Zoom Interview Do’s And Dont’s

May 16 / Deborah Gutman
Whether you are interviewing for a job or as part of the admissions process, virtual interviews are part of the norm. Virtual interviews can make interviewing much easier and convenient – which is great- and it is important that you learn how to present yourself professionally in a virtual format.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when conducting a virtual interview.:
Tech specifications:
  • Do what you can to conduct interviews on a laptop or desktop computer rather than on your phone.
  • Position your webcam so it is at eye level when you sit. Then place your browser window up near your camera so that when you are looking at your interviewer you are actually looking directly at them through the camera..
  • Use the technology available to you with the best camera. You may consider borrowing someone’s laptop but typically it does not require buying a camera.
  • Establish proper lighting. The background light should be the brightest in your room. Turn on any available lights in the room, close windows, and make sure there is no glare on your monitor.
  • Check your equipment. We highly recommend a trial run with a friend to make sure your camera and audio are working. Get feedback from someone on the other end of a video call so they can point out things you might not notice.
  • Have a Plan B. If you are able to have an ethernet cord available or download the technology to your phone so you can use your cellular instead of your wifi.

Personal appearance:
  • It goes without saying that the same expectations exist in the virtual world as in the in-person world. Dress professionally as you would for an in-person interview. Can you keep it casual from the waist down? Sure, but you better be sure you won’t be standing up at any point (See: Some Good News with John Krasinski).
  • A good thing to know if you are meeting by Zoom – there is actually a filter to make yourself look better! Highly recommend this since it doesn’t do much other than make the image a little less harsh. You can find this feature under Preferences and then under Video.
  • Be mindful of your background.
  • Position yourself in front of a wall with neutral colors; avoid patterns, wallpaper, and mirrors.
  • You can blur your background but avoid using any busy or very specific artificial backgrounds.
  • Test out your blurred background because at times it can be distracting if your laptop cannot do a good job separating you from your background.
  • You can also stage your background if there is something you do want to highlight, like your Olympic medals. The background does not have to be completely plain, but at least not distracting.
  • Try to avoid taking interviews from your car, walking, or where beds in your bedroom are visible. If you are still at school, many career centers offer cubicles or offices expressly for virtual interviews. Those locations can be a great option if you are looking for a professional space for interviews.

  • Turn off all appliances or devices that create ambient noise.
  • Your interview space should be quiet.
  • Eliminate all possible distractions and interruptions.
  • Turn off alerts on computer and phone
  • Turn phone to airplane mode.

Nonverbal signals:
  • Eye contact: Try to have your computer at eye-level and possibly use a computer riser so you are actually looking into your camera straight on
  • Keep your posture upright and alert
  • Emote more than usual and increase your energy – it takes a little more to communicate enthusiasm in a virtual environment.

Find a private space
  • Make sure you are separated from pets, roommates and family members
  • As mentioned above, many universities do offer reserved spaces if you are unable to find a private place at home. Remember, some of the conference rooms have motion sensor lights that might shut off automatically or other weird idiosyncrasies.
  • As mentioned above, parked cars and bedrooms (if beds are visible) or taking interviews while walking or outside will not signal the right level of professionalism
  • Make sure the room is clean and tidy.

Do not panic if you have a technology glitch
  • Regroup and move on if there is a technical glitch – everyone has been in that position! But it’s smart to have a Plan B. Download Zoom or whatever platform is being used to your phone which should have cell service even if your WiFi goes down.

Keep your eyes on the camera
  • Don’t read off another screen, your phone or off your notes – the interviewer can always tell!