From a dodgy background to interruptions – what to avoid in video interviews

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With over 200 million daily users, Zoom has become so well known and used during the lockdowns that even generation Z has been temporarily nicknamed the ‘Zoomers’. And with so many job interviews taking place through this video-conferencing technology, it’s important to keep in mind that what usually works for face-to-face interviews has to be altered.

Preparing for the interview.

Not having to worry about traffic, parking, or even wearing pants, Zoom interviews seem a lot easier than in-person interviews, but it’s never been more important to prepare for them.

Carefully plan where you will be sitting because unlike in-person interviews, you must ensure the space around you is neat and distraction free.

It can also be useful to sit in your place and turn on your camera once you’ve gotten dressed, just to check that you look professional and that the camera isn’t picking up anything unusual.

Some take this as far as practicing their facial expressions, microphone and volume to ensure all of it comes across the way you are wanting it to.

Ideally your camera should be placed so that it shows from your mid-chest to the top of your head, with your eyeline being two thirds of the way up the screen.

Lighting also plays a vital role and so does noise, ensuring you’re in a quiet a space as possible, and preferably near a window that shines light onto your entire face is a lot more visually appealing than trying to get set up in the middle of the kitchen.

If you don’t have an area that is entirely clean, presentable and disruption-free you may be tempted to just add a virtual background – don’t.

This not only takes away from your professionalism but can also be distracting to both you and the interviewer as it adjusts to your movements.

Many also struggle with technological issues, circumvent this by turning on your devices and opening all the programs you will need to ensure it all runs smoothly.

Having a second Wi-Fi connection or mobile hotspot ready can also mitigate the amount of time wasted if your signal is dropping.

Opening the Zoom meeting in full-screen mode will also ensure that your laptop screen is kept free of distractions during the interview.

Play around with Zooms’ setting before you go into the interview.

Some people prefer to have active speaker view to see who is talking, others prefer gallery to see everyone in the meeting and pinning certain participants ensures that no matter who is talking their face never leaves your screen.

These settings will not influence how the interviewer sees you, so choose which ever makes you most comfortable and at ease, even if it’s pinning yourself to the screen so you don’t have to look at an intimidating interviewer.

Along with this is taking time to explore all of Zooms settings, most important being the mute and video on/off functions.

Correctly timing when to mute, unmute and turn off your camera can save a lot of embarrassment if there are any unexpected noises or people that wander into your interview.

This is purely for emergency use as constantly muting and unmuting yourself can be distracting and downright annoying for the interviewer – especially if they have to remind you to do so.

It is vital to remember once you’re finished exploring all the different settings and abilities Zoom has to offer that you put them back to the original or your preferred choice.

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