Tips for Interviewing on Zoom

Stressing about your CaRMS subspecialty match process happening digitally? Relax, it’s not all zoom & gloom. We’ve gathered some great tips to help you put your best face forward. 

Maintain Eye Contact

Always look into the camera lens, not at the face you see on screen (your interviewer’s or your own). It’ll feel unnatural at first, but it ensures you maintain eye contact from start to finish, helping you appear engaged and confident.

The position of your laptop/phone is also key. Placed too low and your screen will be half ceiling; too high and you’ll look like a floating head. Use a couple of books to elevate your screen so that it is the same height as your face. Visually, this will offer the most natural setting. 

Plan Your Space

You have significant influence over your lighting and background, so use it to your advantage. If possible, face toward a window to be bathed in natural light, but never against a window which will put you in the shadows. If you don’t have a window, try aiming a lamp so the light floods your face. Being well-lit is important – it gives your interviewer to feel more connected to you, as if you’re right there with them.

Also, find a quiet space with a neutral background. You want it to look clean and professional, not cluttered with papers and books, tchotchkes or kids’ toys. As for noises, sit for a bit in the room/office you’re considering using and really listen. Does it have distracting ambient noises? Can you hear your neighbour’s dog barking, the toilet flushing, street traffic? If so, set up elsewhere.

Show Up On Time

In the old world, showing up 10 minutes ahead of your interview was recommended. That’s no longer true in the digital era. For one thing, your interviewer may be using the same virtual waiting room for all interviews, so you don’t want to be hanging around while another interview is still going on. Also, if you log on too early, you may distract yourself by searching something online and then lose track of time. The best timing is to click your link 2-3 minutes ahead of your slotted time.

Use Headphones

Optimize your audio experience by using headphones or earbuds. Sure, they reduce ambient noise, but more importantly they eliminate voice echo (because there’s no transmission delay). They will also improve the sound of your voice, making it sound richer.

Dress For Success

Wear pants! It’s been the de facto Zoom joke for months, but the reality is, what you wear matters. Dress as if you were doing an IRL meeting. It will boost your confidence and show your interviewer that you understand the importance of always putting your best foot forward.

Make A List, Check It Twice

Take the time to run through this housekeeping list before you click onto your Zoom link.

  • Make sure your device is fully charged
  • If you’re using your laptop, silence your phone
  • Turn off SM and email notifications
  • Ensure your audio levels are adequate
  • Check that your camera is enabled

Do A Dry Run

Practice makes perfect, so enlist the help of a friend or family member to rehearse with. This serves several purposes. For starters, it helps you get comfortable with the technology while giving you a chance to ensure that your lighting is good, your background isn’t distracting and your outfit is giving off the vibe you hoped it would.

Go With The Flow

This is a super-stressful process, but remember that it’s also new territory for your interviewer. The reality is everyone is a little nervous and out of their element on Zoom. So be prepared for some glitches and then go with the (cyber) flow. Remember, we’re in this together.