The shift from face-to-face employment to remote work It has been impressive to watch and difficult to negotiate. As workers are sent home from their cubicles and home offices are set up from coast to coast, a growing number of employers are ditching their old interviewing practices and hiring virtually instead.
If you’re currently looking for a job, the initial interview, and possibly subsequent ones, will most likely be conducted via Zoom or a similar video platform. And while video interviews have their advantages, these online sessions can also have their drawbacks. With that in mind, here are some timely tips to help you shine on screen.
Set up a home office for the remote interview, even if you don’t have one
You can successfully work from home even if you don’t have a dedicated home office. With a laptop and smartphone, any room in your home, from a quiet corner of the living room to the rarely used guest room, can be transformed into a productive workplace. Even the space under the stairs can be turned into a home office in the blink of an eye.
Those ad-hoc home office setups are pretty common in the real world, but your goal now is to get the job done, and for that, the look of a professional workspace is a must. After all, it becomes your go-to outfit! Having piles of laundry or dirty dishes in the back is not the first impression you want to make. Even if you don’t have a home office, creating a clean, professional-looking background is a must.
Place your desk or laptop where there is a clean wall space behind you. It’s fine to have pictures or photos hanging on the wall or perhaps on a shelf with some knick-knacks, but you should avoid cluttered or cluttered backgrounds that can be distracting or appear unprofessional. You will also want plenty of light. If there is a window in front of your interview setup, open the blinds and let the sunlight in.
Try remote interview technology
When you interview via streaming video, it will depend entirely on the technology you use, and you’d better try it out. The last thing you need is for a dropped Zoom call or poor internet connection to sabotage your dreams of a better job, and the more you try, the calmer you can be.
This technology test should also include an examination of how the camera perceives you. Even if you hate looking at that little Zoom window of your own, making a few test calls will allow you to make adjustments to the lighting, background, and other vital elements of the video.
Practice virtual interviews with a friend
Video interviews can be even more stressful than in-person interviews, especially if you’ve never done it before. If you want to be alert when the actual interview date rolls around, try asking a friend to practice with you.
Ask them to ask you some common interview questions so you can practice your answers. Ask them to ask you about the things you know will come up, like your programming requirements, why you want to work there, and how much you want to earn.
Additional resource: Top Amazon Interview Questions
These practice sessions are useful for both online and in-person interviews, but can be even more valuable when the interview is conducted virtually. The more you practice, the more confidence you’ll gain, and that confidence is sure to shine through.
Keep your interview notes with you, but out of sight
For job seekers, one of the advantages of a video interviewer is that grades are a real possibility. (Yay!) You can take notes at your beautifully decorated home office desk, and you can refer to them to answer questions, promote your qualifications, or show off your in-depth knowledge of the company. What you shouldn’t do, though, is allow those notes to show up on your screen, so organize your space accordingly.
Keeping notes hidden but still accessible will be easier if you have practiced the video interview with a friend. Having a real person on the other end of the Zoom call can give you insight that no amount of solo practice can, and repeated practice sessions will further increase your confidence levels.
Eliminate off-screen distractions
One of the main challenges of working remotely is distractions. Remote workers deal with them on a daily basis, and companies are always worried about how many they will have and how they will be handled.
A remote interview is a small window of time. So it’s more important than ever to make sure time is well represented. If you can’t go 20 minutes without a break, how can you complete a full work shift?
If you have small children, send them on a play date or have someone come along during your interview to make sure they stay calm and busy. Turn off the ringer and notifications on your phone. Turn off the TV. Remove any potential distractions so that 100% of your attention can be focused on the interview.
Put all these tips together to look good in your next Zoom interview
In the strange new world of work, more and more companies are going remote, sending their employees home and conducting business over the Internet. That means your next job interview can take place digitally, and your ability to put your best face forward could be what gets you the job. The tips listed above can help you get the most out of your video interview, so you can advance your career and increase your paycheck.