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Tips to help you ace that Zoom interview

April 21, 2020 - 1:51pm
UNIBusiness Editor
student participating in video interview

COVID-19 has changed the way people work, making telecommuting a requirement for millions of workers and creating challenges for those who are on the job hunt. But the pandemic has also changed the way people get their jobs when in-person interviews are no longer an option.

This was the case for Finance and Management double major, Adam Schmidt, who recently landed a job at SitusAMC in Kansas City after acing his Zoom interview.

"I prefer Zoom interviews to traditional in-person interviews due to the convenience. I was able to have a virtual face to face meeting with someone hundreds of miles away with less anxiety. I was familiar in my setting and was able to look at notes during the interview which increased my confidence," said Schmidt.

In some ways, preparing for a video job interview is the same as getting ready for a traditional interview. You will still need to look your best, display a thorough understanding of the company and what it does, and write a heartfelt thank-you note. Even so, there are some fundamental differences, and some common pitfalls to avoid. Here are some tips that can help you ace your online interview and get the job.

Adam Schmidt

Adam Schmidt, Finance and Management

Choose an attractive and quiet spot.

The place you choose for your interview will be critical, so think carefully about the room and its surroundings. Choose a peaceful setting with an attractive background, adequate lighting, and no distractions. 

Send the pets packing.

If you have pets, be sure they are well away from your chosen set. You do not want a barking dog to interrupt your interview questions or a leaping cat to distract the interviewers. 

Be aware of your background.

You will be looking at the camera, but the interviewers will be looking at you -- and at what is behind you. Make sure the background is free of distractions and the walls freshly cleaned. You want everything, from yourself to your surroundings, to look as professional as possible. 

Check and double-check your equipment.

How your video interview goes will depend in large part on how your equipment performs, so take the time to test it thoroughly. Do a dry run through of everything, from the connection to the quality of the video, to make sure you are ready to go. 

Shut down distracting apps and programs.

When it is time for the video interview, the only thing on your screen should be the software you are using. Take the time to close all other apps and programs, and turn off notifications that could pop up and cause a distraction. 

Practice what you plan to say.

It is important to practice for your video interview just as you would do for a live interview. Think about what you plan to say, how you plan to respond to expected interview questions and the questions you plan to ask about the company and the position. The more prepared you are, the more natural you will look on camera. 

Look directly at the camera, especially when you are speaking.

Think of the video interview as a remote conversion, one where eye contact will be critical. 

Learn the names of your interviewers and use them often.

Part of your interview preparation is learning about the people who will be doing the interviewing. Thanks to resources like LinkedIn and the company directory, getting background information is easier than ever. When the interviewers arrive, learn their names quickly, and then use them when responding to the questions they ask. 

Dress professionally.

You might be in your own home, but you should dress as if you were in the office. Put on your best interview suit, make sure your grooming is impeccable and act as if you were in the interviewer's office instead of your kitchen or living room. 

Think of the interview as a conversation.

The meeting should be a two-way conversation, not a one-way interrogation. Think of the video interview as an introductory conversation, one where you strive to make a great first impression. 

Bring notes if you need them, but keep them inconspicuous.

One of the most significant advantages of a video interview is that you can use notes if you wish. They should not become a crutch, however; jot down a few notes if you must, but be as inconspicuous as possible when referring to them.  

It is likely that video interviews will become standard in the near future, but Zoom is not the only app in town. Apps like Skype, FaceTime, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts also make video interviewing more accessible than ever, and more and more businesses will take advantage of the safety, convenience and cost savings this interviewing style can provide. Chances are your next interview will take place over the internet instead of in-person, so be sure you’re prepared.

Author

UNI Business

UNIBusiness Editor

UNIBusiness uses a team of writers to conceptualize, develop and share stories and updates with the public. If you have a story idea, an update on an alum or just want to say 'Hi', please email unibusiness.editor@uni.edu.