Interviews from the Waist Up

Zoom Interviews; a term that was foreign to my vocabulary less than a year ago is now a phrase that lingers in my mind. How will I nail an interview through a camera? What is the best way to go about this? Can I wear my slippers, will they even notice? As graduation approaches and the fear seeps upon us college students of getting a great job or internship, there are things that are new to us that we now have to take into consideration. How do I ace a Zoom interview?

“It’s less intimidating if you’re in your own space and your own environment.
You’ve got a cup of tea next to you, Hell! They could even be drinking alcohol to calm their nerves and you wouldn’t know it!” Diana Garaitonandia, Assistant Principal at Bensalem High school exclaims when asked her thoughts on Zoom interviews.

Biggest “Don’ts” of Zoom University

I asked Diana Garaitondandia what is something she would consider unprofessional that she has observed as someone who has interviewed through Zoom? She explains, “Number one, there was someone that I interviewed who never turned their camera on. So I thought that was very strange and off as if they were hiding something. Number one would be to please turn your camera on. Number two would be a physical appearance just like you would in person, are they dressed nice?”

Sorry, I Am Breaking Up My Wifi is Slow
As a student who has experienced awkward encounters when my internet lags,
having to repeat myself to the class, I always found this frustrating. What would an
employer think If I broke up mid sentence? When asked, “Would it be a deal breaker if someone had a bad internet connection while being interviewed?” Ms. Garaitonandia answers, “If someone couldn’t make the meeting due to an internet connection issue I would find another way to get a hold of them. I would just pick up the phone and call them,” With this being said it is extremely important to test your internet connection beforehand. Make sure your microphone and camera are working well and do some sound checks. No employer wants to have to repeat themselves due to someone not being prepared.

Dogs Are Welcomed
Out of my own curiosity I asked, “What would you think of someone if their pet
jumped in the background?” She answered with “I actually like it more because it gives me an opportunity to get to know the person. When I am having a meeting at work with the teachers and their kids or dogs jump in, it makes me feel like ‘aww’ and we start having a conversation about their family. I actually prefer it because if it’s someone interacting with their family or kids it would show me what kind of parent or person they are.” Hearing this gave me a bit of peace considering my biggest fear would be my St. Bernard jumping in the background and ruining my chances.

pets zoom call Credit: Courtesy Healthy Paws

Feeling Hopeful After that ‘Connection’

After interviewing Ms. Garaitonandia I felt filled with insight and hope. Maybe my chances aren’t crushed if the inevitable happens living at home. When it boils down to it, it appears the most important thing to an employer is who you are as a person. Though Ms. Garaitonandia expressed that having a clean background and arriving at the interview early is important, the unexpected will not ruin your chances. She explained to me that she had an interview with a student who was very obviously in a Temple University dorm room but he killed the interview because of what he said and based on his expertise. There is hope for the rest of us college students.

Written by: Isabel Gisondi

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