by Charlotte Gurney
Video conferencing has become the go to for all the meetings that - pre-COVID19 - used to take place in person, including interviews. If you’re still relatively new to Zoom then it can be a confusing environment, which is not ideal when you’re trying to impress. Even if you’re used to video conferencing it’s important to remind yourself of what the interview etiquette is when you’re not sitting across the table from someone.
Make sure you look the part. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you should wear track pants and a t-shirt. You want to convey a positive image and that’s going to mean dressing in a way that makes you look, and feel, like a professional. The simplest approach is often just to wear what you would if the interview was face-to-face.
Set the scene. It’s a good idea to do a test run of the interview itself so that you can look for any potential issues with the space where you’ve chosen to sit. Find lighting that shows your face but isn’t too harsh (daylight is often best) and make sure that you’re happy with whatever is going to appear behind you on the screen. If the camera and microphone in your laptop or computer aren’t delivering great results then you might want to invest in higher quality equipment.
Get familiar with Zoom. Test out the Zoom experience with someone you trust so that you know how to enter a meeting, leave a meeting and control how you appear within that meeting. Make sure you’re familiar with all the features - for example, if you opt for ‘share screen’ then you could accidentally give people access to everything that’s on your desktop without realising you’re doing it. Practice how to be engaging on a video platform - this means talking into the camera as opposed to looking at the screen.
Work out how and when to mute. In an interview situation you’re going to need to speak a lot so make sure you know how to un mute yourself. If it’s a group interview or there are introductions that could be lengthy you can mute yourself so that you don’t accidentally interrupt. Try to choose a quiet spot in your home and make sure that you won’t be disturbed during the interview itself.
Remember that you’re being watched. We can feel a lot less self-conscious when we’re sitting in our own homes in front of a computer, as opposed to across the table from an interviewer. This isn’t always a good thing, especially if it means that you’re just a bit too relaxed. Remember that all of your movements and gestures can be seen, whether you’re yawning, stretching, speaking to someone off camera or doodling on your notepad. Try to be still when someone else is speaking and keep your hands on your desk or in your lap when you’re responding so that you don’t detract from what you’re saying.
Zoom is the key location for interviews these days and learning how to feel comfortable during the process, and understanding how to perform optimally, is essential.