These days, many companies conduct remote interviews as an alternative to in-person interviews, especially if they are interviewing candidates living in a different county or region. Zoom interviews are now becoming the new standard, and this means that employers are less likely to forgive mistakes and mishaps. Indeed, in a post-pandemic environment where businesses can choose to maintain remote work arrangements or bring everyone back to the office, it becomes essential to demonstrate that you can work effectively and productively from home.
You will need to prepare for your remote interview in the same way as you would prepare for an in-person interview when it comes to:
- doing your research
- completing tasks sent by the company
- preparing your answers
- considering the questions you want to ask
But it isn’t going to be all the preparation you need.
To succeed at your next remote interview, you’ll need to explore your planning and prep further than you would for an in-person interview. You also want to make sure you present yourself professionally and make a positive impression on the screen. Use these tips to ace your next remote interview and make a positive impression that will help you land the job!
The Importance of Good Lighting
Good lighting is essential for a good interview. Zoom interviews can be tough to manage because you’re often trying to get around a desk, but there are a few things you can do to help your lighting situation.
You should always try to make sure that you’re facing a window or some other type of light source so that the interviewer can see your face and your facial expressions.
The first thought that comes to mind is to test how much light you can get from your screen. In reality, Zoom or any other online interview platform tends to have a dark colour scheme, which can cancel the brightness you’d normally receive from the screen. So you need to work around it to bring more light to your face.
If you use multiple screens as part of your setting, you can use an application such as paint on one of the screens. This will reflect on your face and can slightly alter how you appear on camera. For instance, if you are worried about your home office being too dark, using a bright yellow surface on screen can add more light to your face.
It is worth experimenting with ring lights and clip-on monitor lighting, as these can be helpful when placed on the side or behind your webcam.
Enhancing Your Eyes
Enhancing your eyes is important, especially in the remote interview. Eye contact is essential for connecting with your interviewer. Even in a remote interview setting, eye contact can remain an important part of building a bond with the person on the screen. It’s precisely why it is crucial to make your eyes stand out.
You want to showcase your eyes to make sure your interlocutor can tell when you are looking at them. Take some time to get ready before you go on camera by using mascara or eye shadow to enhance the colour and shape of your eyes. You can find everything you need at a place such as THE ICONIC online for mascaras that accentuate your eyes without overdoing it. Long and healthy lashes may not seem like an interview tip in any other circumstances, but when you need to cross the distance between you and your interviewer through the camera, you don’t want to miss an opportunity to establish contact through your eyes.
Creating a Clean Background
Interviewers appreciate that you are working from home. Nevertheless, they understand that remaining in a remote environment is your personal choice. Therefore, while they don’t expect your work area at home to look like a professional office, they still want to see that you have a dedicated space where you can focus.
Having a clean background is one of the most important things to consider when interviewing with a webcam. If you have a cluttered background, that will distract from your message. Here are some tips to create a spotless background:
- Use the camera’s zoom function to get close to you and fill up the frame
- Keep any patterns or objects in your background simple
- Remove any pens, pencils, books, papers, or other items that take away from what you want to talk about.
If you are still concerned about your background on camera, you can create a virtual background as long as you have a solid-coloured surface behind you, such as a wall. It’s essentially the green screen method and can be highly effective. Without a green screen, you will need additional system requirements to replace your real background with a virtual image. Yet, if you can learn how to do it, a virtual background can be a fantastic way to ace your interview by choosing something that reflects the brand’s values.
Wearing Sound Cancelling Headphones
A good way to make sure you sound your best is by wearing noise-cancelling headphones. They can even be used if you’re in the middle of a noisy place. Indeed, while you can let your household know that you are in an interview, you can’t stop noise from coming from outside. Neighbours, car traffic, and unexpected road works, which tend to occur specifically at the time of your interview, can be problematic, but using sound-cancelling headphones and microphones will ensure that your voice sounds as it should on the other end of the call.
How warm is your home office? The truth is that most British homes can feel a little chilly around this time of the year. So, it may be tempting to throw your cosiest jumper on top – but if you’ve decided to dress for the interview, you may not want to wear a thick jumper on top of your shirt or dress. So, the next best alternative to be comfortable during your Zoom meeting is to focus on the part of your body that doesn’t appear on camera.
You can wrap your legs in a warm blanket, for instance. You should also be thinking about footwear to keep your feet warm. It can be hard to stay focused on what someone is saying when you are freezing, so make sure you are as comfortable as possible! Some people like wearing fur-lined shoes such as UGG Boots or even fuzzy socks under the desk. It may seem silly at first, but you’ll be glad you did!
Testing Your Devices
Zoom is an excellent video and audio service, but it’s important to test your devices before you start your interview. You can always call Zoom from another device and see if the quality is good enough. However, if you’re using just your computer or laptop for the interview, here are some helpful tips for testing your devices:
- Test the audio on different devices, especially if you are using a microphone and headphone set
- Ensure the sound comes from and is captured by the best device for the call. Zoom, by default, may choose your laptop, which would make your headphones useless.
- Adjust the audio settings accordingly before the interview
Practising Your Body Language
Practising your body language on camera is important. You want to make sure you look like you’re engaged in the conversation with them. No one likes looking at somebody who’s sitting there with their arms crossed the whole time, and that’s not good for the remote interviewer. It’s also important to be aware of how close you’re standing to the camera because this can make it difficult for people on either end of the video call if it looks like you’re really close-up on their screen.
Are you ready to wow your interlocutors at your next Zoom interview? Knowing your stuff matters, but making a positive impression when talking on camera can make your skills stand out even more.