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How to Succeed in a Skype College Interview

Posted in [College], [Diploma, Graduation & Job Search Topics], [Tips ] By Katie Gargano
The interview process is nerve-racking and stressful.  There are common interview mistakes that people make during an interview, but with today’s changing technology, many interviews are now taking place on Skype. So, there are additional steps to take for a Skype interview, which is outlined below.  It isn’t just company Human Resource Departments that use Skype as a way to interview potential employees. More and more colleges and universities are using Skype to interview likely students who applied to the school. 

Colleges Using Skype

 
photo credit: ebayink via photopin cc
Colleges and universities are using Skype as part of the interview process for prospective students. Admissions offices prefer face-to-face interviews, but compared to phone calls, Skype is a better way of understanding the prospective student’s personality. Here are some schools that partake in Skype interviews: 

What is Skype?

Skype was founded in 2003 in Luxembourg. Skype is an online communication tool that easily allows you to video chat, voice chat and instant message. Skype has many additional features that make it unique. It’s available on Windows, Macintosh, and Linux computers. Along with computers, it is available to use on smartphones, tablets, television, and handheld devices like iPod touch and PlayStation Vita.

Why are companies choosing to interview through Skype?

There are several reasons why companies choose to use Skype rather than a phone or personal interview. Skype is easy to use and there is no special equipment needed by the employer or the potential employee. It has become a cost effective way to conduct long-distance and international interviews. Employers can get a better feel for the personality of those being interviewed to determine if they are a good fit for the company. 

Why are colleges using Skype as a way of interviewing?

Admissions Office
photo credit:
origamidon via photopin cc
College and university admissions offices are using Skype as way to interview students and assist students in receiving information for any questions they may have. Skype is very helpful for students who are interested in attending a school that requires them to travel far. To visit a campus for an in-person interview would involve a lot more time out of a student’s busy week. Parents would have to take time off from work, travel to the school, and possibly stay over, so this could be somewhat of a hardship. 

Skype is effective because students can get an honest feel for the school they want to attend. Since they will be talking virtually with an admissions official, the interview is much more personable then a phone interview.

Don’t be surprised if you see Admissions Departments’ contact information include their Skype username as a means of contacting them. Take a look at the contact information for CUNY Graduate School of Journalism on the left side of the page. Along with email addresses, phone numbers, and fax numbers, their Skype user name is listed..

Important Steps BEFORE the interview:

  • Make sure you have a professional username and profile picture on Skype
    • If you are already on Skype, make sure your profile picture and username is professional. The profile picture should be a thumbnail of your face. Creating a username with your first and last name is the ideal option.
    • For example, if Jane Doe was creating a username she can create: JDoe, JaneDoe, JDoe125 or JaneDoe125
  • Practice before the interview
    • Make sure the microphone and camera are working on the computer/laptop
    • If you ‘rehearse’ with a friend they can point out faults that you make during the mock interview that way you will be better prepared for the real interview. For example, they can tell you if you are touching your hair a lot or look away from the camera.
  • Internet connection 
    • If your internet goes in and out then you should hook your computer/laptop up to an ethernet cord or go to your friend’s house where you know they have perfect internet service. High-speed internet will be your friend for this video interview.
  • Keep your laptop charging during the interview and on a hard surface the entire time. It wouldn’t be a good idea to have it on your lap because it might not sit still on your lap.
  • Research the company or college you are interviewing with. It’s good to show your knowledge of the place you want to be. It shows that you are interested and committed to fitting in.

Video Interviewing Tips

  • Diploma Frame DisplayBackground-The background is a lot more important than you can image. To have a bare wall behind you is not appealing.  There is a limited space to look when you are video chatting. 
    • Showcase your credentials. You earned them you should show them off.  You can create a professional backdrop by featuring your diploma(s) and certificate(s) in high-quality frames. Not sure why you should frame your diploma? Framing your diploma and other important documents protect and preserve these hard-earned achievements. If you have multiple documents you want to frame you can create a wall arrangement that will be a good conversation starter.
  • What to wear? – According to Corporate Fashionsta, shades of blue and green look the best on the video including solid colors. Patterns do not look good on the web, especially dots and stripes. 
    • Don’t just dress your top half because it’s the only area seen on the video. 
    • Don’t wear gaudy accessories (watch, earrings, necklace). It can easily get reflected and end up blinding the interviewer.
  • Hair and Make-up – Skype’s technology is high quality, so keep your makeup simple. Using neutral colors would be ideal because it won’t come off too bright. Hair should be out of your face and styled so you won’t have to touch it during the interview.
  • Lighting- Make sure there is enough lighting. But not too much where you look like a ghost or not enough that the interviewer can’t see your face.
  • Eye contact- Do you look at the webcam or do you look at the monitor? Look at the webcam! Remember, it is like a real face-to-face interview.
  • Quiet Environment- You want the interview to happen in a quiet place where there are no distractions. So going to Starbucks is not a good idea to have the interview. If you have your kids home running around yelling, that is definitely a bad idea. Hire a babysitter to take your kids to see a movie, to the zoo or to the park. 
    • If you having the interview in your house make sure you silence your house phone and cell phone. It would be very distracting to have your phone ringing through the interview. It is also important to remember that if your computer makes a sound every time you get a new message on Facebook, or someone tweets you, to turn those notifications off for the interview. 
  • Position- Don’t sit too close to the computer. Your face and upper shoulders should be in the frame.

Important Steps to take AFTER the interview

You shouldn’t consider a Skype interview to be less formal than a face-to-face interview. You should treat this Skype interview just like any other. 

Follow up: You should still follow up the interview with a thank you email. 

Best of luck in your upcoming Skype interview!

Related Articles

‘You Look Like A Convict’ And The Most Common Pitfalls of Interviewing Over Skype – Forbes.com
7 Deadly Skype Interview Sins – from Huffington Post
Skype Interview Etiquette – From Dynamic Computer Services Corporation
8 Important Tips for Skype Interviews – CNN/CareerBuilder
4 Tips to Help you Rock Your Next Skype Interview – USA Today College
Ace Your Next Skype Interview - Karen Friedman

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