Making Zoom Work for You

In many respects, everyday life has come to a virtual standstill. But significantly, employers haven’t stopped searching for new employees, which means you shouldn't stop either. With limited face-to-face interactions, however, communication has shifted dramatically to online. Given that your next job interview—or networking session—will most likely be held over zoom, we have some advice about how best to approach your virtual interview with confidence and ease.

Background—Choose a quiet place with few distractions or ambient noise, with a background that is uncluttered but interesting, such as a bookcase or framed prints. Steer clear of virtual backgrounds—although fun, they can be distracting to you and your interviewer.

Lighting—Go for ambient lighting that isn’t too dark or too bright, and make sure to avoid backlighting.

Computer Screen—Elevate your computer so the screen is level with your chest. Sit about two feet away; not too close, not too far away! Because it's obvious when you look away from the camera, don’t give yourself the option of getting distracted—close all tabs and windows on your computer. Taking notes is fine, but make sure the file is located in a spot that doesn’t take your gaze away too often.

Set Up for the Call—Join the call a few minutes early to make sure both your video and audio are on and working—you don’t want to fuss with settings during the interview.

1. To soften your appearance, go to the video settings tab and check the box “touch up appearance.” Everyone gets self-conscious on camera, so a slight touch-up can boost confidence and make you feel more comfortable being on screen.

2. Update setting so that you join initially without video. This will allow you to compose yourself before starting your interview.

3. Even when it’s virtual, eye contact is still important. Look straight into the camera to show that you are engaged and interested throughout. Remember to sit up straight and be aware of your “resting” face. Body language is always important, even when on screen.

Do Your Homework—Just like with any other interview, preparation is key. Research the company and have questions ready. Being prepared will calm your nerves and allow you to be fully focused during the interview.

Zoom may be a little out of your comfort zone, but these tips can help take your in-person skills to a virtual setting. Don't be camera shy—who knows where your next zoom call may lead!

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