the same extent as you would for an in-person meeting.
- Do your research – find out more about the organisation and the job you have applied for.
- Be clear why you are a great candidate – understand what makes you the standout candidate for the job.
- Practice – Just like for a conventional interview practice answering questions, either with a friend/ family member or with a career coach.
In the interview –
- If you are going to make notes to refer to, have them on post-it notes around the edge of the screen.
- If you are using your laptop make sure the battery is fully charged, and have your phone ready so you can switch if needed. And practice setting up your phone so it is at the right angle to show you at your best.
- Look at the camera rather than the screen to help give the appearance of eye contact.
- Speak clearly so you can be heard on the skype interviews.
- Answer the question asked – don’t ramble. Use STAR to keep your answer focused. Situation, Task, Action, results to give structure to your responses. Remember to use “I” rather than “we” in your answers.
- Consider your body language – sit up and come across as engaged and interested. Do smile.
Not all interviews are in real time. I wrote this article about video interviewing which is when you answer questions by video but you can’t see an interviewer. I’m not going to copy all the detail here, best you head over to the full blog post