This article was published on January 6, 2022

6 tips to make that Zoom job interview less awkward

Pants not required


6 tips to make that Zoom job interview less awkward
Rebecca OKeeffe

You’ve aced the application, written a brilliant cover letter and even survived the screening call, now all that stands between you and your dream job is the all-important interview.

However, with the rise of remote working and the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, your interview will likely be over Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Hangouts.

While there are plenty of pros to doing an interview from the comfort of your home (you can wear pyjama bottoms if you really want), it does open up a lot of other issues.

In this article, we take a look at how you can make those Zoom interviews a little less awkward.

Set the scene

Think about where you’ll be doing your virtual interview. It’s best to do it in a quiet space with a plain wall or background behind you, this way the interviewer will be able to focus on you and not get distracted by your family photos or what’s on your bookshelf.

You should also avoid sitting on a sofa or bed as this doesn’t seem very professional. Instead, sit behind a table or desk and make sure your laptop or phone is propped up so you won’t have to move it during the call.

​​Complete a speed test

Poor internet = a bad interview experience for everyone. A jumpy video or frozen screen completely disrupts the flow of the call and frankly makes everyone feel a bit awkward.

To ensure your internet is working at optimum speed, ask family members or roommates to log off while you’re on your interview call. They will be happy to oblige and it will give you some peace of mind. You can also test your connection through a simple Google search for “Internet speed test.” And, remember, you want to look at the upload, not the download speed.

Do a trial run

We’re all pretty used to Zoom calls by now but you’d be surprised at how many things can go wrong when you’re under pressure.

If you’ve been sent the interview link beforehand, do a trial run on the morning of your call. Check you can access the video calling software (do you need to download a desktop app?), make sure that your mic and camera are working, and pick a spot where you’ll get the best light and sound quality.

Don’t forget about the small talk

When you interview in person, your body language, handshake, and small talk all help you build a rapport with your potential employer. Over a Zoom call, things can be a little bit more complicated.
One way to overcome this is by preparing a few neutral topics. Ask your interviewer how they’re finding virtual interviews or working from home. Or, you could ask them questions about when they joined the team and their experience so far. A little bit of forethought can go a long way.

Use your notes

One of the best things about having a Zoom interview is that you can control the environment that you’re sitting in. Light a calming candle, use a comfy chair and print out some notes or talking points.

While you don’t want to have reams of paper in front of you, you can easily bullet-point key traits or experiences that you want to get across during the call and leave them sitting beside your laptop. Make sure your notes are clear and keep them to one page.

Don’t stare at yourself

When on your Zoom call, look into your webcam, not at your reflection (as tempting as it might be). According to research from Harvard Business Review, making eye contact is the first step to building trust with your recruiter, because, “eyes play a key role in human social encounters.” They also found that 79% of unsuccessful candidates didn’t do this well.

A handy way to remember this is to put a small post-it note or sticker beside your webcam. Your eye will automatically be drawn to it during the call and it will act as a colorful reminder.

So, that’s all our top tips for Zoom interview success. At the end of the day, just be yourself and try to enjoy the process. Who knows, you might even land your dream role from the comfort of your kitchen!

Get the TNW newsletter

Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.