With more employers choosing to do job interviews over Zoom, it's important that candidates understand how this format is different from a traditional face-to-face situation – being properly prepped will avoid any awkward moments or unnecessarily increased stress levels. Ben Paine from the talent acquisition team at Simon Acres Group provides his top 5 tips for how to succeed on Zoom.
Zoom has become a familiar platform for online meetings, and while you may be using it for work meetings and catching up with friends, there are some important points to remember if you are doing a job interview over Zoom. My top five tips are included below, but my overriding advice for any form of interview still stands – preparation, preparation and preparation. It's important to remember that you can master all the technicalities of an online interview, but if you haven't done your homework about the position, the company, and about how your skill-set matches their requirements, then it will be difficult to secure the position. But firstly...
1. Learn how to use Zoom
There is nothing worse than having a panic before your interview because you can't get the camera or the sound to work. Get familiar with the technology and make sure you know how to use all the tools. We always offer a trial run to our candidates, but if this is not an option for you then set one up with a friend so they can give feedback. You should look at your background, ensure it is clean, tidy and not too distracting. Maybe it can reflect your personality by careful choice of books or art. It is possible to create a bespoke background but consider this carefully – do you really want to be sitting in front of the Golden Gate Bridge for your interview? Then practice maintaining eye contact with your interviewer on Zoom. This is more complex than it sounds, as video chat makes this a bit different. Look into the camera as you are speaking, as this creates the illusion that you are looking at them rather than yourself or the screen.
2. Arrange the time with your household
If you don't live alone, tell the other members of your household you have an important meeting. It may be funny to see blunders on national TV but you don’t want others walking into your interview. Also be aware that sound travels, so ask others to keep noise levels down and watch out for noisy household appliances – especially washing machines – or TV music.
3. Dress as if you are attending a face-to-face interview
Dress properly, just as you would if you were having to go out to a face-to-face interview. Remember you might need to stand up to get something, so don’t put yourself in an awkward position by wearing shorts with your smart shirt, sharp jacket or nice top!
4. Put your phone on silent
It might sound obvious, but if you were going into your potential employer’s office you would silence your mobile, so do the same with Zoom. The last thing you want is your phone blaring through their speakers.
5. Make sure you have charged your laptop
Whichever device you are using – we would suggest preferably a laptop or a PC – make sure you have a full battery as the interview could take longer than expected. As a precaution, we would recommend keeping your laptop plugged in through the whole interview if possible.
And finally – good luck...!