I was talking with a coaching client via Zoom the other day.

Our agenda was straightforward. Look at the roles she was applying for and make sure her resume and cover letter aligned with what the company needed.

The call went very well. The client felt ready to move forward, feeling excited about taking the next steps.

At the end of the call I said, “You know, I do have one more tip. It is not related to the agenda, yet I want to pass along. When talking on Zoom, remember to have your face centered in the screen.”

It is very disconcerting to look at half a head!

She realized that she had not even thought about what the view might look like from the other side. She just wanted to make sure that Zoom was up, her mic worked, and the camera was ready to go. All good things to do.

There are also other things to consider when you are getting ready to do a virtual interview. You want to make sure that the interviewer is focused on what you are saying and not the fact that you only have one eye showing.

5  Virtual Interviewing Mistakes To Avoid

1.  Forgetting to Check the Tech:  Before your interview check your tech to make sure you have the right software downloaded and working. So many choices from Zoom to Uberconference to MS Teams or Google Hangout. No matter the platform you will want to make sure your camera and microphone are ready to go. Also, make sure your internet connection is good and your laptop is charged and plugged in.

2.  Not Remembering the Audience

  • Make sure that your head is centered on the screen. Trust me half a head is not a good look.  You may need to lower your chair or put books under your lap top to get it right.
  •  Make eye contact. This means look into the camera not into the screen. This can be one of the most difficult things since you want to look at them and they are in your screen. You think they are seeing you looking at them but, in fact, it appears like you are looking away from them. Given you are not live and in-person, making eye contact is very important. Pro tip:  Put up a sticky note by your camera to remind yourself where to look.

3.  Forgetting to Clean Up:  What is around you will be seen on camera. Clean up the clutter. Takedown any inappropriate artwork. I am 50/50 on using the Virtual Backgrounds that are provided by Zoom and other platforms because when you move, it can sometimes get wonky or you can simply disappear. My preference is that you clear your space, put up a screen behind you if need be and remember to lower your shades to prevent the light from changing during the interview and having shadows moving across your body.

4.  Not Making it Zen:  I was on a video call recently when someone started running a blender in the kitchen. It was LOUD. So, do whatever you can to avoid disruptions. Close your door, turn off all your phones or timers, make sure animals and kids are not entering the space. Hang a DO NOT DISTURB sign. Keep your windows closed-sirens are loud too.

5.  Assuming you don’t need Interviewing 101:  Even though this is not an in-person interview this is just like an onsite interview and should be treated that way.  Prepare like you would for any onsite interview.  Show your professionalism. BE AT YOUR VERY BEST!

  • Plan to arrive 5 minutes ahead of the interview which means 10 minutes or so before the interview to make sure your tech is all set and ready to go
  • Have your resume in front of you and your success stories ready
  • Have the job description available
  • Have your notes, a pen and the questions you want to ask at hand
  • Dress for success. Oh yeah-and not just your top half. You don’t want to drop your pen and forget that you are wearing your Chicago Cubs Fleece PJ bottoms. Plus, colors on screen matter. See the video below for some tips on what to wear that doesn’t distract or have you fading into your background
  • Listen to the interviewers and respond to their questions
  • Ask questions about the role, company and those things important to you
  • Ask about next steps
  • Thank them 

Interviewing can be stressful. The best way to reduce your anxiety is to be prepared. Practice virtual interviewing ahead of time so you can focus on showcasing you.

Tips on how to look your best on camera during your interview.