You only get one chance to create a winning first impression. Let's investigate the start of a typical video interview with a typical executive in transition and look at what can possibly get in your way to create that winning first impression.

Don't Have a Weird Zoom name

The first thing the interviewer sees is your zoom name. Anything else than using your first and last name such as numbers only or a wild letter and number combination is confusing the interviewer and a small ditch in his excitement levels. Some people are even not aware of what their zoom name is unless I tell them. Check it out and choose an appropriate zoom name as part of your interview preparation.

Unflattering Zoom photo or avatar

In the same way that people are making a poor impression on Linkedin with a casual LinkedIn photo, a casual or no zoom avatar is a second disappointment for the interviewer. If you don't already have a headshot you use for your Linkedin profile a simple photo from your shoulders up with a neutral-colored background (just stand in front of a wall) will do. Remember to wear an ironed collared shirt or blouse for the photo (absolutely no V-necks!)

Poor Sound

When the interviewer hears your voice for the first time, do you sound great? Or does your interview suffer from poor audio? Most people don’t even think how they sound. Why bother? In the digital age and the widespread use of microphones everywhere, we assume that things are “OK”. Things are unfortunately not “OK”.  A lot of zoom users generate poor sound quality because they use a Wifi connection. Again, your interviewer is disappointed to hear that your voice is getting choppy or got cut off. While interviewers don’t admit it, nobody enjoys poor audio. Use a simple LAN cable to your router instead of a wireless connection to solve this issue. And test your audio settings with someone else before the interview.

Poor Video Quality

The moment the interviewer sees the very first images of yours, how do you look like? You need to assure high and reliable image resolution. During peak Internet traffic hours, your image quality deteriorates, if not freezes. The same might happen during bad weather conditions such as heavy rain or snowfalls. Again a strong, reliable internet connection with LAN cable is best. Also, make sure to have a high-quality web camera in a well-lit room as a setting for your video interview.

Being Late for the Meeting

When you are running late for the interview, the interviewer is getting cold feet. Unlike the telephone which connects the moment you pick up the phone, the present video software solutions are taking time and precaution to set up. For one, searching for the video software invitation link somewhere in your overflowing email box, booting the software after click on it, and inputting username and password, makes this process annoying time-consuming. For another, video communication tends to consume a lot of internet bandwidth and memory and may cause all sorts of technical issues such as poor or slow sound or imaging, overheating or a complete computer crash. Adding up all these unforeseen things, the average executive with the telephone call mindset only begins the video software initiation process one or two minutes before the interview, and easily risks respectively actually often runs several minutes late.

I hope it suffices to say that even before the interviewer and interviewee are starting their long-awaited conversation, you ruined the show. Unknowingly, you already scored several minus points in the interview. What I am writing about reflects the daily realities of many interviewers, including executives at zoom who were busy during 2021 hiring for their own business. In so far, lack of preparedness is often the underlying cause why the best candidates are often beaten by more confident, compelling candidates. To conclude, it is not the best candidate who gets the job but the one who interviews best. And that often means taking some simple steps to improve the chances of making an indelible positive mark in that vital interview encounter. 


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