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It's increasingly important to know how to interview well over Zoom because it's one of the most popular video conferencing software platforms. Zoom interviews are becoming the go-to solution for the initial screening interview for on-site and remote jobs.
Video interviews differ from traditional interviews. It's harder to maintain eye contact, and assessing body language can be difficult through a computer screen. That's why you should practice using Zoom before any upcoming interviews.
This article outlines 29 Zoom interview tips you can use to look your best and prepare for any virtual interview.
What is a Zoom interview?
Zoom is one of the most popular video conferencing software solutions, so there's a good chance you'll use it in the next interview process you go through. It has various tools such as screen sharing, text chat, custom backgrounds, video recording, and a mute button.
Once you know how to use Zoom, you can use it to ace your next virtual interview.
29 tips for succeeding during Zoom interviews
Follow these 29 Zoom interview tips to ace your next online job interview:
1. Use the mute button
You can mute your audio in Zoom while our interviewer is talking to ensure nothing distracts them from your end. There's nothing worse than loud noises, dogs barking, or a lawnmower to distract an interviewer. Mute yourself to reduce interruptions and help your interviewer stay focused.
2. Prioritize the camera when speaking not the screen
To maintain eye contact during an in-person interview, you look at the person. Zoom meetings make this more difficult. You need to look at your computer's camera rather than the person on your screen.
Proper eye contact shows the interviewer that you're confident and respect their time.
3. Use a professional background
When you're setting up for an online interview, choose somewhere tidy and free of clutter to maximize your chances. Avoid having things in your background unless you want the interviewer to ask you about them.
A blank wall or a few tasteful items shows the interviewer you're organized and have attention to detail. An unmade bed, cluttered home office, or kitchen bench covered in dirty dishes indicate the opposite.
An unprofessional background distracts the interviewer and can cause them to be too busy analyzing what's behind you to listen to what you're saying.
4. Invest in good lighting
Your interviewer needs to see your body language and facial expressions during a Zoom interviewer. Good lighting will help them out and will help your appearance.
Choose a room with good natural light or invest in a ring or key light.
The most important thing is to have your light source in front of you. Lighting from behind will make it harder for your interviewer to see your face.
5. Pick a quiet place
It's easier for your interviewer to hear you in a quiet environment, so choose somewhere free of noise. A quiet atmosphere makes it simple for your interviewer to direct their full attention to you instead of what's happening around you.
Limit noise by closing doors and windows and turning off unnecessary electronic devices like speakers, TVs, and other distractions. You could also use an app like Krisp, which uses AI to remove background noise and echo.
6. Silence your phone
A ding or buzz from your phone can ruin the flow and distract you or your interviewer from the discussion. Put your phone away or in another room so you can clear your mind and focus during your Zoom meeting.
7. Maintain focus
It's easy to get distracted scrolling the web while your interviewer is speaking, but you need to stay focused. People can tell when you're distracted, even over video software.
Respect your and the interviewer's time by paying full attention, affirming what they say, nodding as they speak, and asking follow-up questions.
8. Turn off notifications on your computer
It's a good idea to turn off notifications on your computer during the interview. Close any social media or messaging apps, open Zoom, and set the meeting to full screen so the interviewer is all you can see.
If you're using notes for talking points, feel free to keep Zoom in a window but make sure to not rely on them too much.
9. Use a laptop or computer
Zoom on iOS and Android is robust, but it's better to use a laptop or computer. While your phone or tablet may have better cameras and audio quality, keeping them still and getting a flattering angle is challenging.
If you use a tablet or phone, put it on something stable at eye level to avoid an unflattering up-the-nose shot.
10. Check the battery on your laptop
There's nothing more distracting to an interviewer than a candidate leaving the interview unexpectedly. Make sure your laptop has a full charge.
Ideally, keep it plugged in as Zoom can drain your battery fast.
11. Keep your computer up-to-date
Updating your computer improves security and ensures it won't randomly turn off during your next job interview. Be sure to update Zoom as well to ensure you're running the latest versions before the meeting.
12. Check your internet connection
Choppy video and bad audio quality make building rapport with your interviewer difficult, so ensure you have a solid Internet connection.
Ideally, test your Internet connection by conducting a mock interview over Zoom with a friend.
13. Let your household know you're interviewing
If you live with roommates or family members, let them know when and where you plan to do your interview. Ask them to give you space and keep the noise to a minimum right before the interview starts.
If possible, interview in a separate room.
14. Wear appropriate attire
Dress as you would for an in-person interview, which won't necessarily mean professional attire. Your goal is to connect with the interviewer and make them feel like you're a good cultural fit.
For example, if you're interviewing at a fully remote tech company, a t-shirt is likely a better choice than a blazer. Generally, you'll be fine if you dress a notch or two above what you'd wear day-to-day as it shows you're taking the opportunity seriously.
It's best to avoid stripes and patterns as they don't come up well on video. Stick to solid colors.
15. Keep your screen clear
It's unlikely you'll have to share your screen, but it's still a good idea to close everything else on your computer before the interview. Closing everything frees up your CPU, ensures Zoom will run smoothly and reduces the risk of video and audio issues or something playing in the background.
16. Use appropriate body language and posture
It's more challenging to convey positive body language over Zoom, but you should still do your best to sit up straight and face the camera. Avoid slouching on your couch or sitting in a big armchair, as it can make you seem less polished. You want the focus to be on you, not the seat.
Don't be afraid to use gestures or move your body while speaking if it feels natural to you, and remember to use nonverbal cues like nodding or smiling to show you're actively listening.
17. Ask your interviewer questions
You are interviewing the company too, so ask your interviewer questions.
If you're looking for inspiration, see our guide on the best questions to ask in an interview. During the interview process, job seekers who ask intelligent questions are more likely to get the job.
18. Banish pets from the room
Cats and dogs are amazing and can help you build a connection during the interview, but they can also be distracting. Unless you're planning to use them as an icebreaker, it's best not to bring your pet to your interview.
19. Wear earphones or headphones to improve sound quality
Wearing earphones or headphones with an in-built microphone ensures minimal audio feedback for your interviewer. Audio feedback can be incredibly distracting and ruin the flow of your interview.
Headphones also make it easier for you to hear and focus on the interviewer without distraction from the outside world. Newer headphones generally have built-in noise cancellation, making it even easier to focus.
20. Check the time zone
If you're looking for a remote job, your potential employer might forget about the time difference between where you are and where they are. Double-check the time zone of the meeting to ensure you aren't late, early, or missing it altogether.
21. Get in the mood to talk
People can tell when you're tired or unexcited about an interview, which might be because you've been sitting at home for too long.
Energy and enthusiasm are even more critical when you're communicating over video, do your best to bring out as much passion as you can.
22. Invest in a good webcam
If your laptop or desktop is relatively new, you can probably skip this step. If your video is coarse, it's worth investing in an external webcam. The quality of your video has a significant impact on how you come across, even if the interviewer isn't aware of it.
Being able to see you makes it easier for them to see your positive body language and connect with you.
If you have an iPhone, you can use Camo to turn your phone into a webcam that looks amazing on video calls.
23. Get the most out of your framing
Framing is how you compose your shot. You want to have your eyes at the two-thirds level on your screen. A well-composed picture lets the interviewer focus on your face rather than the wall behind you.
Make sure your entire face is in the shot if proper framing sounds complicated. You can do this by placing your camera at just above eye level. Good positioning will also make it easier to maintain eye contact.
There are also apps like Detail which have AI-powered face detection and smooth auto framing, so you're always in shot.
24. Avoid virtual backgrounds
Zoom virtual backgrounds can be a load of fun, but an interview probably isn't the right place to use them. The only exception to this tip is that if you have a distracting background, it can make sense to use one.
However, even good virtual backgrounds can be distracting, so weigh up the pros and cons.
25. Check for glare
Before your interview, check to see if anything is reflecting or giving off glare that could distract you or your interviewer.
Glare can come from metal water bottles, watches, jewelry, or glasses.
26. Speak slowly and clearly
Practice speaking slowly and clearly. Even if you have a great Internet connection, Zoom can cut out occasionally, and it'll be easier to understand you if you're not rushing through your answers. Speaking slower will also make you appear relaxed and confident.
27. Don't be afraid to ask for clarification
If you didn't hear a question or the interviewer cut out due to a bad connection, it's okay to ask for clarification. It can be a positive as it shows you have strong, soft skills. It's always better to make sure you're answering the right question.
28. Prepare for common questions
Just because you're not in-person doesn't mean it isn't an interview.
Research the company, read the job description and think through any potential concerns the interviewer may have about your background. Then start preparing for common interview questions, including behavioral interview questions, and learn to use the STAR method to construct your answers.
By anticipating the questions you're likely to get asked and practicing your answers, you'll be more relaxed in the interview.
29. Practice using Zoom
The best way to get comfortable using Zoom is to use Zoom. Invest the time to test the software with friends or family before the interview.
If possible, conduct a few mock interviews and get someone to ask you a series of questions so you can get a sense of what it's like to interview over Zoom. After the mock interview, ask for feedback.
7 Zoom interview mistakes to avoid
If you want to make the best impression there are some things you should avoid when interviewing virtually. It's easy to get flustered by technology or a poor internet connection which can often be the difference between an okay interview and getting a job offer.
To increase your chances, here's what you should avoid before and during Zoom interviews.
1. Being late for the interview
You wouldn't turn up late to an in-person interview, so don't be late to a Zoom one. Get on the call a few minutes early to give yourself time to solve any last-minute technical challenges.
Interviewing is stressful enough without any unforeseen problems.
2. Not using Zoom beforehand
There's no excuse not to use Zoom ahead of time. It's free to download, and you can use it with friends or family. Knowing how to use Zoom will make you feel more at ease and resilient if issues arise.
3. Failing to gather everything you need
Get everything you need to be successful before your interview. We recommend a water bottle, a physical copy of your resume, and any reference material you'll want to use.
While you should avoid eating, a sip of water after speaking or while the interviewer speaks is a great way to prevent a dry mouth caused by nerves.
4. Choosing the wrong outfit
Even though you're interviewing from home, you still need to look presentable. The right outfit isn't necessarily a suit and tie. It's about matching the attire of the company's employees.
If you're interviewing with a bank, a suit may be the right choice. If you're interviewing with a tech company, it's probably better to be in a t-shirt.
Don't worry too much. It's okay to dress up a bit for the interview, and it's always better to be overdressed. However, a unique thing to consider for video interviews is that cameras aren't great at stripes, bright colors, or differentiating between you and the background, so try to keep things minimal and different from your background.
5. Interviewing in a messing space
While you could use a custom background in Zoom to hide a messy space, it's better to be in a tidy room. Even if the interviewer can't see the mess, you can.
A clean space reduces distracts and sets you up for success.
6. Not paying attention to the interviewer
The worst mistake you can make is scrolling the web and appearing uninterested in the opportunity. Unfortunately, because you're sitting in front of the computer, it is easier to do than you think.
Little gestures can make a significant impact. Try nodding or smiling at the interviewer to show you're paying attention when they're speaking. Don't check your phone or scroll the web. Put Zoom into full screen and leave your phone out of the room to avoid these problems.
7. Not carrying your side of the conversation
Job interviews can feel like interrogations, but they shouldn't. Interviewers expect you to have questions. One of the most common interview questions is "Do you have any questions for me?"
Questions show you're interested in the company and invested time into research.
You and your interviewer are trying to assess whether you're a good fit for each other. Do your part by asking questions!
Do your best not to interrupt the interviewer when they're speaking. Not interrupting is harder on Zoom because there can be a delay, but developing this remote work skill pays dividends, as many roles require you to work with remote team members.
Find your next remote role on Himalayas
Now that you know how to interview well on Zoom, why not consider applying for a remote job on Himalayas? Remote work has a range of benefits from improved work-life balance to better pay to working from where you want to.
Not sure how to find a remote job? With over 1,500 active remote opportunities across software engineering, sales, product, marketing, design, finance, and more. There's a good chance we've got a remote work is fit for you.
Even if you're not looking for a role yet, we've got over a thousand remote company profiles that you can explore. Each profile outlines what the company does, what technology and tools they use, and any open job opportunities.
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