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Zoom interviews offer job hunters some advantages that face-to-face interviews don’t

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Remote interviews can be advantageous to job candidates—if job candidates know how to navigate them, says WSJ Leadership Expert Lynda Spiegel.

Lynda Spiegel is a founder of Rising Star Résumés, a résumé and job-search coaching service. She spent 15 years as a human-resources professional.

Being interviewed for a job over Zoom is vastly different than the traditional face-to-face interview to which most people are accustomed—and that is a good thing for those seeking work.

For starters, a remote interview helps level the playing field between job candidate and interviewer. The aura of authority that comes from an interviewer sitting behind a desk is gone; both parties are equally in front of their laptops. There is no awkwardness about making small talk on the way to the conference room. And since hiring managers also are working from home, they are psychologically removed from feeling as formal as they might in an office environment.

By now, most of us know the basic tips and tricks for navigating videoconferencing platforms, among them having adequate Wi-Fi and flattering lighting. What else do job seekers need to know to make a remote interview successful? Here is some advice: 

Use the background to your advantageRoom rating, or judging participants’ backgrounds on video calls, has become part of the cultural zeitgeist, so let your background and the interviewer’s spark ice-breaking conversation. A potential client was interviewing me recently and complimented a wall hanging I had acquired on a trip to India. When I explained its provenance, we discovered a mutual love of Indian food over which we could bond. So don’t be afraid to ask about what you see in your interview’s background. Whatever is there has been curated for viewing, so a compliment or respectful question can facilitate a conversation.

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