By: Ashley Thomaz

A job interview can be a nerve-racking and stressful experience. And, with so many interviews now on virtual platforms like Zoom, it can add further distress. 

A virtual interview and prep is a bit different than a traditional in-person interview, so it’s important to be fully prepared for your Zoom call. Since you don’t need to drive to a business’ office, you don’t need to worry about traffic or parking. This will save you some time on the day of your interview, but it’s critical to set aside plenty of time to make sure your Zoom is ready to go when you need to log on. 

Whether your interview is in-person or online, always make sure to research the company and position you are interviewing for. This helps in giving you confidence when speaking to the interviewer, and if you look unprepared, the interviewer will notice. On the contrary, you don’t want to look like your answers have been memorized or rehearsed. 

If you want to stand out make sure you take the time to be prepared. There are a few other tips to follow to better prepare for a Zoom interview:  

Use the mute button

While you should conduct your interview in a quiet place, if your interviewer is speaking for long periods, you should use the mute button to avoid any sounds that may happen on your end. Keeping yourself on mute as they speak can help your interviewer feel more focused on what they want to tell you since you will unmute when necessary. 

Look into the camera

If you were to look at your interviewer on your screen, it may not look like you are on their end. Instead, look into the camera as you are speaking so it creates the illusion that you are looking at them rather than yourself or the screen. (I know this can be difficult, but it is necessary for securing your spot at their business).

Make sure background is appropriate

When you’re trying to find a place to have the interview, make sure your background is not messy. Set up in front of a blank wall or have “professional decorations” in the back. This will show that you are organized and care about details. 

Use a laptop/computer and make sure it is charged

Make sure you do your interview on a laptop or computer. Even though Zoom is offered as a mobile app, your computer camera gives the interviewer a better view of yourself and tends to come in clearer. If there isn’t an outlet close by to where you set up, make sure to fully charge your laptop before your interview. If you aren’t sure whether or not there will be an outlet, charge your laptop. It is always better to have it fully charged regardless. 

Check internet connection

Make sure you have a strong internet connection. You can test out your connection by zooming with other people.

Inform your household

If you are zooming from your house and people will be around, let them know when and where you are interviewing. Ask them to give you space and keep quiet until you are done. It is best to have them in a separate room, so you can focus.

Wear professional attire

Dress exactly how you would during an in-person interview—business attire. Even if the interviewer cannot see your legs, still wear nice bottoms to feel fully prepared and professional (they may even ask you to stand up to check if you’re wearing professional attire). 

Use appropriate body language

During your interview, sit up straight with your feet on the floor—good posture is key. As your interviewer speaks, use nonverbal cues like nodding and smiling to show that you are listening.

Ask your interviewer questions

You can prepare questions you have prior to the interview, but if you can’t think of any, make a mental note of questions that come up as the interview goes along. It’s very important to ask at least one question. Appropriate questions could be about the company, the role you are applying for (if they didn’t already cover areas you have questions about) or what the interviewer enjoys most about the company.

Interviews are scary, but as long as you are prepared you will be fine. Remember to be yourself and have professional etiquette.