The COVID-19 pandemic has upended every aspect of our normal lives, but nothing more obvious than the way in which our jobs function. The shift to WFH (working from home) has inspired many companies to embrace a remote work environment and has also greatly changed the recruiting process. As social distancing becomes the norm, so have Zoom interviews. Since the world does not seem to be going back to ‘normal’ anytime soon and many companies are opting-in for a remote work environment even as the pandemic subsides, we wanted to share some tips for successful video interviews.
For starters, make sure your device is working and charged. This means that your Zoom (or Meet) software should be installed and updated to avoid any technical difficulties that might keep you from being on time. Since you are not traveling for the interview, meaning that being prompt is just as, if not more, important.
Additionally, check the lighting in the room in which you will be interviewed by turning on your webcam prior to the interview. If the room is too dark or the light is coming from the wrong angle, your face may not be visible to the interviewer. To ensure great lighting, sit in front of a window to allow for natural, flattering light. Also, make sure your surroundings are as professional as possible. Remove any clutter from the background and place your device at eye level, preferably in front of a blank wall to avoid any distractions.
Keep it professional. Just because you are home does not mean you should look like it. Instead, dress as if you are going to an in-person interview. This will not only make you look the part but it will also make you feel the part and therefore present as a better candidate for the position.
To make up for the impersonal nature of Zoom interviews, smile, speak clearly, and be expressive. Emotions do not translate clearly over the video, so increase your energy slightly to make up for the lost adrenaline you would feel in an in-person interview. Your goal should be to make the interviewer feel as if you are in the room with them by smiling and engaging them as much as possible.
Similarly, it can be hard to gauge the flow of the conversation over a video or phone call. Therefore, it is necessary to enter the interview with a heightened sense of awareness to avoid inappropriately interrupting the interviewer. Be as open to listening as you are to speaking about yourself and take the time to be fully present to mitigate the impersonality of the interview.
During a video interview, it is important to speak to the camera. In other words, look into your webcam and not at yourself on the screen (I know, it’s tempting). Looking directly into your camera is the equivalent of maintaining eye-contact when in-person. Glancing down at the screen to look at the interviewer is okay, however, this often looks to the other person as if you are staring-off and not paying attention to them.
One of the perks of a Zoom interview is that you are on your computer and can, therefore, prep some notes or have your resume on-screen. By no means should you read either of them verbatim, but having notes will give you an additional sense of security and also relieve you from having to memorize everything about the company (or about yourself). Unless you know that you will be showcasing your work and will have to share your screen, keeping some notes handy will give you a leg-up and will make you seem extra prepared.