The Top 5 Thing to Do (or Not Do) During a Zoom Interview

Virtual Interview Meeting_Compressed

Thanks to COVID-19, employers in many different fields, including biotech, are holding job interviews via Zoom. This allows employers and job candidates to limit the amount of people that they personally interact with every day to ensure everyone’s safety. While job hunting during the pandemic is still an option thanks to emailed resumes and virtual interview options, there are a few things that applicants need to do in order to ensure that they’re putting their best foot forward while onscreen. So, what are the “dos and don’ts” of Zoom interviews? Let’s take a closer look at a few things that you should definitely do, as well as a couple that you shouldn’t, in order to make a good first impression.

What to Do

It’s important to treat a virtual interview as though it’s taking place in an office. You might be in your home, surrounded by your kids and belongings, but your employer is still judging you on a few different things to make sure that you’re a good fit for the job.

1) Dress Appropriately

Although you might be tempted to attend your Zoom interview in your pajamas, please don’t. The interviewer might only be able to see your top half, but wearing jeans isn’t the best choice either. Since you’re applying for a job in the biotech industry, you’ll need to dress appropriately every day, and that usually requires formal, professional work clothes. Wear them to your video interview, and you’ll look the part. While you don’t plan on your potential employers seeing your pants or shoes, you never know when you may need to spontaneously stand up to grab a pen (it’s a great idea to keep a pen and notepad nearby) or shift your screen. Plus, dressing the part will make you feel more professional as well, and that will show in your responses and overall attitude.

2) Look into the Camera

Always look into the camera. This can be tough because no one likes seeing their face reflected back at them. However, you wouldn’t look down and away during a standard job interview, would you? No, you’d make eye contact with the interviewer. In this case, the interviewer is the camera, so keep your attention focused there the entire time.

3) Focus on the Interviewer

Your goal is to build a solid rapport with your interviewer. Doing this shows just how likeable you are. After all, potential employers don’t just want qualified workers, they also want those that are personable and able to fit seamlessly into the corporate culture. The best way to do this in a video interview is by focusing on the interviewer. Pay attention to what they’re saying and respond accordingly. If there is more than one person from the company attending the interview, then focus only on the one who is talking, then switch your concentration to the other interviewer when necessary. This shows that you’re actively paying attention and genuinely interested in the opportunity they’re offering.

What Not to Do

Just as there are several things that you should do throughout a Zoom interview, there are just as many that you shouldn’t. The two biggest mistakes that you can make include:

4) Playing with Your Phone

It’s not a phone interview, so your interviewers can see you. If you choose to play with or reach for your phone repeatedly during the interview, even if it’s off to side and out of range of the camera, they will still notice that they aren’t quite holding your attention. It will look as though you simply don’t care about the interview or the potential job or are very easily distracted. On top of that, do they really want to hire someone who might be spend all day on their phone instead of working? No, they do not. Turn your phone onto silent, keep it in a drawer, and don’t look at it until the interview is over. Be respectful, and give them your full attention.

5) Call into the Interview from a Busy Location or Use a Crazy Background

One of the benefits of Zoom is the fact that you can access it from anywhere that you have a Wi-Fi signal and a smartphone or computer. Because of this, you might be tempted to attend your interview from your kitchen or your kid’s playroom, where chaos is in full swing. These distractions will have a negative impact on your interview, both because you won’t be able to focus on it, and your interviewers will most likely find it rude and distracting. On top of that, a crazy Zoom background, as much fun as it seems, will only serve as a huge distraction for your interviewers. Plus, it’s very unprofessional. So, keep it simple, subdued, and quiet, and you’ll set the appropriate tone.

While Zoom interviews are definitely a new part of our post-pandemic future, they are definitely something you want to prepare for and take seriously, just as you would a real in-person interview. Minimize distractions, be confident and put your best foot forward, and your efforts will all shine through, even if you’re hundreds of miles away.

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