14 Tips To Succeed and Mistakes To Avoid In a Zoom Interview

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 July 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Zoom interview is a common method for employers to screen job candidates without requiring them to travel long distances for a face-to-face meeting. Virtual interviews have quickly become mainstream, as more professionals opt for freelance work or choose to work remotely. Understanding the unique conventions of a virtual interview can help you create a memorable first impression on the recruiter. In this article, we cover what a Zoom interview is, explain how to set up an interview on Zoom, provide tips on how to succeed in one and share common mistakes to avoid in a virtual interview.

Related: How to Succeed in a Virtual Interview

What is Zoom interview?

Zoom interview is a popular online video-conferencing application that recruiters use to interview potential job candidates. The free-of-charge application makes it a convenient option for interviewers looking to hire candidates in remote areas. It's also a good option for recruiters that need to screen multiple job candidates efficiently without having them commute all the way to their headquarters. You can also request a recruiter for this interview format if you're currently employed and don't have flexible hours during the workweek.

How to set up an interview on Zoom

When you receive an invitation to interview via Zoom, it's important to follow the recruiter's instructions to avoid any delays. This way, you can make a good first impression. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you set up an interview on Zoom:

1. Read your interviewer's instructions carefully

Review your interview invitation email for instructions on the date, time and any additional information on the interview. Note this down in your planner to ensure you're prepared ahead of time. In this email, you may also see a meeting link you can click on the interview date to begin the interview. Store this in a safe location in your inbox to ensure you don't delete this important email by mistake.

2. Download Zoom on your computer

It's best to use a laptop or a computer for your virtual interview. This way, you can ensure the quality of your sound and video. Using a mobile device might appear distracting and unprofessional. Thus, download Zoom on your computer in advance to familiarise yourself with its unique features.

3. Test your audio and video

Run a test call to ensure your audio and video is working correctly. Calling a friend via Zoom can help you fix any technical glitches before your interview date. This way, you can feel more relaxed and concentrate on the interviewer's questions. Minimising any interruptions beforehand can help you build a productive rapport with the interviewer.

4. Click on the meeting link

Once you have set up Zoom on your computer and tested your technical equipment, you can click on the meeting link in your invitation email to begin the interview. Remember to arrive at least five to 10 minutes in advance to appear punctual and considerate of your recruiter's time.

Tips for succeeding in a virtual interview

The following are a few tips to consider when accepting a virtual interview, such as one on Zoom, to maximise your chances of progressing to the next stage in the hiring process:

Dress in smart casual work attire

Even though you might interview from home, it's best to look professional so your recruiter takes you seriously. Adhering to a smart casual dress code shows your respect for business conventions. Pick out your outfit before the day of the interview and make sure it looks tidy.

Dressing the part can boost your confidence. It puts you in an interview mindset so that you remain alert and composed throughout the entire interview.

Look into the camera while speaking

During an interview, it's important to maintain eye contact with your interviewer. This way, you can establish a personal connection with them and show your attentive listening skills. In a virtual interview, this might be a little difficult. However, looking into the camera gives the impression that you're looking directly at the interviewer.

Pay attention to your body language

On a video conference, slight gestures look even more exaggerated. Thus, it's important to pay attention to your body language and facial expressions so that you appear polite and confident. Practise your interview skills in front of a mirror so that you can teach yourself to minimise poor communication cues, such as fidgeting or distracting hand movements.

Related: Interviewing Skills To Ace a Job Interview

Pick a quiet and bright place

Computer microphones can be extremely sensitive, that's why you need to find a space that's quiet yet comfortable. If you feel that your room is quite dark, try to use an extra lamp to brighten up your room lighting. This way, your video quality will appear more clear. Attempting to minimise outside distractions ensures you can stay focused on the interviewer's questions.

Practise using Zoom

If you're not a tech-savvy person, it's important to download Zoom ahead of your interview so that you can get comfortable using the application and its relevant features. Practising setting up a meeting and testing your technical equipment ensures you can troubleshoot any unexpected problems that arise on the day as efficiently as possible.

Use a professional background

While Zoom gives you the option to set up a custom virtual background, it's best to avoid this feature during an interview as it can appear distracting. Instead, pay close attention to the space within your frame. Remember to keep your space tidy and take down any distracting pictures and push aside any objects that may appear unprofessional.

Update your computer

Check for any system updates the day before your interview. This way, you can prevent your computer from restarting accidentally. These updates can also clear out any technical issues with your system that you might have overlooked. Being diligent in your preparation can help you safeguard yourself against any unwanted challenges.

Communicate with your household

Remember to inform your household about the date and time of your interview. This way, they can be more aware of your need for privacy during this time and can help you keep distractions to a minimum. If you have young children, it's best to schedule your virtual meeting during their nap time or ask a family member to keep them occupied.

Ask the recruiter questions

An interview is a two-sided conversation, therefore remember to engage the recruiter with your own questions. Ask about the scope of the role and the direction the company intends to take. The more inquisitive you appear, the more likely they are to find you a good fit for the position. Questions are a great tool to communicate your genuine interest in the vacancy.

Related: Job Interview Tips: How to Make a Great Impression

Mistakes to avoid in a virtual interview

Here are a few common mistakes to avoid during a virtual interview:

Poor Internet connection

When preparing for a virtual interview, a common mistake people often make is that they forget to check their Internet connection. This is an important step because it determines the quality of your video and audio. Frequent interruptions can lead to a poor impression. However, a good Internet connection aids the flow of communication. It means that both parties can hear each other better.

Skip running tests on your equipment

A test call not only helps you familiarise yourself with the distinct features of Zoom but also allows you to detect problems before they affect a recruiter's impression of you. Paying attention to these details can help your virtual interview go smoothly. Detecting technical issues well in advance gives you sufficient time to get your equipment fixed or replaced.

Low battery

If your interview space doesn't have an outlet, make sure to fully charge your laptop before your interview. Ideally, you should choose a spot where you can leave your laptop plugged in during the entirety of your interview. This way, your device can last throughout a lengthy conversation.

Forgetting to put your phone on silence

Before your Zoom interview, silence your phone and put it away. This way, you can focus on the interview rather than an incoming text message or phone call. It may be a good idea to put your phone away for a while before your interview, so you can clear your mind and focus on preparing before you start.

Leaving notifications switched on

Along with turning off your phone, you should also turn off any notifications on your computer. Close out of any social media websites or anything else that could become a distraction. Set the Zoom meeting to full screen so that your interviewer is the only thing you can see.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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