11 ways to… nail a Zoom job interview

By Lisa James
25/04/2021
Home » 11 ways to… nail a Zoom job interview

Travel recruiters report the market is starting to pick up, meaning your dream job could be just around the corner. You just need to make it through the Zoom interview process.

As we all know from lockdown quizzes with family, and drinks with friends, video get-togethers aren’t the same as meeting in person. Nor are online interviews. 

MBM Travel Executives Managing Director Marie Moore says: “It’s less personable, with less time to build a rapport and therefore, it’s harder to get to know each other.

“An in-person interview allows the candidate to see the offices, the working environment and meet potential future colleagues, which helps them decide if the fit is right.”

Still, it’s worth getting to grips with a video interview, as many recruiters think they’re here to stay.

Jayne Peirce, Managing Director of Jayne Peirce Travel Recruitment, says: “In future, I believe more interviews will be conducted on platforms like Zoom – and not just for screening to whittle down the competition, but potentially, for the whole recruitment process, with the successful candidate only visiting the office once an offer has been made.”

Urbanberry Recruitment Director Emma Gregory says candidates shouldn’t be put off by video interviews. “It’s different, but the objective of the interview is the same. Don’t worry about the way it’s done, just focus on the outcome.”

Follow our recruitment experts’ tips and you won’t go wrong.

#1 Is your tech good enough?

Ensure your internet connection is up to speed and you know where the mute button is in case of an emergency. Progressive Travel Recruitment Director Fiona Morrison-Arnthal, adds: “If you have to use your mobile phone, invest in a mini tripod and sit back from the phone so you can be seen from the waist or chest up.”

#2 Have a trial run

Get to know Zoom (or whichever platform the interview will take place on) and all its capabilities. Have a trial run with your recruiter or try it out with friends and family. 

“I would recommend doing some role play and having a mock interview, then playing it back,” says Jayne Peirce.

#3 Prepare the space around you

Clear any mess away ahead of the call and have a plain wall or window behind you, advises C&M Recruitment Director Barbara Kolosinska. She says: “Choose something that isn’t distracting for the interviewer. If you absolutely have to have a virtual background, then keep it simple and neutral.”

#4 Do away with distractions

Plan interviews to avoid interruptions, such as deliveries. Keep children, animals and partners out of the room. Put a ‘do not enter’ note on the door and turn off instant messaging and email alerts. “If there is potential for disturbance, the candidate should advise their recruiter, who in turn would advise the interviewer,” says Fiona Morrison-Arnthal.

#5 Strategically place prompt notes

One great advantage of a video interview is that you can write notes and stick them to the wall in front of you. Alternatively, keep notes on a pad on the desk. Don’t forget a pen, blank piece of paper and a glass of water.

#6 Know where to look

“Pop a sticker next to the camera on your computer to remind you where to look. That way your eyes have somewhere to focus and it’s as if you are looking straight at the person interviewing,” says Emma Gregory.

#7 Dress the part

Despite the fact no-one can see what you’re wearing underneath the desk, dressing properly will make you feel the part and carry out the interview much more professionally.

#8 Practice your opening gambit

Prepare a ‘really succinct, upbeat and positive introduction’, advises Barbara Kolosinska. “You can’t physically shake hands through a screen, so you need to ensure your personality, drive, determination, ambition and experience comes across as you want it to,” she says.

#9 Prepare some questions

Our recruitment experts say the interviewer will be impressed if you’ve prepared some questions. Marie Moore advises: “Ask lots of questions, especially around the team culture or working environment.  This is important because you’re not visiting the office, so you won’t get a feel for it.”

#10 Be fashionably early

“Don’t be there on-the-dot, be there at least five minutes before,” says Fiona Morrison-Arnthal. “You never know when the interviewer will join the room and they will expect you to be there before them.”

#11 And finally…

Should the unthinkable happen and the cat photobombs the screen, or a five-year-old barges in demanding a biscuit, it’s not the end of the world.

Barbara Kolosinska says: “These things happen. Apologise, regroup, and deal with the situation. Don’t ignore it. Instead, try to make light of it.”

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