What is a Zoom interview and how to make the most of it?

What is a Zoom interview? Zoom is a platform for video meetings, conferences, chats, interviews and content sharing that runs across all types of devices. As in-person interviews have become problematic, employers are increasingly turning to Zoom video job interviews to recruit and select staff.

You don't need an account to attend a Zoom job interview and it's universality means that nearly everyone can access and download it.

As Zoom job interviews become more and more popular it is essential that you are fully prepared and ready to make the right impression in a video job interview.

8 Essential Zoom Video Interview Tips

1. Become familiar with the Zoom platform and technology

Download the Zoom app from Zoom's official website ahead of your interview and spend some time getting to understand how it all works.

Make sure you camera and microphone are working properly and that you know the various functions available on the Zoom platform. Make sure you have good connectivity in the room where you intend to conduct your interview. 

Check closely on the time and date of your Zoom interview and take note of any timezone differences.

Make sure you have the correct meeting link and access codes from the employer. Keep these easily accessible in case you lose connectivity during your interview and need to join the meeting again.

Make sure your Zoom profile name is professional - the best option is to use your full name as your profile name.

Test everything again on the day of your interview and ensure your device is fully charged.

2. Do your preparation

Understand what is a zoom interview and prepare properly for it.  Prepare as you would for an in-person interview. Conduct background research on the company and industry.  Familiarize yourself with the job opportunity and what exactly the employer is looking for in a candidate.

Consider your answers to common job interview questions. Prepare for job-specific interview questions.

Prepare a list of smart and insightful questions to ask the interviewer.

3. Create a professional and quiet environment for your Zoom interview

Find a spot that is free of distractions and is neat and tidy for your Zoom interview.

Remove distracting or inappropriate pictures from behind where you are sitting and make sure your desk is clean and tidy. You need to be able to focus 100% on the interviewer and he or she must be able to focus on you without any distractions. 

Have all the necessary documents ready to hand including a copy of your resume, a copy of the job posting, your background research notes, a list of questions to ask the interviewer and a pen and paper to take notes.

Eliminate any background noise by closing windows and doors. Alert members of your household to the fact that you should not be disturbed. Mute your phone and turn off email notifications on your computer.

Close down other programs on your device to prevent them slowing down your operating system that could negatively impact on your Zoom interview.

The best lighting for a Zoom interview is natural light or a lamp placed behind your screen and focused on your face. Try sitting in front of a window with the natural light directly on you or shine a lamp on yourself from behind your screen.  Backlighting does not work with computer cameras so avoid putting the source of light behind you.

4. Do a practice run and record it

A test run with a friend is a great way to feel confident about using Zoom. A big advantage of Zoom is that you can record your practice video interview and use it as an invaluable tool for reviewing and improving on your performance.

This mock job interview will help you set up and run your practice interview and provides a list of feedback questions to check that you are on the right track.

5. What is the right Zoom interview attire?

Follow the same interview dress code that you would wear to an interview at the company. Depending on the industry and job this will vary from a business suit or formal attire to a more casual look.

Keep your clothing muted - neutral, solid colors and no distracting fabric patterns and stripes. You want the interviewer to focus on what you are saying not on what you are wearing.

Make sure you hair is neat and not hanging over your face and that your jewelry and makeup are understated and not potentially distracting.

Interview clothes do's and don'ts

6. Get your timing right

Enter your Zoom interview just before the start time, any earlier and you may interrupt a Zoom interview already in session. The interviewer may be using the same meeting room for all their interviews. 

While being too early may cause problems, being late is even worse. Be ready at your screen about 10 minutes before the Zoom interview. Take some time to go through your preparation, make sure you have everything ready and are feeling comfortable. Sign in to the interview no more than 2 minutes before the scheduled start time.

7. Optimize your Zoom interview communication

Practice speaking clearly and slowly, a video interview often comes with some sound challenges.

Listen carefully to the questions and pause for a couple of seconds before answering to make sure that the interviewer has finished speaking. A small lag can throw off your timing and make it seem as though you are interrupting.

Wearing headphones or earbuds helps mitigate the echo effect of a lag and also serves to block out distracting noises.

How to communicate with confidence in your job interview.

8. Be aware of your body language

Looking into the camera, rather than at the screen, while you are talking is the best way to make eye contact with the interviewer. Elevate your laptop or tablet to eye level so you can stare directly into the camera without slouching down or craning upwards.

Display energy and enthusiasm by sitting upright and leaning slightly forward towards the screen. Leaning back in your chair makes you appear disinterested and sloppy. 

Avoid folding your arms as this comes across as defensive,  rather rest them loosely clasped in your lap or on the desk in front of you.

Avoid fiddling with your hair or face, your jewelry or anything on your desk.  This makes your appear nervous and is distracting for the interviewer.

Show the interviewer that you are listening closely and paying attention by using appropriate nonverbal cues like nodding or smiling.

Find out more about the right interview body language.

What is a Zoom interview and how to use Zoom functions

1. Virtual backgrounds

If you feel that your background is not suitable for a Zoom interview and you can't improve on it, then you can use one of the virtual backgrounds that Zoom offers.

Select a professional-looking and neutral type of background that will not prove distracting or flashy.

If you plan to use this feature make sure you have set it up and selected the right background before your interview.

2. Touch up my appearance function

This function uses a filter to smooth out fine lines and can help you to look refreshed.

3. The mute function

If you need to suddenly cough or sneeze during your Zoom interview you can briefly mute the audio.

This is also useful when you have unexpected background sounds like a dog barking.

3. Recording your interview

You can automatically record and transcribe your video interview. You can use this to review your performance and to inform your interview follow up.

Be aware that some interviewers may deactivate the recording feature.

Can I do a Zoom interview on my phone?

Although Zoom is a mobile app it is difficult to hold your phone steady for an entire interview. A phone also provides a more constricted view of the interviewer and of yourself. Many of the Zoom features can only be used on your laptop or desktop and not on your phone.

It is better to use a laptop or desktop for your Zoom interview but if you have to use a phone for your interview it is advisable to use a mobile stand or to prop up your phone. Adjust the position so that you are looking directly into the camera, you are at an appropriate distance from the phone and the phone remains still throughout the interview.

Using an appropriate stand for your phone also allows you to use your hands to take notes during your interview.

Avoid putting your phone on speaker for your Zoom video interview. Audio is not the best quality on speaker phone and you may miss some of what the interviewer is saying. The best option is to use microphone-enabled headphones to ensure good audio quality.

Finally remember to put your phone on silent to prevent any disturbances during your interview.

What are the Zoom interview questions that I can expect?

What are the typical interview you can expect in your video interview? We list the 8 online interview questions and answers that you should prepare for.

Online Interview Questions and answers

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Top 10 Interview Questions

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Behavioral Interview Questions

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Hard Interview Questions

What is a Zoom interview and how is it different to a Skype interview?

Find out everything you need to know about Skype job interviews and how to make the best impression from a distance.

Skype Interview Tips

Job Interviews > Types of Interview > What is a Zoom Interview?

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