Nail Your Zoom Interview: A Pro-Tip Guide

By Eric Ciechanowski | Career Expert
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If you’re not sure what to expect or how to be ready for a Zoom job interview –– have no fear! We’ve got you covered. On this page, we outline some of the best ways to prepare. Plus, we give you tips for how to handle the interview itself. After all, virtual interviews require some different steps than the in-person version. Make sure you don’t miss out on your dream job by following our guide!
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Preparation Tips for a Zoom Interview

When it comes to being ready for a Zoom interview, the basic process and questions that you’ll be asked aren’t too much different from a traditional in-person interview.

So, you should be prepared to answer some of the most commonly asked interview questions or how to answer “Tell me about yourself.” If the job is also virtual, there may be some additional questions in line with your experience working remotely.

In addition to those essentials, there are other considerations unique to virtual interviews.

Here are five main questions you’ve got to ask yourself to prepare:

Now, we’ll show you how to manage these considerations:

Step 1: Plan the device you’re going to take your interview on.

Zoom is a program or an app that requires hardware to run it: either a computer or a phone! Same works if your virtual interview is on FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp, or any similar program.

So, step one of planning a Zoom interview is picking the device you’re going to use to take it.

If you have access to a fast computer that works well and has a good camera, microphone, and speakers, it’s best to use that!

Using a computer might be optimal for a phone because the screen will be bigger. You will be able to better read the facial expressions of your interviewer. That will give you an advantage in the interview.

Just be sure that if you use someone else’s computer that you create your own Zoom account.It might look funny or confuse interviewers if someone else’s name is on the screen in front of you.

If sourcing a good computer is too much trouble, you can also take the Zoom interview from your phone.

However, you don’t want to hold your phone in your hand! The bounciness or shaking will be very distracting to the interviewer.

Instead, you should have a smartphone stand, mount, or some way to prop up your phone in a stable manner so that you can leave it in place for the duration of the interview.

You want to frame your camera angle such that you can see from at least the neck up to the top of your head on the screen. Some people choose to let the camera show down to their waist. Do whatever makes you feel comfortable.

Just make sure that you know your device and how you’re going to look on camera before you hop on the interview! It will help you to test the camera, lighting, and how you’re going to appear before the interview itself so that you can prevent any unwanted surprises.

Step 2: Choose the right place to interview.

The most significant difference between an in-person interview and one on Zoom is that it means you’re responsible for choosing the right location to take your meeting.

These are essential checkboxes for the place you choose to do your interview:

  • It should be in a private, quiet place

  • You need a stable, strong internet connection there

  • The space needs to be unoccupied by others and free for your use at meeting time

  • Adequate lighting or the potential to brighten or improve, e.g., with a lamp

People often choose to perform their Zoom interviews from home because it has the obvious advantages of being convenient and allowing you to adapt your setting to be ready for the interview.

However, suppose you know that the place you live has an issue that could impact your interview, such as an unreliable internet service provider, a poor Wi-Fi connection, nearby construction, or loud, unpredictable neighbors. In that case, you should consider finding a different location for your Zoom call!

It wouldn’t hurt to ask your friends, family, or a teacher if you could use their space to conduct your interview. Most people understand that getting a job is very important, so they’d probably be happy to help you.

Only if you have no other options should you ever consider taking an interview in a public place such as a library, internet cafe, or outdoor park with Wi-Fi. Any interruptions or unwanted distractions could cost you the job!

Step 3: Consider a Zoom background.

Keep in mind that during your interview, the person you’re talking to will see the space you’re sitting in.

Whatever condition that space is in, if it’s messy or how it’s decorated, can give people impressions about you that you might not want employers to have.

If you don’t feel confident and proud showing off your environment, you could use a Zoom background to keep the focus of your interview on you, not your surroundings.

That way, employers won’t get distracted by anything in the background of your call.

This isn’t necessary for everybody, only if you don’t feel comfortable sharing your setting during the interview.

All you have to do is go to the “File” menu of Zoom. There you’ll see a tab for “Preferences.”

Once you open up the Preferences, you’ll see a tab on the left for “Backgrounds & Filters.” In that section, it will give you some stock options for different virtual backgrounds you could use to cover up what’s behind you!

You could also select and add your own images to use as a background.

Whatever you choose, make sure that it’s appropriate for the job to which you’re applying! Don’t try to impress an employer by doing anything funny or too attention-grabbing –– that could hurt your job chances!

Step 4: Prevent interruptions.

First and foremost: Make sure that the ringer on your phone is OFF!

No employer is going to hire you just based on how popular you seem to be. Instead, forgetting to turn off your ringer shows a lack of interest, seriousness, attention to detail, or all of the above.

If you’re using Zoom on your computer –– preferable, for camera stability –– you should make sure any other messaging apps that may make a notification noise are turned off or closed.

After all, one of the worst ways to blow an interview is to let someone else do it for you!

That’s why it’s super important that you give kind and repeated notification to anyone who may be in the physical vicinity during your interview too. They need to know that you’ll be interviewing!

You don’t want anyone walking around or banging pots and pans in the kitchen while you’re on your call. You don’t need anyone calling your name across the room. It will throw your interview off its tracks.

Beyond that, maybe you live with someone who is a gamer. Does their playing ever affect the bandwidth or performance of your internet? Does your next-door neighbor sometimes like to practice their flute playing in the afternoons?

Try to map out every possible interruption there could be in your mind so that you can take action to prevent it from happening. Again, most people understand that job interviews are important and are happy to accommodate you.

Just tell them ahead of time when your interview is going to be!

Step 5: Dress for a virtual interview.

Although it can feel like Zoom interviews are by nature a bit more casual because they’re often done at home, that should not be reflected in the way that you dress.

Quite the opposite. In order to show that you’re taking a Zoom interview just as seriously as you would an in-person meeting, it’s to your benefit to dress up a little bit!

Wear clothes that are more formal in nature. However, make sure that they are suited to the job or industry that you are applying to.

If, for instance, you are applying for a job in law and it’d be expected that you wear a suit and tie to the office, then you should wear a suit and tie to the interview!

Business dress clothes or collared shirts are a good way to show that you’re making an effort to look buttoned up and professional like you’re serious about this interview. It will definitely give you an edge over interview candidates who didn’t make the effort to make it look like they were leaving the house to go to work.

Think of it like you would a first date you’re excited about and put your best foot forward. Wear your favorite outfit that makes you look nice, but also says, “take me seriously.”

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Tips for During the Interview

JobHero has plenty of great resources that can help you with the basics of an interview like our 6 Tips For Your First Job Interview page, our related Ultimate Phone Interview Guide, interview questions, or our page on the questions you should ask an interviewer.

Given that our focus here is on Zoom interviews, here are our top three tips that are specific pointers you need to take into consideration:

1. Make eye contact with the camera, not the screen.

This is one of the hardest things to get down for people using Zoom. It’s easy to proceed in the call and make eye contact with the interviewer on the screen like you would in real life.

However, to the interviewer, that’s going to look like you’re looking down, below them. That’s because if you’re looking at the screen, you’re looking below the camera, i.e.,you’re not making “eye contact.”

In order to make it seem like you are engaged and locked in with the interviewer, draw your attention up to the camera. Put your attention on the glowing camera light if that makes it easier.

This is especially helpful if you’re interviewing with multiple people at once. It will affect every interviewer by seeming like you are making direct eye contact with them. This is almost an advantage because you have to rotate your eyes for an in-person interview with multiple people. Now, you just keep your eyes fixed on one spot!

Even though it seems odd, it will make you seem more confident and resonate with the employer!

2. Give extra attention to enunciate and pronounce words clearly.

Since the format of Zoom relies on microphones, it’s a good strategy to make sure you’re conscious of how clear your speech sounds. Give a little extra effort to speak up and pronounce your words with confidence.

It’s a lesson straight from the old children’s game, “telephone,” don’t let your message get misinterpreted due to its technological relay! Be clear.

3. Use hand gestures with care.

Body language is really important. However, keep in mind that the way you gesture with your hands or arms can look different on a camera than it would in person.

For instance, waving your arms or putting your hands too close to the camera could come off as an aggressive or jarring movement.

A way to avoid this is by keeping your posture pushed back and making sure your arms and hands remain closer to your body than they do the camera.

Hopefully, following those tips and having some good ideas in mind about what you want to discuss with your interviewers will help ensure that your interview goes super well!