Advice for Zoom interviews?

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Can someone offer helpful advice about Zoom interviews? This will be my first experience with them. If there is already a post, please direct me. Thanks! Happy holidays!

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I acted as a clinical year student interviewer last year. Couple things I noticed:

1. Neat background. While being at school would be my best suggestion, it's totally understandable if that's no doable. So the students that had neat backgrounds stood out to me. Similar to having a neat appearance. With that being said, take down any "controversial" posters or anything like that. Assume you may have a conservative prof as an interviewer. While I appreciate the sentiment of "don't go somewhere that won't value your values", there's double the number of applicants per seat. If you have the goal of introducing your values to vet med, its harder to do from the rejections list. Taking down controversial posters or something for a 30 minute interview is not compromising your values.

2. Neat appearance. Wear professional pants because you don't know if you'll need to stand at all.

3. Remember, most ethical questions won't have a right or wrong answer. They're looking to see how you evaluate the points of view and present your perspective. People of all persuasions attend vet school: ranch kids that have slaughtered animals themselves, hard-core PETA/ALF/HSUS advocates, purebred dog/cat breeders. My family owned pet stores. So there is no right or wrong answer.

4. Be somewhere there is solid internet. Hence why I would strongly reserve somewhere at the school.

5. My interview team and I were caught in a very awkward situation where we accidentally misgendered an individual based on name. There's was no note of a preferred name or anything. Please, please be aware that situations like that don't come from a place of malice; we were caught greatly off foot and felt really bad. If you experience an awkward situation with an interview team, please be aware some of us are awkward palmtrees and really want to help interviewees be successful.

6. With that in mind, if you do experience a truly malicious interviewer, please tell the admissions department!
 
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I acted as a clinical year student interviewer last year. Couple things I noticed:

1. Neat background. While being at school would be my best suggestion, it's totally understandable if that's no doable. So the students that had neat backgrounds stood out to me. Similar to having a neat appearance. With that being said, take down any "controversial" posters or anything like that. Assume you may have a conservative prof as an interviewer. While I appreciate the sentiment of "don't go somewhere that won't value your values", there's double the number of applicants per seat. If you have the goal of introducing your values to vet med, its harder to do from the rejections list. Taking down controversial posters or something for a 30 minute interview is not compromising your values.

2. Neat appearance. Wear professional pants because you don't know if you'll need to stand at all.

3. Remember, most ethical questions won't have a right or wrong answer. They're looking to see how you evaluate the points of view and present your perspective. People of all persuasions attend vet school: ranch kids that have slaughtered animals themselves, hard-core PETA/ALF/HSUS advocates, purebred dog/cat breeders. My family owned pet stores. So there is no right or wrong answer.

4. Be somewhere there is solid internet. Hence why I would strongly reserve somewhere at the school.

5. My interview team and I were caught in a very awkward situation where we accidentally misgendered an individual based on name. There's was no note of a preferred name or anything. Please, please be aware that situations like that don't come from a place of malice; we were caught greatly off foot and felt really bad. If you experience an awkward situation with an interview team, please be aware some of us are awkward palmtrees and really want to help interviewees be successful.

6. With that in mind, if you do experience a truly malicious interviewer, please tell the admissions department!
Thanks! This is very helpful!
 
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1. My biggest piece of advice is to practice looking into the camera on your computer, not at the screen. It is natural to want to look at people's faces during your interview, but unfortunately when you do that, it breaks "eye contact." It may seems like a silly thing, but this came up in multiple information sessions with various schools last year. Even though the people interviewing you will probably be looking everywhere except their camera, make sure that you are predominately looking into the camera with just quick glances at the screen.

2. Set your computer up at an appropriate height. You should be able to sit comfortably and look straight ahead into the camera. Nobody wants to see up your nose, which often happens if the laptop is set straight on the desk. Last year I had mine on a stack of old textbooks- it looks ridiculous but it works.

3. Lighting! Interviews happen at all times of day, and if you're on the west coast, you may end up with some very early mornings before the sun is up. Don't just check how your setup looks during the day, make sure to check it at night too. This may require getting creative with your setup. During my interviews last year I knew my desk was too dark on camera with just overhead lighting, so I set up one of those makeup mirror/ring light things on the desk. Then the light was too bright, but if I covered it with one layer of a white shirt, the lighting was perfect. Like I said, you might look ridiculous in real life, but all that matters is what they see on zoom.

4. Do a dress rehearsal. Set up a zoom meeting with a trusted friend or family member at the same time of day as you're going to have your interview, get your desk set up exactly the way you'll have it in the interview, and do a full mock interview over zoom. Even if you have people helping you practice in person, it's a totally different feeling doing it over the computer. I also recommend recording yourself during your practice interviews because I think that's a good way to catch situations when I start rambling.

5. Remember how excited you are to interview! Let your personality and enthusiasm show through- that's a lot more memorable than someone who is shaking like a leaf. They genuinely want to get to know you and the vast majority of interviewers are not going to try to trick you or scare you. If someone seems like they aren't paying attention, it's not because they don't like you, it's probably that they're writing things down. Just keep on keeping on! You'll do great!
 
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This is all good stuff but I'm going to add some things. I've done two virtual interviews this cycle and got accepted to one of the schools and am waiting on the other one.

1. Make sure you are comfortable in your setting. You can't control a lot of things, so make sure what you can control is perfect. I did this by making sure my wifi would not cut out, having a professional background, having no distractions, and putting effort into my physical appearance. I booked a room at my university's career center. When I did the Midwestern interview it was basically an all day Zoom meeting - the interview itself was a normal length but they made us stay on the Zoom call all day. I made sure that my chair was comfortable, I had lots of snacks and water, chapstick to prevent my lips from getting dry, etc. If you handle all of these things ahead of time you will only have to concentrate on the interview itself.

2. Prepare like it is in an person interview. I put on a full professional outfit even though my interviewers didn't see it, and it got me in the zone. Waking up early instead of 10 min before the interview gave me plenty of time to clear my thoughts and relax beforehand.

3. Remember that the interview team is on your side. They want to find the best possible people for their next class, so they want you to succeed in your interview so they can really get an accurate depiction of you.

4. Remember that you are qualified! My first interview was very stressful and I was so nervous- I thought it went horribly because of my mentality (I still ended up getting accepted to this school, so it's okay if you feel bad about your interview). My second interview went much better - I wasn't tripping on my words and I could really get coherent thoughts together. My own method of calming myself down was by having a lil mantra I kept repeating, "I am qualified. I am prepared. I love this" ("this" referring to veterinary medicine). I said that over and over in my head until my interview started and it really helped with my nerves. Whatever works for you to get you in a good headspace, do it. good luck!!
 
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You've gotten some really great advice on this thread already, I'll just add one thing from my experiences interviewing people over Zoom:

Make sure you're conscientious of what background noise might be in the area you're using for your interview, and have headphones with a mic if possible! It's tough for everyone if there's a lot of background noise from a fan, or other people, or dogs barking, etc. and your interviewers can't hear you.
 
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3. Remember that the interview team is on your side. They want to find the best possible people for their next class, so they want you to succeed in your interview so they can really get an accurate depiction of you.
Also THIS
 
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"I am qualified. I am prepared. I love this"
I am totally using this!! Thank you very much! Thank you everyone for the excellent advice. I have done in-person job and school interviews and I've interviewed other students, but these vet school interviews are definitely the most important of my life so far (until internship and residency...) :)
 
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When I interviewed with SGU a few years ago it was over Skype, here are some of the things I did! The most important thing to remember is to relax and be yourself, don't try to be who they think they want you to be, because they want to see the real you.

1. Find what you think will be a good spot - reliable internet, good lighting, not a ton going on in the background, power outlet nearby

2. Do a test run with a friend or family member to make sure you actually have a good spot, maybe even wear what you're thinking about wearing to make sure it looks good on camera

3. Side note on what to wear - even though they're only seeing the top half of you, still wear a fully professional outfit/no pajama pants no matter how tempting it is! It makes a difference in confidence! Also stay away from patterns that would do weird things on camera.

4. "Eye contact" - I kid you not, I put googly eyes at my camera as a reminder to look there rather than down at my laptop screen

I hope these help!
 
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When I did the Midwestern interview it was basically an all day Zoom meeting - the interview itself was a normal length but they made us stay on the Zoom call all day.
Just popping in to be completely unhelpful and say that that is an absolutely wild system. I assume/hope you were allowed to do other things on your laptop until your name was called at least?
 
Just popping in to be completely unhelpful and say that that is an absolutely wild system. I assume/hope you were allowed to do other things on your laptop until your name was called at least?
Yes it was awful, but I was in the first set of interviews so hopefully they have changed it by now. We didn't have to have our cameras or mics on for the whole day, but since I rented a room at my school I had to stay there the whole time. When your interview started you turned your camera & mic on in a breakout room. After all interviews were complete, they kept us (with our cameras on) for presentations from the Dean, the Admissions committee, and q&a with current students. It was honestly too much and felt like an orientation. Love the school but this was exhausting to just sit around on a Zoom call from 10 am to 4 pm.
Edit: and yeah once my interview was over and I could breathe, I was 100% doing schoolwork and such on my laptop haha
 
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Anyone think that I should get a webcam at all? My camera on my computer makes me look fuzzy sometimes and wasn't sure if that would be recommended or the interviewers would even notice?
 
This is all good stuff but I'm going to add some things. I've done two virtual interviews this cycle and got accepted to one of the schools and am waiting on the other one.

1. Make sure you are comfortable in your setting. You can't control a lot of things, so make sure what you can control is perfect. I did this by making sure my wifi would not cut out, having a professional background, having no distractions, and putting effort into my physical appearance. I booked a room at my university's career center. When I did the Midwestern interview it was basically an all day Zoom meeting - the interview itself was a normal length but they made us stay on the Zoom call all day. I made sure that my chair was comfortable, I had lots of snacks and water, chapstick to prevent my lips from getting dry, etc. If you handle all of these things ahead of time you will only have to concentrate on the interview itself.

2. Prepare like it is in an person interview. I put on a full professional outfit even though my interviewers didn't see it, and it got me in the zone. Waking up early instead of 10 min before the interview gave me plenty of time to clear my thoughts and relax beforehand.

3. Remember that the interview team is on your side. They want to find the best possible people for their next class, so they want you to succeed in your interview so they can really get an accurate depiction of you.

4. Remember that you are qualified! My first interview was very stressful and I was so nervous- I thought it went horribly because of my mentality (I still ended up getting accepted to this school, so it's okay if you feel bad about your interview). My second interview went much better - I wasn't tripping on my words and I could really get coherent thoughts together. My own method of calming myself down was by having a lil mantra I kept repeating, "I am qualified. I am prepared. I love this" ("this" referring to veterinary medicine). I said that over and over in my head until my interview started and it really helped with my nerves. Whatever works for you to get you in a good headspace, do it. good luck!!
Just wondering how long the Midwestern Interview was and where I can find more information about it? I have mine in a couple weeks and can't seem to find much on their website. Just wanting to know how it went overall.
 
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