How to handle your Zoom interview

Interviews via Skype, Zoom, or phone existed well before we were all quarantined, but at least in my experience, they weren’t very common. I have always been interviewed on-site, in person. I was able to shake my potential future boss’s hand, use very engaging and confident body language, and make eye contact with them. How well I did in an interview situation seemed to ride on the impression I was able to leave by physically being there. So when I submitted an application for an internship program in DC and then received an email asking me to sign up for a time slot for a Zoom interview, I was pretty nervous. I had never done a remote interview, and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. After doing the interview (and getting into the program) I learned a few things that make Zoom interviews feel a little more normal.

 

I got ready for my interview exactly the same way I would if I was going in person. I put on a full business formal outfit, my favorite blazer and skirt set, and a pair of heels. I spent an hour putting on a full face of makeup, straightening my hair, and picking out a necklace with earrings that matched. Even though I could have done without putting on pants and not putting 100% effort into my appearance, I wanted to feel like I was doing everything I could to prepare for this interview. Putting in maximum effort into looking professional made me feel extra confident in this new and awkward situation. 

Skincare morning routine

Something I was kind of freaking out about before the interview was where I was supposed to look. In an in-person interview, maintaining eye contact conveys confidence, professionalism, and maturity. In a Zoom interview, was I supposed to look at their face? Directly into the camera lens? Somewhere in between? Obviously, looking directly into the camera gives the illusion that you’re making eye contact, but it just feels so strange. Then my friend gave me a tip that really helped. She told me to put up a picture of someone right behind my computer camera, that way I was still looking at a face, and still looking into the camera. 

 

Other than that, just do everything you would normally do to prepare, plus a little extra. On Zoom, there’s nowhere else for you, or your future boss to look except right at each other. 

Think about all the stereotypical questions they usually ask. What is this position going to do to further your overall career? Why are you applying for this specific position? What personal experiences and strengths do you have to bring to the table? Think about these questions, and rehearse your answers, not so that you can recite them like a script, but so that you’re comfortable answering the questions without stuttering or using too many filler words. Do whatever you can to give yourself the most amount of confidence, and you’ll nail this Zoom interview like you would with any other.