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Preparing for Zoom job interviews

Online interviews can be a big fail if done poorly. Being prepared is the key to success.

Students preparing for summer jobs can wrap up their video conference call interviews feeling successful by using these five tips.

Knowing where to look is arguably the most difficult aspect about a Zoom interview. Look directly at the camera so that it captures your eye contact for them like a regular conversation.

If you only look at the camera, however, then you will not see the interviewer’s important body language and facial expression cues.

The solution is, while you are talking, look into the camera to give eye contact. While the interviewer is talking, look at the interviewer for cues about how the interview is going.

Secondly, set up a professional background by choosing your interview space appropriately. The goal of an interviewer is to find a reason to cut you from consideration. Do not let what the interviewer sees in the background distract them from your skills and talents. If you will be doing the interview from your home, make sure the wall or bookshelf behind you is decorated appropriately or use a well-lit wall behind you.

Put a chair and a small, clean and uncluttered table in front of the wall.

Then you can buy a few affordable prints on Etsy, or even make your own in Canva. Frame the prints in frames (Michael’s, Marshalls and Walmart usually seem to have some on sale).

Lastly, hang the prints with command strips so that you do not have to worry about holes in your walls.

Command strips cost approximately $7.89, but it depends on where you buy them from. 

The adage “dress for the job you want” applies to video interviews as well.

No one will know if you are wearing pajama or yoga pants on the bottom, but it is strongly recommended that you dress professionally, at least for what the interviewer can see, for Zoom interviews the same as if you were meeting in someone’s office.

Also, set the stage for success by dressing in a way that makes you feel successful.

Present yourself professionally by washing and styling your hair or getting a haircut. Some employers may expect minimal makeup. These tips can not only make you feel confident, but they can also boost the interviewer’s confidence in you.

Before the interview ends, make sure to ask the interviewer legitimate questions such as the employer’s goals for the position or what they do for team building. Just because you are the one being interviewed does not mean you cannot ask questions, too.

Prepare questions that highlight your skills. Give the interviewer an opportunity to want to get to know you and why you are the right candidate. Asking relevant questions shows the interviewer that you took time to do your pre-interview research.

Part of the interview is to determine how well you would work with the existing team, so show the interviewer your conversation skills, especially at the beginning and end of the interview, but don’t mention anything inappropriate or controversial.

Lastly, make sure you practice for the interview. Practice using your webcam and make sure Zoom is working.

An easy way to practice with your webcam is to make a secret Facebook group and do some Facebook Lives as practice. You can also sign up for a free video account with a site like Loom.

While practicing, ask some of the questions you prepared while looking into the camera.

Before your interview you should also practice logging in on Zoom. Call a friend on Zoom to test if it works.

The great thing about virtual interviews is that you can have a cheat sheet of notes and questions to refer to during the call that your interviewer cannot see. These can be taped or set up on some kind of stand next to the screen so that you don’t appear to be looking down at them during the interview.

After the interview is over, do not forget to send a thank you note or email to the interviewer. Friendliness is important.

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