6 Tips for Zoom Interviews

Interviews in general can be intimidating. Now try it from inside your childhood bedroom, complete with pink walls and fuzzy stuffed animals. Tricky, right? Unfortunately, Zoom interviews are bringing new challenges to the already-daunting interview process. Many of us are interviewing via video calls for the first time, and even more are facing atypical interview environments.

Woman with curly hair waving and saying hi to someone through her laptop. Photo by Yan from Pexels Over the past several months, I have had opportunities to both conduct interviews and be interviewed for various positions. Doing so has taught me several Dos and Don’ts of Zoom Interviews. Here they are:

Tip #1: Do Have a Clean, Professional Background

It’s tough I know. If you’re living back at home right now, you may have bedroom decor from sixth grade, and it’s awkward. Try your best to at least clean up the space that shows up on your screen. Remember, your interviewer will form an impression of who you are based on any and all information you give them. If you sit in a messy bedroom with clothes on the floor and tell an interviewer about your glowing organizational skills, you may be doubted. Instead, try a clean and tidy, non-distracting background. If you need something to cover up bright pink walls or boy band posters, try snagging a cheap tapestry off Amazon or Etsy. They create an easy illusion that you have your stuff together. Last, I do not recommend a virtual background. Virtual backgrounds sometimes cut your forehead or hair off in strange places and look funny. However, a virtual background may still look better than a messy real-life background, if cleaning isn’t an option.

Tip #2: Do Put a Sign on Your Door

I have two younger sisters and a seven-month-old puppy with me at home right now. This results in quite a bit of commotion! Others may have noisy roommates, housemates, or parents. Let your household members know that you have an important interview and tell them exactly when it is. You do not want your housemate or parent bursting into your bedroom yelling about dirty dishes in the middle of your interview. I recommend putting a sign on your door, letting everyone know in advance, and then, right before you close the door and log on, reminding everyone once more. As an added precaution (especially against pets!) I place laundry baskets and yoga mats against my door, so that even if someone did try to come in, the door wouldn’t open all the way.

Tip #3: Don’t Stare at a Different Monitor

Know where your computer’s camera is and look into it while you’re speaking. It can be easy to stare at your own image in the corner, or even at your own image on a different monitor if you have multiple. One of the applicants I interviewed a couple weeks ago focused on a different monitor and I only saw his right side the entire interview. It was fine, but kind of impersonal, as I was unable to make any sort of eye contact, or even see his whole face. No one wants to stare into your ear! Know where your camera is!

Tip #4: Do Consider Lighting

Some recommend investing in a ring light, but I don’t think this is always necessary. Try to find a place where you can face a window, or be close to a window, and you should be fine. If you interview from a time zone different than that of the interviewer, maybe snag a cheap ring light from Amazon. I have one friend who is an international student and she had an interview at 2am her time in China. She bought a ring light and set it up behind her computer and was able to create a well-lit environment for her interview.

Tip #5: Don’t Wear Tight Pants

I wore a blazer, nice blouse, full makeup, pink workout shorts, and fuzzy socks to each of my past Zoom interviews. Why? Because I could!! I’ve talked with other friends who decided to put on slacks or a skirt with heels for an extra confidence boost. I think this is excellent! However, my one suggestion is to avoid tight-fitting bottoms because sitting down close to a screen may get uncomfortable. The last thing you want is to be fidgety or shifty in your chair during an interview because this can be confusing for interviewers!

Tip #6: Do Use Technology to Your Advantage!

Zoom interviews offer several advantages over in-person interviews. Personally, I like the “touch up my appearance” feature under “video settings,” which smooths out my complexion so nicely that I forgo foundation and concealer. Also, don’t be afraid to screen share! In a one-on-one interview, feel free to pull up an example piece and ask to screen share with your interviewer! It demonstrates enthusiasm and is a great way to show off your work, just like you would bring a hard copy to an in-person interview.

Now stop reading this article and go ace your interview! You got this girl! I hope my tips were helpful and informative :)

woman sitting at laptop Photo by cottonbro from Pexels