“Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success.” – J.K. Rowling
Nearly 3 million U.S. women have dropped out of the labor force since the pandemic began.¹ With vaccination rates rising, and life seemingly returning back to a new normal, there has been a lot of buzz lately about a new way of interviewing, and landing that next career chapter. Interviewing remotely via video conferencing applications like Zoom requires a new set of skills that many of us may not have thought of. From eye contact (yes on Zoom, too) to lighting, connectivity issues to typical interview preparedness, CNSMoms compiled tips about best practices for video conference interviews from local North Shore women on this very subject. We hope you find it helpful, and good luck!
“Reach out to me for any on-camera lighting help. You know I’m always in the thick of it. I think at the very least—position the camera/computer facing outwards from a window/door so you get the benefit of natural light. Do not have any windows behind you.”
–Karen Firsel, On Camera Lifestyle Expert & on air contributor to NBC5 Chicago
“Lighting should be in front an off to the sides. Make sure background is neutral and organized, a messy bed or closet sends the wrong impression. Camera should be at eye level. Make sure to look at the camera and not the screen. I sometimes tell people to put a picture of a person or a pet where the camera is as a reminder to look there. Definitely test your equipment before the interview.”
– Joyce Holman, Volunteer job search coach and consultant with Left Brain/Right Brain Marketing Resource
“I got a $30 Ring light and thought it made a really nice difference when interviewing. I’ve since been hired and use it every day on Microsoft Teams.
“A Zoom interview is great! It’s less stressful than in person and you can have your notes out and no one can see them. Have all answers to interview questions printed out and in front of you. I taped mine up so as not to seem like I was reading from them. It’s super helpful.
“Make sure you have a clean uncluttered room if you don’t use a background.”
–Susie Emery, Order Management Rep at Stepan Company
“I think the challenge is making sure you don’t take for granted you’re on video. Give it 1000% and show up like you mean it. Do your homework – in the company, who is interviewing you. Practice Q&A. Give yourself enough time before and after (meaning don’t book meetings or carpool). Log on early. Don’t allow for distractions.”
– Laura Shulman, Global Communications and Public Relations Strategist
“Check what’s behind you in the video so nothing awkward would worry a stranger seeing. Even in general I often put up sticky notes of 1) smile 2) slow down 3) key points I want to remember”
– Brigette Wolf, Global Head of SnackFutures, MDLZ
“Personally I don’t think the Ring light is important as long as the room you’re in has decent lighting. I do highly suggest you see what shows in your background when your zoom video is on.”
“I have found adding a bookshelves fake background, enhanced filter, and I do have a ring light can help, but don’t always need the ring light. Watch facial shine, it can make you look dewy and fresh, or just sweaty and nervous. Best to check the view before you get on the ‘real’ Zoom.
“Also check all your sound settings, microphone etc, be sure to know where your mute mic and camera is, and also have a nice headshot or image as placeholder while camera is not yet on.”
– Stephanie Kerch, Certified Professional Makeup Artist
“Do everything as if you were really going in to interview. Hair, make up, outfit. Look straight into the camera when listening and talking. Take notes. Quiet area with a simple background. I don’t recommend using fake backgrounds.”
“I bought a ring light but I have glasses and the glare from the light on my glasses looked ridiculous. So just make sure no glasses! The best thing to do is make sure your audio and video come across clearly. Practice in advance with someone.”
– Vanessa Childs, Chief Operations & Integration Officer at Syndigo
“I always coach candidates on finding a quiet spot with good lighting in front and none behind them. Neutral background (read, no crazy mess behind you) and a quiet place where you won’t have a dog, child, cat come barging in. The Ring Light is not necessary.”
– Lisa McCaw, Branch Manager, Robert Half Intl.
“I did a few interviews over Zoom when we hired a new employee, and one comment everyone made about one was that it looked like he was looking into a second screen off to the side so the eye contact was poor and awkward. Make sure you are using the same screen the camera is on.”
– Laura Baldwin, Partner and Attorney Director at STG Divorce Law in Chicago and Naperville
“If the interviewee shares a phone number to use as an audio option, I would recommend calling in for audio and using the computer for video. I typically do that on my zoom meetings vs using the computer audio just in case my wifi slows down. Also check the wifi speed in the area you will sit to ensure it is moving at a good speed.”
“Make sure your computer is set up higher and the camera is slightly above eye level. Will make you look so much better on camera.”
– Enna Allen, Vice President, Brand Marketing Simon Property Group
Good luck! You can do this!
¹Megan Cerullo, “Nearly 3 million U.S. women have dropped out of the labor force in the past year” CBS News, 2.5.21