Even with lockdown restrictions easing, virtual job interviews are expected to stay and increase in popularity. So how do you impress a potential new boss when the cat is using your leg as a scratching post?
We all know working from home can be chaotic at the best of times. There’s always at least one child trying to show you their latest TikTok video, IT issues with no in-house IT support or a housemate’s washing draped over a radiator right next to your designated work area. Throw into the mix a dream job video interrogation and you may despair at ever successfully hiding all this homegrown chaos for the duration of that life-changing Zoom interview.
Taking part in a Zoom interview can be a daunting prospect, and recent research found more than 25% of recruiters make up their mind within the first five minutes of seeing a candidate. That’s why Asana’s Global Head of Talent, Kayla Vatalaro, is here to show you how to steady your nerves and shine brightly, because holding interviews remotely – whether by phone or video – isn’t a new concept, but for many of us, thanks to the lockdown, it will be the first time.
‘Given the absence of social cues and the chatter we’re used to, it’s more important than ever to be proactive and intentional about how you show up,’ says Vatalaro. ‘It’s vital to bring self-awareness and empathy into your virtual interview, and learn how to be a partner to your recruiter, and demonstrating strong communication skills is more important than ever before.’
So follow Vatalaro’s five winning tips on how to prep and ace your Zoom interview and, fingers crossed, watch that job offer ping into your inbox…
1. Set the stage & frame your shot
Give a great first impression by making sure you find a clutter-free space with a tasteful or neutral backdrop ahead of time. Position your webcam so it sits at eye level and make sure to have ample light. Proper camera angles and lighting not only up your selfie game, but are also essential for high-quality video interviews. On the big day, clear the room of anything distracting such as laundry and pets, so the interviewer can focus on you – not what’s behind you.
2. Do a mock run through and check your tech
One of the few benefits of lockdown is that many of us remain surrounded by family, friends or housemates. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of their presence to practice your remote interviewing skills. Even if you share a home, ask them to hop on a video call to not only run through mock questions, but also test how you come across on video in the absence of non-verbal cues, in addition to testing your lighting, sound quality, and camera angle. If you’d prefer not to ask a friend or family member for help, then compile a list of expected questions and practice delivering your responses on video. It may be uncomfortable but now is the time to get used to seeing yourself on video!
3. Ditch the sweatpants & dress for success
Communicate professionalism by dressing the part, from head to toe. Although it can be tempting to stay in your pajama bottoms, prevent those unnecessary embarrassing bare legged moments (we’ve all seen the videos). Avoid wearing loud prints or colors, choose simple fabrics, use patterns sparingly, and generally dress as you would on the job. And when in doubt, just ask your recruiter what the company’s dress code is.
4. Be a partner to your recruiter
With application volume and requests for referrals higher than ever, many recruiters are overwhelmed. At the same time, know that your recruiter is rooting for you and doing their best to support you through the interview process. Work with your recruiter by having open and honest conversations about your candidacy, responding quickly, delivering documents on time, and understanding that they may not get back to you right away. At Asana, our Talent Acquisition team also starts all remote interviews with a ‘remote greet’ to set up all necessary software, help put candidates at ease, and prepare them for a great interview experience.
5. Bring self-awareness & lean into your communication skills
It’s important to remember this is a challenging time for everyone, including your interviewer. In the absence of non-verbal cues, being self-aware and showing empathy helps make the experience feel more comfortable for everyone. With tech troubles and internet lags, it can be tough to know when someone is done talking, so give your interviewer an extra beat to complete their thought and use subtle gestures like head nodding to indicate you’ve finished your answer. Showcase your communication skills by referring back to your interviewer’s prompt, asking clarifying questions, and walking the interviewer through your thinking process.
And remember, this is your time to shine. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and let your personality come through.