If there was one key takeaway from 2020, it was that Zoom was going to become an integral part of our daily lives forevermore. The video conferencing software has facilitated everything from family quiz nights through to corporate board meetings to become one of the most important social and professional tools of the modern era. And in the world of recruitment, well, to say it’s been something of a boon to both employers and candidates is a huge understatement.
In fact, according to a recent survey carried out by Talview, as many as 80% of employers and recruiters say that their interviewing and hiring processes are now fully remote. That’s a staggering percentage that will likely increase in the coming months and years.
So with this in mind, we decided to create a quick candidate’s guide to Zoom interviews based on our own experience with over the last year and a half.
Here’s what we came up with.
Create the perfect environment
It’s absolutely essential that you create the perfect distraction-free environment for your interview.
- Setting your phone to silent
- Choosing a well-lit area
- Choosing a professional background free of distractions
- Turning off computer notifications
- Letting household members know that you need quiet time
You should also test your equipment beforehand to make sure that everything is working as it should. It’s also a good idea to check your camera angle too so that the interviewer can see you clearly and make eye contact with you (more on that later).
These are extremely simple yet important preparation steps that will have a huge impact on the success of your interview. Remember, you want the interviewer to be entirely focused on you and your answers so spend a little time setting up that environment.
Wear comfortable but professional attire
Just because you’re interviewing at home doesn’t mean that you should show up in your PJs or a tracksuit. Like any interview, you should dress appropriately for the employer in question.
Now, one of the most common mistakes is to only focus on the top half of your outfit because that’s all the interviewers can see. However, as unlikely as it may seem, there’s always the chance that you may need to stand up. A door could open or maybe your desk light bulb dies and you need to turn on another light — whatever the reason, you don’t want the interviewer to see a pair of tracksuit bottoms matched with the top half of a business suit.
Oh, and just like you would in a face-to-face interview, make sure that your clothes are comfortable so you don’t fidget and distract both the interviewer and yourself.
And by that we mean that you do your research beforehand and not while you’re on the actual Zoom call.
Remember that a Zoom interview is a two-way street. So when an interviewer asks you a question, don’t look it up and read your answer from a screen — the interviewer can probably tell what you’re doing.
It’s quite surprising how often this happens as some candidates tend to treat Zoom interviews as they would a meeting with a coworker. Remember this is an interview and you’re supposed to be prepared.
Use your laptop or PC, not your smartphone
Just because you can use Zoom on your smartphone doesn’t mean that you should.
The problem with using a smartphone is that no matter how good the camera is, a stationary laptop or PC camera is more stable. There’s also a chance that during the interview, you may be asked to take a look at a file or website and if your smartphone is all you have then things might get a little messy.
It’s a good idea to log into your interview at least ten minutes before your scheduled time slot. The interviewer will see that you’re online and let you into the meeting room as soon as they’re ready.
The problem with arriving bang on time is that you never know what unexpected issues you may encounter as you try to log into Zoom. Your PC may crash or your internet connection may need to be restarted — even minor things that go wrong at the last minute take time to fix, so give yourself plenty of time just in case.
Don’t look at your phone
Would you look at your phone while in an in-person interview? Of course you wouldn’t. You’d have it turned off or set to silent. The same goes for Zoom interviews.
Leave your phone within reach in case you need it for the interview (highly doubtful), but turn off notifications and set it face down so it doesn’t distract you.
Nothing creates a worse impression than a candidate that seems more interested in their phone than the interview.
Try to maintain eye contact
This is a pretty tough one to do as there’s a screen right in front of you and your natural instinct tells you to look into the person’s eyes. However, to really maintain eye contact you need to be looking directly into the camera lens.
A way around this is to place the Zoom window right under the laptop camera. This allows you to alternate between looking directly into the camera and looking at the person on the screen without shifting your gaze too much.
As you know, maintaining eye contact is a great way to show that you are interested in what a person is saying and create that level of trust between you and the interviewer so it’s really important that you try to remember to do this. You can also show that you’re listening by nodding your head at the right time and perhaps even throwing in a ‘mm hmm’ now and then.
Now, we’re not for a second suggesting that following these tips will land you that role, but what it will do is set you on the right path to success and eliminate some potential hiccups that might hurt your chances.
Good luck and remember that if you’re currently looking for a new role in Ireland, get in touch and we’ll be only too happy to help. We might even arrange a Zoom call just to get to know you better.
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