The COVID-19 pandemic has changed countless aspects of our everyday lives and how we run our businesses. Before March, a large portion of shops and restaurants did not offer online ordering, curbside pickup or even posted regularly on their social media accounts. However, quarantine and continued social distancing has led businesses around the world to be reliant on the internet for survival.
Some companies have had to downsize by cutting operations and laying off employees, leaving the unemployment rate in the United States at the highest it has been in decades. Meanwhile, many companies have experienced a spike in sales or services resulting in the need for more employees.
Whether you have lost your job because of COVID-19 or are just now entering the workforce, millions of Americans are looking for jobs, making the competition in the job market fierce. So it is more important now than ever to be able to ace an interview, especially a virtual interview.
By looking at the statistics, it is fair to say that the COVID-19 virus is not going anywhere anytime soon, which means the new virtual aspects of the business world are here to stay. This also means that many companies and job seekers will continue to opt for remote interviews conducted over Zoom, so if you have not acquainted yourself with the application, now is the time.
In-person interviews and Zoom interviews are similar in some ways, but the two methods also have some key differences. Even if you are a pro at in-person interviews, it is important to make sure you are properly prepared for a virtual one. To help you out, we have compiled a list of seven tips for acing a Zoom interview that interviewers and interviewees alike can find useful.
7 Tips for Acing a Zoom Interview
1. Familiarize Yourself With the App: You cannot successfully conduct or participate in a Zoom interview without knowing how to use the app. The easiest and best way to get comfortable with Zoom is by downloading it and practicing how to use it. For example, if you are an employer looking to conduct an interview, it might be helpful to set up a practice interview, get the access code to it and then email it to a coworker to make sure the link works.
2. Dress to Impress: Although we all love to lay around the house in sweatpants and an oversized, comfy t-shirt, that outfit will not cut it during an interview. Zoom interviews require the same attire as in-person interviews. Business casual attire is acceptable, but we recommend going the extra mile by dressing in business professional. Make sure that you look presentable by brushing your hair and styling it as well.
3. Use a Professional Background: One of the biggest mistakes that you can make when conducting an interview or being interviewed over Zoom is having a distracting background. If you have a home office, it is the perfect place to be during the interview as long as it looks professional and other people cannot be seen in the background. If you don’t have an office or a similarly suitable area in your home, then you can use one of the virtual professional backgrounds that Zoom offers. However, it is important to practice setting up the background before the interview to make sure it looks good.
4. Record and Repeat: Recording the interview can be beneficial to both parties. Having a recording of the interview allows the interviewer to revisit certain questions that the interviewee answered and get to know the candidate a little better. The interviewee can use the recording to better prepare for their next interview. They can see what they did right and what to work on more in the future.
5. Bring a Cheat Sheet: We all lose our trains of thought every once in a while, but the odds of losing it during an interview is higher because we are nervous. So having a small sheet of paper with questions you want to ask or important experiences you want to reference placed somewhere near the camera but out of sight can be very helpful.
6. Have a Professional Profile Name: When you are Zooming with your family or friends, it can be fun to have quirky or odd profile names, but not during an interview. The best profile name for an interview is your first and last name. Be sure to capitalize the first letter of your first and last name because Zoom doesn’t automatically do that for you.
7. Look at the Camera: It is almost impossible to make eye contact over the computer because of the placement of the camera and where the person’s eyes are depicted on the screen. So we recommend looking into the camera when you are talking to portray the most straightforward look.
Although following these guidelines can increase your chances of having successful interviews, it's important to take into account your personal brand and values or your company’s brand and values. It’s crucial that job candidates and companies match up in this aspect.
A great way to learn about a company’s brand is by looking at their social media accounts, website or marketing efforts. At Inner Spark Creative, we are experts in these in areas, so give us a call if you want to better market your brand.