I heard from a number of you guys this past week, stating you received invitations to interview for admission to a CRNA program. Congratulations! Hopefully, this post on how to ace your zoom interview will reach you in time.
The interview season for some CRNA school programs are upon us. Due to the pandemic, most CRNA program applicants are interviewing by Zoom. I was recently invited to help out with a mock interview session for the Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship program via Zoom. I actually attended a Diversity CRNA Information Session & Airway Simulation Lab Workshop in 2014. It was a great experience and I was accepted into a CRNA program shortly after. Definitely check out their site. And don’t worry anyone can attend their events. Here is a picture of me from that workshop.
Anyway, here is what I learned from that interview session so you ace your Zoom interview for CRNA school.
What is Zoom?
Zoom is a cloud based video conferencing platform to meet virtually online either by video or audio or by both. And in the last few years the Zoom video conference platform has grown. And now with the pandemic, it has exploded and become the go to for video conferencing, webinars and remote job interviewing. One of the advantages of Zoom is there is no need to be face to face. It’s also easy to schedule for both parties, which is especially helpful if candidates are out of town.
How to set up Zoom?
When using video conferencing, most people have their laptops sitting too low. This only shows off one thing and not their outfit. It looks directly up their nostrils. There is nothing cute about that. The perfect height or level of your laptop is about level with your eyes. To get the perfect height, place your laptop on some shoeboxes or thick books to get the height you need. If the placement is correct, your body should be positioned perfectly in the shot. The height is perfect if the top of your head is in the frame and chest at the bottom.
Get familiar with Zoom
If you have an interview via Zoom and have never used it before, then you want to get familiar with it. Trying to figure it out the day before or the morning of the interview is not a good idea. You are setting yourself up for added stress and failure. Prior to the CRNA school interview via Zoom, you will likely receive a personal meeting link and access code shared by the host.
You will then click on the meeting invite URL that you received by email or text. Depending on the meeting setup, you may enter right way or you may need to wait until the host arrives first. Now if this is your first time accessing Zoom from your device, you will need to approve the request to access the camera and microphone. Now remember to toggle your video on. I always forget this part for some reason. Every time this happens I usually get embarrassed, then mad and my mood changes instantly.
Check your background
Your background is very important. It should be neutral, neat and simple. A blank wall may seem boring, but that is the look you are going for. You could also choose a background that is not too busy which reflects you as a candidate such as a home office. Here’s a fun hack I read- take a landscape oriented picture of your home at it’s cleanest and upload to zoom. Then use it as your virtual background. I haven’t tried it but apparently no one will even know your room was cluttered or if a family member unintentionally walked past your screen.
There is no need to go out and buy any professional lighting, but you do want to ensure you have plenty of natural light. This can be done by sitting in front of a window which allows the light to hit directly off your face. You want to avoid putting a light source or window behind you as you interview because it will cause a shadow or silhouette.
Just like with any interview being early is considered on time and on time is late. Of course, you don’t want to be too early because you will just be sitting there in front of a blank screen. Also, it’s possible to be too early and interrupt another interview in session. And you also don’t want to get sucked into losing focus and start browsing the internet. So, ideally joining the Zoom meeting about 2- 3 minutes early should suffice.
You want to give your Zoom interview for CRNA school your absolute full attention. Therefore, treat your video interview the same as an in person interview. For example, you wouldn’t bring your child or have your phone turned on while interviewing for a spot in a CRNA program. These distractions can cause you to miss an important question or even appear disinterested at times.
Interrupting the interviewer in face to face interviews is hardly disruptive unless it occurs over and over. But in the world of video conferencing, it can cause a lot of problems due to the lag time which throws off the rhythm and seems like a rude interjection. So, just be aware of this and make the extra effort to be a good listener. And if you’re prone to interrupting others, work really hard to gauge when the interviewer is finished speaking before you begin talking.
Have a backup plan for communication
If your technology fails and things go south during your zoom interview, don’t panic! It happens and they will likely understand. But being prepared and calm is key. This will also give the admissions committee insight into how you handle things and this could look really good for you. You will likely be given a direct phone line as backup in the event things go awry. Prior to the start of the interview, have this number in your phone and ready to go if possible.
Maintain eye contact
Eye contact is important in any interview but it is even more important for virtual interviews. You will likely be drawn to look at the person on the screen, but it is important to look directly into the webcam. Another hack I read- If you find it really hard to look at the webcam, try taking a picture of someone you are comfortable talking to, punch a hole in the center, and tape it over the webcam. Just be sure you are not covering the camera opening. This way you will be drawn to look at the camera and will feel comfortable talking during the interview.
Maintain your focus
First, you want to treat your zoom interview just like a face to face interview. Therefore, you want to get plenty of sleep the night before, eat something prior to the interview, prepare questions and have a notebook ready to take notes. And just like in a face to face interview, you want to keep your focus on the interviewer as they speak. Show you are paying attention by nodding your head which signals active listening. You can do this by affirming what they say or nodding your head when they speak.
Dress the part
You want to treat your virtual interview just like an in person interview for admission into a CRNA program. It is very important you look the part. Women wear a nice pants suit. Men should wear a suit preferably. But nothing too flashy. You want to dress for success. The psychological impact alone will be huge. Research shows people who are well dressed have increased intellectual thinking thus feeling more powerful.
With face to face interviews, you have a number of opportunities to make a great first impression. From the moment you walk in the room confidently to the firm handshake you offer, but your first impression via Zoom is on the screen. So be sure your wardrobe and grooming are top notch.
Monitor your body language
Be aware of nervous behaviors you have such as twirling your hair, fidgeting, or tapping your fingers on the desk. If you find yourself partaking in these behaviors, take a deep breath and place your hands in your lap. Sit up straight, no slouching, and be confident in yourself. You should only tilt your head when you are listening to some else speak. Also, slow down with all the hand gestures. People who use more open gestures are perceived as more persuasive and honest. But too much hand movement may appear jerky and excessive via Zoom. So practice beforehand to determine what is and isn’t too much.
With Zoom interviews for CRNA school becoming more normal, it’s important to know exactly what to do in order to be prepared. Using the tips above to ace your interview can set you up for success. Hopefully, these Zoom interview tips help you prepare and feel confident enough to ace your interview. Just knowing these tips will allow you to focus on more important aspects of your interview, so we can celebrate your acceptance to CRNA school later! If you have any other useful Zoom tips please leave a comment below.
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