Job interviews are nerve-wracking at the best of times. With the world adapting to a pandemic, the way we conduct job interviews has changed. Employers are opting to interview potential employees through video platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Although this has been put in place to protect people during the pandemic, it is something that many employers may continue for convenience. Learning to adapt to this new way of interviewing could be the difference between us getting the job or not. So just how can we properly prepare for an online job interview?
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Learn To Use Zoom
If this is your first time using Zoom, it may feel intimidating. Set aside some of your time before the interview to learn how to use the video platform. You can zoom call a friend, or join an online weekly quiz. Even just playing about with settings until you feel comfortable using it is enough. As long as you understand how to use it, you shouldn’t run into any technical issues on the day.
Make Sure You Have The Zoom Details
Employers are busy. They may forget to send you the Zoom details that you need to get into the meeting. If it’s getting closer and closer to your interview and no link or details have been sent, just give the employer an email to let them know. It’s possible they will send it out on the day, so wait until the day to raise any concerns.
Treat It Like Any Other Job Interview
Here’s the thing. This is still a job interview. The format and venue aren’t what you’re used to, but the questions will be. Make sure you prepare for the questions that normally crop up in your interviews and be prepared to answer questions about your previous work history. Be just as professional and polite as you would be in person.
Prepare Your Interview Space
Video chat means that they can see you, but also your background. If you’ve got a messy area of your bedroom, definitely don’t show that space during your interview. They aren’t expecting you to have a Beauty And The Beast library either, but it’s probably good to show something professional behind you or simply have somewhat of a clear background (such as a wall). The most important thing, though, is that you have a nice quiet, undisturbed area you can do the interview.
Put Your Phone Away And Close Other Tabs
Online interviews are great for flexibility, but also bad because it means we can have more distractions. You can tackle this head-on by making sure that you don’t have anything near to distract you, such as your phone or other tabs open on your computer. One distraction can throw you off for the rest of the interview so it isn’t worth the risk to be browsing or chatting with your friends whilst in an interview. It will also make you look disinterested, which won’t help your chances of getting the job.
Test Your Equipment
Whether you’ve got a laptop, phone, tablet or dekstop it’s vital that you test everything is working before taking this call. Checking the microphone, speakers and cameras a couple of days before can save a lot of stress on the day. Practicing the interview with a friend or family member is a great way to test this equipment out. They can tell you if there is anything wrong with your background too.
Check Your Screen Name Before Joining The Zoom Call
Zoom has a function that allows you to change your screen name before entering a call. Did you know that it remembers that name from before? If you’ve been part of a Zoom quiz and created a silly team name, or changed it to a nickname that your friends call you make sure that you change it to just your name before entering the job interview call. It will look unprofessional if you don’t do this.
Have A Professional Look
After months of being couped up inside, no one would blame you for admitting you spend most of your time with your hair looking messy and in your comfy clothes. Make a good effort for this interview. Ensure that you have your hair done and a nice outfit on. Not only is it good for the camera, but also good for you. It will help you get in to the zone of an interview a lot easier.
Work On Your Body Language
Since you will be sitting in your home during this interview, it’s easier to let the nervous body language seep through. Try to avoid foot tapping, finger tapping or making facial expressions that will show you as nervous. This will make you look more nervous than you are and may distract the employer from the interview at hand. Tapping sounds a lot louder through a microphone as well, so be especially mindful of that.
Plug Your Laptop In
If you’re using a laptop, phone or tablet make sure you plug it in. There is nothing worse than being half-way through the interview and seeing the “low battery” symbol show up. This will create a lot of distraction for you and the interviewer as you scramble to find a charger. It will also make you look unprepared which will definitely lessen your chances of getting the role.
Make Sure Your Computer And Zoom Are Updated
Have you ever been in the middle of something important and just before you save your progress your computer decides it’s time to shut down to update? Don’t let it be during your interview. Ensure that you’ve updated your software so nothing will happen during the call. It’s always good practice to keep the Zoom app up to date as well in case you miss out on any important features.
Don’t Be Too Early To The Zoom Call
Normally, it’s great to be around 10 minutes early for an interview. However, in the case of online zoom interviews, the same link and meeting room may be used for every candidate. If you’re 10-15 minutes early you may be interrupting another interview. This will put the interviewer in an awkward position and they may lose focus. Be prompt but don’t be too early, and definitely don’t be late.
Keep Screen Contact
Eye contact is one of the most important things in an in-person interview. Obviously this becomes more difficult over video chat. If you’re not looking at the screen or the camera the employer may thing that you’re not paying attention of you’re bored. Make sure that you keep your eyes looking at the screen or at your camera to show that you’re interested and engaged in what’s happening.
Tell Whoever You Live With Not To Disturb You
Although employers would understand an interruption, it’s better to let the people you live with know you have a job interview. That way they can stay quiet and not disturb you whilst it’s going on. This becomes hard when children are involved, but if you’re lucky enough to have a support network (partner, parents, friends) who can chip in a look after your children then this is the time to utilise them. A distraction like this will throw both and the interviewer off so is best to avoid it at all costs.
Triple Check The Timezone
Depending on where you apply for your job, the Zoom link may have a different time zone than you. You might read 3 pm and think that is correct, but because they are in a different timezone you turn up an hour early or 8 hours late. Be mindful that even though the job you’ve applied for is in the UK, that doesn’t mean the interviewer is.
Those are my top tips to getting prepared for a Zoom job interview! Do you have any other tips? Please share them below.
So you’ve got the job, what next? Read about how you can impress on your first day on the job