woman smiling at camera

With the coronavirus pandemic not only reshaping how we work but also forcing us to contemplate the value of the work we do, the global job market is poised for a substantial overhaul. Whether you are realising your leadership potential in lockdown, eager to make the meaningful career change you’ve always wanted, or navigating new opportunities after losing your job, a Zoom interview may be the next step in securing your new role.

Here are 11 tips for a smooth job interview via Zoom.

1.Eliminate as much background noise as possible

While much of the conversation around mastering Zoom focuses on flattering lighting (which we’ll touch on later), your most important consideration for an at-home Zoom interview is sound quality. It is what you have to say (rather than looking poreless) that counts and conveying your ideas, talent and personality clearly and audibly to your interviewer is essential. If it’s not possible for your household/loud neighbour to align their daily essential exercise outing with your interview, attach a polite sign to the door, plug any gaps with a bath towel and wear in-ear headphones.

2. Pick a plain backdrop

While social media is increasingly obsessed with well-curated Zoom backdrops, you don’t want your interviewer to be distracted by a wall of pet photographs or eye-popping wallpaper. A plain-colour wall in a room where you would ordinarily receive/entertain guests is ideal. Showing a prospective employer around an area of your home that you would usually only reveal to guests who you know intimately — for example, your bedroom — isn’t.

3.Get comfortable, but sit upright

Dropping into a Zoom cocktail party with your laptop resting on a coffee table is one thing, but sitting on your couch during a virtual job interview might mean you need to slouch to be in the frame or to be heard. The aim is to maintain eye contact with your interviewer throughout (vital) and to avoid checking your angles during the call, which means it’s best to be stationed at a desk or kitchen table. Open your Zoom camera and experiment with its height a few hours or the day before you’re due to start the interview. Note: coffee-table books and cereal boxes make great improvised laptop stands.

4. Consider your lighting

We’ll defer to CFDA chairman Tom Ford on this one. “Take a tall lamp and set it next to the computer on the side of your face you feel is best,” the designer told the New York Times this month. “The lamp should be in line with and slightly behind the computer so the light falls nicely on your face.” The same goes for sources of strong natural light. It’s also no secret that Zoom has a subtle, soft-focus face filter that you can turn on (see ‘Touch up my appearance’ in Settings).

5. Do a practice Zoom call to test your sound, backdrop and connection

OK — you’ve decided on your backdrop and you’ve organised your lighting. Now schedule a Zoom call with a friend or family member to check the sound quality and wifi strength, and ask them to send you a screenshot.

6. Mute all notifications

Unless you’re potentially exchanging documents/files with your interviewer during the call, close all tabs where you may receive messages. If you need to keep messaging apps open, mute them. The same goes for your smartphone; put it on silent and stow it out of sight behind your computer screen for the duration of your interview to avoid distractions (this isn’t the moment to get caught reading a meme).

7. Keep track of the time

Because of the static setup, it’s likely that your virtual job interview will be shorter than a face-to-face job interview. Ask the contact who confirms your meeting to indicate the approximate length of the interview ahead of time and, with your phone out of sight (see point six, above), place a clock at eyeline level to help you keep track during the call.

8. Have a digital copy of your CV ready

Probably our most straightforward tip, but just in case your interviewer needs a quick refresher on your skills and experience, it helps to have an updated and clearly labelled copy of your CV saved to your desktop for easy access.

9. Use notes if you need them

One of the major perks of interviewing for jobs via Zoom is that you can control what your interviewer sees. If you’re worried about forgetting to mention a point you feel may score you the role, attach a few (and we mean just a few) easy-to-read sticky notes to the edge of your screen.

10. Be the groomed version of your everyday self

With your mind free from the stress of pulling together a top-to-toe interview-appropriate look, you only need to think about what will be visible on-screen. That is, the top half — the mismatching socks or shearling slippers can stay. Whether you feel most presentable in a crisp white shirt, ultra-confident in bold colour, or favour a simple neat black T-shirt, be the tidiest version of your everyday self (and the night before, use those 15 minutes while ironing to do some preparatory breathing exercises).

11. Take a deep breath

Download the Calm or Headspace app and allow yourself 15 minutes to slow your breathing and still your mind — both the night and the hour before your interview. This is also a last, quick opportunity to take a minute to ‘read’ your body; ensure you’re not hungry and prepare a glass of water to keep near (but out of elbow range) from your computer. And, most importantly: remember that your potential is truly limitless and, above all, you’ve got this. Good luck.

Source: Julia Hobbs - https://www.vogue.com.au/culture/careers/how-to-master-a-virtual-job-interview/news-story/cd50d3020187de532da88ff4dcaa52d8?fbclid=IwAR10x5VClEWvZoZUxxgIeT5aAHB77eN2hvodp8_sZrJblR_OnkDg4ELceUI