man and woman near table

Four tips for better Zoom interviews

Over the past several days I’ve been doing several first-round interviews for potential development candidates. There are five tips I suggest when it comes to putting your best foot (or in this case, face) forward when participating in a video interview.

Avoid backlighting

Sometimes it’s difficult to get good lighting for a video call but it’s worth the effort. An overhead or strong backlight can make it difficult for you to be seen as well as reduce the quality of your image.

Choose audio quality over appearance

If you’re not sure about the quality of your audio when it comes to the microphone on your device, I recommend deferring and using a headset rather than risking not being heard. You may look a little like an air traffic controller, but clarity of the conversation is the most important consideration. To paraphrase, “it’s better to sound good than to look good.”

Avoid portrait phone camera angles

This may be just a pet peeve of mine but avoid using your phone in a portrait position if you’re calling into an interview. If the interviewer is using a laptop or other device, your video will come through looking like something off Tik Tok rather than providing the polish you’re hoping for on a video call.

Avoid clutter

If possible, avoid cluttered, busy backgrounds. Stick with something simple and clean; even a bare wall will suffice. The last thing you want to do is have visual distractions behind you taking away the interviewer’s focus. Also, while it may be attractive to stage your books and awards behind you, don’t think for a second people don’t recognize they are staged. We’ve all seen these types of “Room Rater” layouts and they aren’t necessary as part of the interviewing process.

Bonus – Practice

Interviewing over video call is not the easiest thing to do, but it is manageable and can be successful with a little time, practice and effort. Take advantage of the test call feature of most video calling applications to get comfortable with not only the tool, but how you present on the medium as well.