11 Zoom Interview Tips to Help You Outclass the Competition

Published September 17, 2021
woman on zoom interview

If you're in the market for a new job, chances are that at some point you'll be invited to interview via Zoom or another videoconferencing app. This approach to interviewing has become the norm in many companies for all remote jobs, as well as for the first few rounds of interviews for other positions. When you find yourself preparing to interview via Zoom, apply these tips to help increase your chances of wowing the interviewer.

1. Practice Via Zoom

Ask a friend or family member to put you through the paces of a mock interview via Zoom. If you don't already have one, sign up for a free Zoom account, then give the person who is helping you a list of common job interview questions. Ask them to give you feedback on how you respond to the questions and on your overall visual and audio impression via Zoom. Ask for feedback on your body language, room lighting, camera positioning, and anything else that impacts how you come across.

2. Choose the Right Background

When you do a Zoom interview, the interviewer will see whatever is on the wall behind you, unless you apply a background image to the video function on Zoom. Consider what message it will send to the recruiter if you allow the wall to show, taking into account everything your camera will pick up. If what they see will portray you as disorganized or provide information that could lead to bias, consider using a professional-looking Zoom background so the interviewer sees it instead.

3. Select a Well-Lit Area

Choose a well-lit area to do your interview so that the interviewer will be able to see you clearly. Just like in a face-to-face interview, the interviewer will be paying attention to your verbal and nonverbal communication, so it's very important to make sure they can see you well. You may want to log in to Zoom and move your laptop around to different spots in your home or office to find a spot with perfect lighting.

4. Choose a Sturdy Chair

Choose a sturdy chair that has a straight back and arms. Before you log in, position yourself in the chair the same way you would for a face-to-face interview. Sitting in this type of chair during your Zoom interview will help you maintain an appropriate posture throughout the conversation. Otherwise, you may slouch or start moving in a distracting way, such as swaying or twisting as you speak. Maintaining an appropriate posture will help ensure you are making a professional impression.

5. Verify Strong Internet Speed

Make sure you have a good, strong connection when logged in to Zoom. If not, you may want to connect directly to your router or modem for the interview rather than using WiFi, assuming it is in a spot that will work for the interview. If your phone has a mobile hotspot, you may find that it is stronger than WiFi. If you can't get good connectivity at home, consider reserving a private study room at the library or asking a friend who has a better connection to let you interview from their place.

Senior woman working from her home office

6. Dress Appropriately

While a video interview may seem quite casual, it really is a formal business meeting. It's important for you to take the interview seriously, including your appearance. The interviewer will only see you from the shoulders up, so concentrate your efforts there. Think about it as if you already had the job, and you have been summoned to a Zoom call with the board of directors. What should you wear, and how carefully should you groom yourself? Use that standard when preparing for a job interview.

7. Silence Your Housemates

Let your family or roommates know that you have an important job interview via Zoom and request their cooperation by being completely quiet during the time you are interviewing. If at all possible, go into a room with a door for your interview and close it. Put a sign on the outside of the door with a message asking for silence due to your job interview. If you have pets, put them in another room or outside (if it is safe to do so).

8. Limit Outside Noise

It's also important to reduce the likelihood of having noise come from outside the house during your interview. Avoid scheduling any deliveries to your home on the day of your interview so that delivery people aren't arriving during the interview. Even if someone else can greet them, their presence could still lead to disruptive noise. Consider placing signs on the exterior doors that state, "Do Not Knock. Meeting in Progress."

9. Use a Headset

If you're still concerned about noise even with taking steps to keep the rest of your household quiet, consider investing in a set of headphones with a microphone to use for job interviews. You can get a decent set for under $20. These will reduce the chances of an interviewer picking up ambient noise unless it is extremely loud or very close to you. If you end up taking a remote job, you'll probably use them every day. Even if you don't, they'll definitely be helpful for interviews.

10. Update Computer Apps

Restart your computer a few hours before your interview is scheduled to start, allowing any pending updates to process. While you're at it, open the Zoom app to see if there are any pending updates there. If so, install the updates so you're using the most current version. This will help prevent avoidable issues due to software updates that could potentially cause computer problems during the interview.

11. Put Your Phone Somewhere Else

While you are in the interview, your attention should be 100 percent focused on what the interviewer is saying. With that in mind, put your phone away so that you cannot see it or hear it. That way, you won't be tempted to glance at it. If an interviewer gets a sense that you can't stay away from your phone for a brief interview, that will surely impact their impression (negatively) of how engaged you would be in your work as an employee.

Prepare to Have a Great Video Interview

Do you feel better prepared for your interview now? Apply these video interview tips to your next Zoom discussion with a recruiter, and you're sure to have a terrific experience. For even more preparation tips and ideas, explore a few additional virtual job interview tips. Extend your chances of a successful outcome by following up with the interviewer after the fact.

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11 Zoom Interview Tips to Help You Outclass the Competition