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Six Tips to Master the Zoom Interview for Veterinary Internships and Residencies

If there is one thing I think I know really well at this point of my life, it is the good and the bad of Zoom interviews.

I went through the VIRMP three times, and in doing so did at least 10 Zoom interviews. My zoom interview at NC State was good enough to get me special accommodation to visit on a non-interview day (people tend to want to meet you if you tell them you would eat your own cat in a pinch, a story for another day).  As a resident at NC State I sat in on a huge number over my three years, helping select residents.  As a faculty member I host interviews for residents in Radiology and for companion animal interns.  I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly.  And I want to help you ace your interview.

We are all struggling to figure out life in the world of digital meetings.  But coming across well via web cam can be the difference maker in making or breaking your chances at a training program.  Below are 6 tips to stand out ahead of your class and showcase your talent to the selection committee.

  1. Look straight at your camera while speaking.

When we talk in person we have a tendency to look each other in the eyes.  But looking at someone else’s eyes over Zoom means you are looking down rather than looking straight at them.  When you are speaking, look at the camera.  When you are listening feel free to look at the person.  

  1. Elevate your camera and check your lighting.

Similar to tip #1 there is nothing worse than looking up someone’s nose.  Expect perhaps looking up someone’s nose in poor lighting.  Elevate the camera to eye level.  Make sure your lighting comes from the front, not the back.

  1. Be mindful of what is behind you.

A plain wall, a carefully curated bookshelf.  These are your best options. If its a messy room, or there is clutter, or you place yourself in front of a window its not a good look.  Take some time to consider how you present yourself.  If you are going beyond a plain wall, look here for inspiration.

  1. Check your internet connection.

Until Elon Musk covers the globe in satellites we all will run into internet problems from time to time.  But try to be sure your residency or internship interview isn’t one of them.  We have a heart and know things happen, but taking that extra time to double check is just all that much better.  Call your parents, call a friend, make sure it goes well.  When we ask about the hobbies you picked up in quarantine, we want to hear the answer.

  1. Dress for an interview.

You can wear your sweats, or wear your scrubs, but I’d be lying if I said you wouldn’t be judged.  I recommend everyone wear a shirt with a collar, or something similar that is professional. It would be rare to be docked for being over dressed.  But if you don’t take the time to wear something professional it says you don’t care.

  1. Smile and be yourself.

A Zoom interview is never as good as an in person interview.  But this year, in light of COVID it is probably all we get.  So smile and be personable.  Take the time to share who you are and sell yourself.  

If you follow these six tips you can get past the inherent challenges of the digital interview.  This will allow the selection committee to focus on you and your qualifications.

Best of luck!  And let us know how it goes!

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  1. Very helpful and really enjoyed room rater twitter account! Definitely following now. 👍

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