6 Tips to Ace Your Next Zoom Interview

Line art drawing of a person sitting at a computer desk holding a piece of paper

By Jessica Hochanadel

Video conference interviewing is probably not something the average student or recent graduate has spent time preparing for. Covid-19 has forced many things in daily life onto an online platform. As the world around us is changing we must do our best to adapt. Do not get left behind! After reading the following tips, you will feel better prepared on how to impress potential employers during any online interview.  

#1 Create a Distraction Free Area

External distractions should be eliminated from your environment before you even think about joining that Zoom call.  Noise will be a distraction for not only you, but also for your interviewer. Turning off the TV, silencing that cellphone, and closing out of unneeded windows to ensure there are no abruptly loud pop-up ads are all actions that can be taken to reduce the amount of noise pollution that may occur. Visual distractions are also important to minimize. Looking at the camera directly(opens in new window) simulates what real eye contact would be like in an in-person interview. Keeping your eyes focused on the screen /camera is important. So, kick out any pets or roommates from the room you are in to ensure that your eyes won’t begin to wander.  

#2 Double Check for Possible Technical Errors

As if the typical interviewing process wasn’t nerve racking enough, now we must plan for another anxiety causing obstacle of technology. There is nothing more annoying than being on a Zoom call where the person on the other end is continuously lagging or freezing. Don’t be that person! Creating a list to go through and check off before interviewing begins can decrease this anxiety. Is the modem fully plugged in? Is the microphone working? Is the camera working? Is your laptop fully charged? These are all examples of things that should be on the checklist. It will also be important to give yourself enough time to fix these issues if a problem were to arise while checking. Doing a run through with a friend is also a good way to make sure the technology is working properly.  

#3 Test Your Lighting

Normally, lighting is not something someone would have to think about before an interview. The question “do I look like a scary shadow figure?” is now a thought that should come to mind before connecting to your online interview. When it comes to video conference interviewing, lighting should be a concern. Making sure that your face can be seen makes the experience more personal. The interviewer will be trying to remember which face matches which name, make that job easier by being easy to see. According to Christopher Null from Wired(opens in new window) your best bet to master lighting is to get rid of any direct backlighting, use natural light if it is available, and resist using so much light that you become washed out and a glare is created. 

#4 Keep Your Background Simple

The tips above are mostly about making sure you don’t become distracted, but since the interviewer is also human, they could easily become distracted as well. This is one reason the background should be simple, with less to look at the interviewer will be more inclined to focus on you and therefore remember you instead of that cool Drake poster behind your head.  

#5 Find Your Rhythm

Many reading this blog have most likely taken at least one online course or attended an online conference call. There is a reason the mute button can feel like a saving grace, it prevents the rhythm of the conversation from being disrupted. Utilizing the mute button during an interview will essentially minimize the risk of possible interruptions. In person, an interjection(opens in new window) during a conversation can sound a bit softer compared to an audio lag on a video call, which may sound more rude even if that was not the intent. 

#6 Adjust Your Body Language

This is where practice with face to face interviewing will come in handy as body language will still be recognized on a video conference call! Posture will be the first thing to focus on. Remembering to sit up straight may seem simple, but often we begin to slouch without even realizing it. Good posture makes you feel more confident, which will positively affect how others perceive you. If it makes you more comfortable to use your hands while speaking, then do so without making it distract from what is being said. When not speaking try using nonverbal signs to show you are still listening, such as nodding and smiling. 

Some of these tips are guidelines that apply to both in person interviews as well as video conference interviews. Remember, potential employers are most likely new to this form of interviewing as well! The only way to feel confident doing something new is to continue practicing. Good luck!