The hiring process has changed a lot over the last few decades. The days of “pulling up your bootstraps” and “hitting the pavement” are over. Today, most companies require you to submit an online application. If you pass the initial screening, you may be selected for a digital interview before an additional in-person interview.
Digital interviews can be tricky to navigate, as they combine the remote element of a phone interview with the visual and non-verbal communication capabilities of an in-person interview. That’s why we put together this list of simple interview tips to help you ace your next Zoom interview.
Do Your Research
As soon as you get the invite to your digital interview, start by doing a little bit of research on the company. Not only does this tell you more about the company’s values and goals, but it can also help you tailor your answers to their interview questions.
In the same way that you should edit your resume and cover letter to suit the position you’re applying for, you should answer interview questions in a way that reflects the company’s culture.
Spend a little time researching the person who will be interviewing you. If you haven’t spoken with this person directly yet, simply ask whoever scheduled the interview the name of the person you will be speaking with.
Most hiring managers are easy to find on LinkedIn—learn about their role at the company and a little about their background. Not only will this make you feel more comfortable and confident during the interview, but you can also discuss common interests while making small talk.
You should also put together a shortlist of questions to ask at the end of your interview. Almost every interview ends with “do you have any questions for me?” This can be a great opportunity to impress your interviewer with some insightful questions.
Set Up In Advance
Yeti USB microphone
Coffee shops are great for working remotely, but they’re way too noisy for interviews. Find a location that’s calm, quiet and free of distractions for your digital interview. Make sure you have a stable, high-speed Internet connection to prevent unwanted dropouts. You should also close down any necessary programs on your computer to prevent hiccups in your connection.
If you haven’t already, download and install the necessary software and make sure your profile is appropriate for work. While it’s not a requirement to use a variation of your name as a user name, it’s far preferred to ‘MetallicaRulez88’ or ‘B_ball_gurl’.
Set your equipment up ahead of time and test things out to make sure there are no technical issues. You’ll probably notice pretty quickly that trying to conduct a Zoom interview on your built-in computer microphone or webcam isn’t going to do you any favors in the professionalism department.
By using a high-quality USB microphone like Snowball or Yeti, you can make sure that you’re always heard loud and clear. And with a Logitech HD webcam, your non-verbal communication cues will be crystal-clear too.
Make sure the camera is at eye-level—this will help make the interview feel more natural. Check the lighting and make sure you can be seen clearly without washing out your face. Be sure to spend a little time cleaning up behind you, too—you don’t want a messy room or an embarrassing poster in the shot.
Practice Makes Perfect
Just like any skill, interviewing takes practice to improve. Spend a little time preparing and rehearsing your answers to common interview questions like:
- What is your biggest weakness?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- Why should we hire you?
Think about your answers to detailed questions too. While it may be awkward to talk about things like salary and benefits, it’s best to get these questions out of the way before wasting anyone’s time with an unneeded round of interviews.
Don't be afraid to prepare a ‘cheat sheet’ to reference during your digital interview. You can even use a text document on your screen so your interviewer doesn't see you sneaking glances at your notepad.
You don’t need to write a script—in fact, you’ll sound cold and robotic if you read from a script. Instead, jot down some talking points to make sure you hit all of the important parts. Practice answering common interview questions using these talking points.
Dress To Impress
Dress to impress from head to toe
When it comes to digital interviews, the dress code can be a bit of a gray area. You may be tempted to wear jeans or even sweatpants since there’s little chance anyone will see below your waist. But, you never know when something unexpected may come up.
What if you spill hot coffee in your lap? You certainly don’t want to look any more foolish in that situation. That’s why it’s best to dress to impress from head to toe. Plus, wearing professional attire can help put you in a more professional mindset.
Show Up Early
It should go without saying, but it’s absolutely vital that you’re punctual. When it comes to interviews; on time is late. You should be in front of your computer, fully dressed, testing out your equipment one last time at least 15 minutes before your interview is scheduled to begin.
Make sure you don’t schedule anything immediately after the meeting as well, in case things run long. You don’t want to get antsy and keep darting your eyes to the computer clock near the end of the interview.
Interviewing on Zoom is more distracting than interviewing in person because you’re staring at a screen. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention—not only when the interviewer is talking, but when you’re talking too. Don’t let yourself ramble too much. If you that you’re starting to talk for too long, try to wrap up your thoughts and summarize your answer.
During the actual interview, make sure you look at the camera—not the screen. Otherwise, it can look like you’re distracted. Think of it like making eye contact. Don’t be afraid to take notes while the interviewer is talking. This can be very handy when it comes time to ask your own questions at the end of the interview.
Use Appropriate Body Language
According to recent studies, roughly two-thirds of communication is non-verbal, which is why it’s crucial to make sure your body is communicating the same message as your words.
Simple things like making eye contact and smiling can go a long way—not only does it improve your self-confidence, it can also help you speak with more energy. Your posture says a lot about what you’re thinking too.
When interviewing from your computer, it can be tempting to lean in and get close to your webcam and microphone. However, this can make you look disinterested or bored. Instead, sit forward in your chair with your back straight and eyes pointed towards the camera.
Avoid crossing your arms, as this can cause you to seem nervous or defensive. Instead, leave your arms resting on your desk or lap. Keep your back straight and your shoulders back for an open, welcoming demeanor. Fidgeting can also make you look anxious or bored, so try to stay still and focused.
After signing off from your digital interview, be sure to follow up with a thank-you note. Send the interviewer a short message thanking them for their time. This is a great way to reiterate key points and put your name in their head one more time before they make a decision.
Follow these simple tips for Zoom interviews and you’ll be sure to leave a lasting impression. For even more tips on how to improve your Zoom calls, check out our blog on How to Make Professional Sounding Conference Calls From Home.