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How to prepare to ace your Zoom job interview

Doing an interview is nerve-wracking enough without the added worry of doing it over Zoom.

What if the wi-fi goes? What if your family walks in halfway through? What if you freeze at an unflattering angle? It helps to be prepared and to feel as ready as possible beforehand to stop some of the nerves. Connecting with the employers in an interview is key and that can be tricky over Zoom, with voice delays and the lack of body language available in this medium.

There are, however, a few ways that you can ensure that you are making the most of the interview in this format. Follow along with these tips and tricks and you'll ace it!

Be familiar with the tech

Person Writing on Notebook

If you don’t already know how to use Zoom or whatever medium you’re using, do a few practice sessions. Organise calls with friends and family and figure out how to mute, change your name, test audio, enable the camera, screen share and more. Proficiency in this will mean that you’re more comfortable on the day and that you will avoid any unnecessary hiccoughs with technology.

Pick the right space

black and white chairs and table

If this is going to work you need somewhere quiet. If your family likes to hang out in the kitchen, then that’s probably not a good idea. Somewhere that isn’t in constant use and that can be sealed off from the rest of the house is important. And what is equally important is your background. No unmade beds or heaps of glasses of unfinished water, no dirty laundry or piles of dishes. Neutral backgrounds, like bookshelves, walls, office spaces all work well for these settings. Make sure you’re facing any windows in the room if you can. Having the light streaming in behind you makes you a silhouette which makes it difficult for your interviewers to make you out.

Let your household know

Focused customer with menu and waitress in cafe

If they know, they can actively make the effort to stay away. If you tell them that between 12 and 12.30 on this date, I need quiet and I need this room to be off limits, then your partner can keep the kids away, or your housemates can avoid that part of the house. Another thing is wi-fi. If the wi-fi can be a little dodgy in your house when multiple people are on it, then marking out a block of time when you need it to work flawlessly might be a good idea. Other Zoom calls could possibly be scheduled around this time, rather than having you freezing and glitching on the screen due to poor connectivity.

Set yourself up well

black and silver laptop on brown wooden rack

Make sure that your phone is on silent or far away from you so as not to distract you. Before taking the Zoom call, ensure that any open tabs on your computer won’t make noise, either from ads, notifications or videos playing in the background. Make sure any updates that need to be installed are already done so and aren’t pending. There’s nothing like starting a system update midway through the strengths and weaknesses question

Pay attention to your body language

Close-up Photo of Man Wearing Black Suit Jacket Doing Thumbs Up Gesture

Even though a lot of this can get lost over Zoom, it’s important to present an engaged and interested image when you are on screen. First of all, ensure that you are professionally dressed. Even if you aren’t there in person, make sure your whole outfit is work appropriate. If you end up having to stand at any stage during the interview and it’s revealed you’re wearing sweatpants with your professional shirt and blazer, it’s not a good look.

Check out the camera before the interview to see what the angle look like. Prop your laptop up on some books or something, so you’re looking head on, rather than down. Look into the camera when you speak, not at the person on the screen, as through the camera is where their eyeline is.

Best of luck! You've got this!

Fiona Murphy is a freelance writer, specialising in book-related content, fiction and poetry. She can be found drinking tea, craving tapas or attempting to finish her never-ending-novel.

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