Many employers may opt for an interview using video conferencing software due to its convenience factor for remote positions or initial screening interviews. Zoom is a video software that many companies use to connect with others remotely. It is equipped with screen sharing, text chat, video recording, and muting. Zoom interviews are becoming more popular and have become a necessity amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are common mistakes that are made in these virtual meetings. It is smart to learn how to use this software to your advantage.
It is very important to limit any distractions that could throw you off. With in-person meetings, distractions are shared with both the interviewer and the candidate, and they will break from the conversation at the same time. However, in Zoom interviews, the hiring manager will not and should not know that there’s a knock at your door or email notification on your screen. You could easily miss an important detail, a question, or an opportunity to show your knowledge. Be sure to turn off notifications and set yourself up in a quiet, distraction-free space.
Use the Background to your Advantage
Your background will say a lot about you. You can keep it simple and just use a blank wall, which might seem boring, but it’s neutral. Or, you can create a background that speaks more about who you are as a candidate. It is smart to appear to be in a home office if you’re applying for a remote position, as this will translate to you being equipped with a space that allows you to work effectively.
Pay Attention to Lighting
Unflattering lighting such as overhead fluorescent or incandescent lighting is not recommended. You don’t need a professional light kit, but you must consider how you can use natural light from windows to project a clear and well-lit image of your face. Sitting in front of a window with direct light on your face should do the trick. At most times of the day, this will provide perfect, even lighting. However, if the sun is too bright, you may need to adjust; and always avoid putting the light source behind you.
Be Right on Time
It doesn’t make sense to show up early to a Zoom interview. If you’re 15 minutes early, you could be staring at a blank screen for 15 minutes. Of course, you don’t want to be late, either. Consider setting an alarm for both 10 minutes and 1 minute before the scheduled time. When the 10-minute alarm goes off, begin getting settled at your desk, reviewing your notes and double-checking your technology. Then sign in at the 1-minute alarm.
If unexpected technology errors cause you to be late, make sure to apologize and explain why you’re late once you’re able to join the meeting.
Interjecting is not as disruptive in a face to face interview. Although, with video interviews, it’s best to let the hiring manager or recruiter fully complete their thoughts before jumping in. A tiny lag can throw them off and make your interjection (even if it was meant to be gentle and polite) seem like a rude interruption.
This might sound like a silly piece of advice, but some people don’t think it’s a big deal to go without pants since their interview can only see you from the waist up. However, wearing decent pants can give you much more confidence, as there is a psychological impact of dressing for success (even in a Zoom interview).
Test your Tech
Video interviews can be intimidating for those who are not super familiar with Zoom or the technology involved. Typically, interviews are forgiving when it comes to technology mishaps; however, it is always best to do a test run with a friend. You may find that your mic is not configured correctly, for instance. Utilize these tips if you are having tech issues:
- Move closer to your router if there is a poor connection (avoiding giving a tour of a messy house while doing so).
- Always assume your camera is on, even when you think it’s off.
- Ensure the speakers and mic are turned on if there is an issue with the audio.
- Use the chat feature to inform the interviewer that you can’t hear them.
Always remain calm and embrace the subtle awkward moments that are inherent with a Zoom interview. Also, remember to send a thank you email after the interview.