What Is A Zoom Interview Background? (With Ideas And Tips)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 5 March 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Zoom is a video conferencing software program often used by employers who use a hybrid or remote working model. It is a cloud-based platform that helps employers interview potential employees. If you are preparing for a Zoom interview, it can be useful to learn how to use a background for your call. In this article, we explore what a Zoom interview background is, explain why you need one and how you can use one during an interview.

What Is A Zoom Interview Background?

A Zoom interview background is what the interviewer sees behind you when you are on Zoom together. You can use a natural background in your house or office when interviewing. Zoom also offers the ability to use a virtual background on your calls. There are several preset backgrounds you can use in the application, and you also have the option of using any image you want.

Employers want to know candidates beyond their skills and certificates. By using an organised and professional Zoom virtual background, you can show your prospective employers that you are an organised and technically savvy person.

Related: How To Succeed In A Virtual Interview

When To Use A Background On Zoom Interview

Zoom backgrounds can be useful in a variety of different scenarios. If you have not had time to clean or arrange your house before the interview, a virtual background may be a good option. It may also be useful if there is a lot of activity in your location that might distract the people you are speaking to or if the lighting in your space is dim.

Related: Zoom Vs. Webex: Differences, Business Uses And How To Choose

Benefits Of Having A Zoom Interview Background

These are some of the benefits that a virtual background may provide when interviewing on Zoom:

Eliminates distractions

Your interview setup is your first chance to impress recruiters. The background tells them about your private space. Using a virtual background can help you remove elements that might distract the person you are speaking with on Zoom. It can hide items in your home or workspace and intrusions by other people or pets. For instance, if you have loud colours on your wall or wallpaper with pop culture references, replacing it with a neutral virtual background can be good.

Related: 25 Zoom Icebreakers To Start Your Next Team Meeting

Lessens pressure

A job interview aims to convince employers that you are the right person for the job. Thinking about other factors can prevent you from giving 100% during the call. A virtual background can lessen pressure on you by providing a professional and neutral background, even when you have not had the opportunity to prepare a space. This can help you relax and focus on the interview instead of thinking about your surroundings.

Related: How Do You Handle Stress And Pressure? (With Tips To Answer)

Projects professionalism

It is important to be professional in all aspects of your interview. This includes your attire, behaviour and even background. Virtual backgrounds give you the ability to project professionalism with little effort. It is a good idea to choose simple backgrounds that mimic office spaces or other settings, which may give the interview a more professional feeling than a bedroom or coffee shop might offer.

Increases interest

Having a virtual Zoom background is an innovative way to express yourself. In many cases, a Zoom background can add interest to your surroundings without requiring you to make extensive changes to your home. This can make your surroundings more appealing to the interviewer than a simple room or an empty wall. When choosing the right image, select neutral and professional themes that are not distracting to interviewers.

Related: Tips From A Recruiter: Mastering The Virtual Interview

Tips For Adding A Background On Zoom Interview

These are some tips that can help you use virtual backgrounds in your interviews:

Use a simple background

When choosing a virtual background, selecting a simple image with a neutral colour palette is often helpful. This can help your background seem more professional, more natural and less distracting to the interviewer. If you are looking for ideas beyond neutral colours, opt for a minimal, clean office look or one with fresh, white flowers on a tabletop. Having a minimal backdrop can make a positive first impression on the interview panel.

Use good lighting

It is often important to use good lighting so that the interviewer can see your face clearly. Ensure all the lights in your room are in a similar colour temperature range. Consider scheduling the meeting for a time when natural light is most available or investing in a ring light if you plan to join several meetings or interviews.

A ring light is also useful if you are interviewing for a customer-facing role and want to improve the lighting for video quality. Candidates with skin concerns can utilise the 'Touch up my appearance' feature. This feature can smooth their blemishes, brighten their faces and help them be more confident during the presentation.

Consider your clothing

Your clothing can impact whether your background appears natural or artificial. Consider wearing clothing that contrasts with the background to avoid losing definition and merging with the background image. Avoid bright white, as it can wash you out and make you glow on camera. Instead, opt for neutral colours like mauve, beige, light blue, or even darker shades like navy.

Related: What To Wear: The Best Job Interview Attire

Choose a light background

Choosing a light background may provide a more natural effect by helping the background stay firmly around you when you move your head. It may also help promote a more positive atmosphere for your interview by giving the feeling of a well-lit room or sunlight. A light background, as opposed to a dark or colourful one, also looks professional and prevents any other kind of distractions from the conversation.

Blur the background

You can create a more realistic background by blurring it slightly to mimic the natural environment. You can do this by navigating to the virtual background section of Zoom and clicking the option that says 'Blur.' The blur option also provides privacy by hiding whatever is behind you.

Ideas for interview backgrounds

Zoom has some default themes for users, but you can also customise your background depending on your preferences. Consider some of the following ideas for your next interview background:


Having a stack of books or a bookshelf as your Zoom background shows you are well-read and creates a favourable impression on employers. Books can make interviewers curious and even prompt a discussion about your mutual taste in books. Opening up about your preferences can help recruiters gain an insight into what kind of person you are.

You can also customise your background with a choice of your favourite books. When choosing books for your background, go for classics, fiction, self-improvement or science-fiction. Magazines on sports, business or well-being are also good options. If possible, arrange books in vertical columns and play with a combination of colours. Choose books that you have read or know about so that you can speak about them with the interview board, if necessary.


Greenery can be another interesting addition to your Zoom background. Having plants in your background tells recruiters that you have basic care skills and enjoy nature. They can also be conversation starters and prompt a discussion on travel, nature and life outdoors. When choosing plants, opt for simple potted indoor plants with a clean and aesthetic appeal.

Work station

A typical workspace is one of the most common and acceptable interview backgrounds. You can add a snapshot of your workstation at home or one of the similar default images available on Zoom. A person's workspace says a lot about them and helps recruiters understand whether your work ethics match the company's.


For a calming yet professional Zoom background, you can add an image of a scenic landscape. Consider a snapshot of a crisp autumnal woodland, a lush green meadow or a vibrant forest. You can also be more specific and choose natural phenomena, such as the Northern Lights or one of the seven wonders of the world like the Pyramid of Giza or the Taj Mahal. Choosing a natural Zoom background highlights your passion for the outdoors and offers your recruiting manager an opportunity to know you better.

Coffee shop

An empty coffee shop is also an aesthetically pleasing virtual background option for Zoom users. Although more informal than the previous options, it is a fun way to break the monotony and have a relaxing interview. If you are applying for a virtual position at a company that encourages employees to work from anywhere, a coffee shop can be a particularly good idea, as it is one of the most favoured locations for those working remotely. Stay away from having too many objects in the background to keep the setup professional.

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