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Zoom fatigue is real. The unfortunate thing is that Zoom looks like it will stick around for a good bit before things go back to normal. And now, even schools, organizations and employers are beginning to use Zoom interviews as part of their application process. This kind of interview is quite different than the ones we may be accustomed to, so here are a few tips that I learned as I prepared for my Zoom interview.

 

Continue to dress to impress:

 

I know that it is so tempting to wear your pajama bottoms, but this is definitely not something that I recommend. Dressing professionally from head to toe not only makes the interview feel more real, it will make you feel more confident. 

 

Be aware of your environment:

 

Although the interviewer is there for you, they will get distracted by your background. You must be methodical when deciding what your background will be. The best option is to conduct your interview in front of a natural background. Virtual backgrounds are a no-go for me as they are a bit awkward and clunky. If you shift all of a sudden, the background glitches out and you end up losing one of your ears. That is not the impression you want to make. It is also not necessary for you to conduct your interview in front of a blank wall. As long as your background is clean and organized, it’s no problem to have a bed or a desk behind you. Also, make sure that there are no other people in your shot. This will be a huge distraction to your interviewer, so make sure your roommates don’t disturb you. The last aspect of your surroundings is your lighting. Your face needs to be illuminated, so that could mean shining a lamp in your face or sitting in front of a window. 

 

Be conscious of your quirks:

 

This is just as important on Zoom as it is during in-person interviews. It is super important to know if/how you fidget and consciously resist it. Your interviewer will notice if you are bouncing. Another thing to consider is the type of chair you will be using for your interview. You might want to consider using a chair that does not have wheels or does not spin so you do not have the temptation to do such a thing. And although eye contact is super weird over Zoom, it is still something that is so important. You do not want your eyes to be wandering as you are asking questions. You can choose whether to talk to your screen or to talk to your camera, but talking to the camera does produce a cleaner, more professional result. I know that it is super awkward, but talking to the camera produces the best possible eye contact.

 

Use a cheat sheet if you need to:

 

It is completely okay to have a document open on your screen with some quick answers. If you’re someone that blanks under pressure, this might be a great idea. Just write a few sentences to some general interview questions to help refresh your memory and make sure to write down the questions that you have for your interviewer.

 

Practice, practice, practice:

 

In order to perform best in your interview, you need to practice. Zoom with your family or friends and have them give you some advice on how you speak or how you look. Have them look out for your eye contact and fidgeting, they may notice some things that you hadn’t realized. If you don’t want to Zoom with people then record a video of yourself. Look out for that fidgeting and eye contact again and really listen to yourself. You may be using lots of filler words such as “like” or “um.” There are also plenty of online resources that you can use to improve your interview skills. Saint Louis University students have access to InterviewStream through Handshake where you can interview with the computer and they will record you. It is also a good idea to set up a mock interview. Career Services knows what employers are looking for and can help you develop your answers or look professional.

 

Breathe:

 

You got this!

 

A lover of donuts, cheesy rom-coms, warm blankets, and the Chicago Cubs
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