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By now, we’re all well aware of the Zoom ground rules for the professional — turn the cat filter off, have proper lighting, dress appropriately and eliminate distractions.
But when it comes to acing a video job interview, you have to up the ante. We asked recruiters and experts about their must-haves and grievances.
Eliminating distractions is key — including exiting a work call before your interview. Last March, Mollie Leonard, head of people at Mediaplanet, a global firm delivering content marketing campaigns in Midtown, attended a companywide meeting with about 60 people on Zoom when an entry-level employee neglected to mute herself during an external job interview.
“All of a sudden, the sound of the call switched from the speaker’s voice to this employee who was interviewing for another job. We heard the employee answering the question, ‘Why are you looking to leave your current role?’ loud and clear.” Afterward, the employee’s manager and Leonard approached her, and she apologized “extensively.” (She eventually left the company for another opportunity.)
Ask insightful questions
Lisa Vasquez-Fedrizzi, managing director of people and action at Cheer Partners, an employee experience agency in West Babylon, Long Island, said candidates are asking thoughtful questions which show they’re invested in roles.
“They’re asking if they’re going to be treated as an equal partner, do they have a place at the table?” she said. “They’re asking in-depth questions about the day-to-day role. This makes me know the person is prepared.”
Use phone audio and computer video
Gorick Ng, author of “The Unspoken Rules: Secrets To Starting Your Career Off Right” (Harvard Business Review Press) out in April, said to consider this if you have a weak Internet connection. Enter the Zoom room using video, but click the “call me” button instead of the “join with computer audio” button.
“Not only will others be able to hear you clearly, but in the event your video cuts out, you can still hear and talk,” he said. “You can mute and unmute yourself without others seeing the microphone icon disappear and reappear.”
Arrive on time
Terri Wein, partner at Midtown-based global career advisory firm Weil & Wein, said, “For some reason, many people would never show up for an in-person interview in the nick of time, but think it’s fine to pop into a Zoom appointment a minute late.”
Make a note: It’s not.
Don’t phone a friend
Ian (last name withheld for professional reasons), a senior recruiter at an insurance company in East Brunswick, New Jersey, conducted a Webex interview with a database analyst candidate who secretly enlisted a virtual helper. “The hiring manager asked technical questions, and there’s this lag time between his mouth moving and the answers. The voices didn’t match. He had someone on the phone!” he said. Although they didn’t divulge awareness of the incredulous wrongdoing, they did cut it short.
Prepare for any fails with a comeback
Have a few lines ready in your back pocket if mishaps occur. “It happens all the time — it’s how you handle it that matters. You could say, ‘Please excuse the barking dog in the background. He must have missed my memo to be quiet at 10 a.m. today,’ ” said Wein.
Show and tell
Michael Balush, senior vice president of customer development and talent acquisition leader at Power Home Remodeling, in Melville interviewed an entry-level sales candidate who was a former collegiate basketball player. “He positioned himself in front of all of his sports trophies, framed articles and awards,” he said. This showed Balush that the candidate was a “committed, ambitious and team-oriented individual” and “a smart move that helped him stand out.”
Engage your audience
Leonard appreciates nonverbal cues such as eye contact, mirroring facial expressions, nodding, smiling and good posture (leaning forward, open arms instead of crossed).
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