Interviewing on Zoom comes with its own set of benefits and challenges. Learn how to prepare to set yourself up for job success.
Landing a Zoom interview is a huge accomplishment for first-time job seekers and people changing careers. It’s also an exciting opportunity to get to know a company and a position for which you’ve applied while logging on from any location in the world.
With Zoom interviews becoming more common, the video software itself adds a layer of preparation, on top of researching the company and presenting yourself with confidence. Use this article as a guide to prime your mind for meeting a potential employer and to set up the device you’ll be using, so that you arrive on camera ready to shine.
Whether you’re new to Zoom or a seasoned user, the idea of conducting an interview remotely might feel unfamiliar or intimidating.
How does a Zoom interview work, exactly? How will it differ from an in-person interview? How will you establish a rapport with your interviewer across a screen? Will you need to create a fancy workspace to serve as a backdrop (or conceal your existing one)?
The first thing you’ll need to do is get clear instructions from the organization on how to join a Zoom meeting and with whom you’ll be interviewing. Most likely, you’ll receive a link to a Zoom meeting or a numerical meeting ID scheduled for a set length of time. As with an in-person interview, you could be speaking with a recruiter, hiring specialist, the manager or supervisor to whom you’d report, or even the organization’s founder.
With many professionals now working remotely, employers may be making efforts to accommodate different work-from-anywhere scenarios, including shared spaces with limited private areas . Take the pressure off of yourself to create the optimum interview environment, and at the same time be aware of these potential advantages and drawbacks of interviewing over Zoom:
|Potential advantages of Zoom interviews||Potential drawbacks of Zoom interviews|
|May be more convenient for some job candidates, as it can eliminate the need to travel or find transportation||May be difficult to gain access to reliable WiFi, a quiet space, and a functional device|
|Could feel less intimidating than being physically present in an unfamiliar workplace||May feel uncomfortable to Zoom from your home, with your living space visible to potential employers|
|Easy to record, with the consent of all parties present, allowing everyone to view the replay after the fact and reflect on the details of the conversation||Occasional delays in the signal could interrupt the flow of the conversation|
Your next step is to configure the technological aspects of your Zoom interview. Keep in mind that you don’t need to create a state-of-the-art home office, with professional lighting and sound equipment. There are a few steps you can take to feel confident about your interview setup.
Want to prepare for different types of interviews? Try this one-hour guided project, Preparation for Job Interviews, which covers common interview questions and best practices.
Use this checklist to streamline your preparation:
1. Double-check instructions from your contact at the organization, including the day, time, and timezone of the interview, the Zoom meeting link you’ll be using, and other details.
2. Charge your device and install the latest version of Zoom.
3. Set up a free Zoom account if you don’t already have one. Personalize the basic settings by adding a headshot and selecting your time zone.
4. Pull up the organization’s website, as well as your resume, cover letter, preparation notes, and other application materials.
5. Sign in to the email account from which you applied for this position.
6. Start a new Zoom meeting and test your internet connection and app settings. Adjust the audio and video settings to your liking. Add a virtual background, or blur the background if you prefer not to display your physical space. Practice using the mute button, chat feature, screen share, and video recording features.
7. Leaving the Zoom meeting open, place your device where you will feel most comfortable conducting the interview. If possible, experiment with the room’s lighting and angle your screen about 45 degrees from a light source to provide the clearest view of your upper torso and face. When the setup is to your liking, end the Zoom meeting.
8. Silence all notifications on your device.
9. Close all other windows, tabs, and programs, besides your application materials.
10. A few minutes before the interview, settle into your space and click the Zoom link the organization provided.
Within two or three days, follow up with your potential employer to express your gratitude for the chance to interview and enthusiasm for the position:
Address an email to the most appropriate recipient: your interviewer, recruiter, hiring manager, or the supervisor for your role.
Begin the email with a greeting and a short “thank you” message.
Include the date of your interview and the position for which you applied.
Confirm you’re still interested, and summarize how you can contribute to the organization.
Add any important details that you did not discuss during the interview.
Close by stating that you’re eager to hear the next steps.
If no timeline was given during the interview, wait at least five business days to receive a response, and if you don’t, follow up a second time.
As you continue your job search, keep practicing these Zoom interview prep techniques. With each new Zoom interview, you can cultivate comfort and ease while exploring new career opportunities.
Yes. If you have a smartphone, install Zoom and sign into your account (or create a new account). Before your interview, test your connection by opening the app and starting a new meeting. Experiment with propping your phone against a solid object, such as a wall or a stack of books. Find the angle and orientation (landscape or portrait) that offers the best view of your face and upper torso. Make sure your phone is secure and won’t slide or fall during the interview.
There are several things you can avoid during your Zoom interview to enhance your experience. Avoid arriving late to your interview; confirm all meeting details and do your utmost to arrive early or on time. Avoid joining the Zoom meeting without having first tested your internet connection and app settings. Once the interview starts, avoid checking your phone or other tabs on your device unless your interviewer instructs you to look at something specific.
The best way to introduce yourself in a virtual interview is to start with a friendly greeting, followed by thanking the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you. If the interview is for a job you’ve applied for, express your interest in working for the organization and learning more about the position. Your interviewer might engage you in brief small talk before launching into the official line of questioning. If the interviewer begins with, “Tell me about yourself,” it might be appropriate to deliver a short professional introduction, or elevator pitch, highlighting your qualifications for the position and what inspired you to apply.
There are a few ways to stand out on screen. Always remember to look straight into your device’s camera to simulate eye contact and create rapport. Focus on providing concise and interesting answers to the interviewer’s questions. Be yourself, let your personality shine, and be forthcoming about your unique qualifications for the position.
1. Harvard Business School. “6 Best Practices to Creating Inclusive and Equitable Interview Processes, https://www.hbs.edu/recruiting/insights-and-advice/blog/post/6-best-practices-to-creating-inclusive-and-equitable-interview-processes.” Accessed December 20, 2021.
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