Advice from the Expert: Talking Heads

issue 03 | fall 2013
Alumni Society - Advice from the Expert - Fall 2013

You’ve submitted your application for your dream job. You’ve been notified that you made the first cut and that your first point of contact with the search committee will be via Skype interview. You are either very excited (you will look awesome on camera!) or you’ve been scratching your head trying to figure out what all this means. If you are in the latter camp, here are a few suggestions to help you move forward in the next step of the interview process:

Establish a Skype ID. Remember, professionalism wins the day here. Use a proper name, not a nickname. Once you have your Skype ID set, you’ll need to accept the invitation from the interviewer before the call. If you don’t have a webcam on your computer, buy one. 

Test the technology. You want to make sure you’ll have a strong connection and that the volume is set appropriately. And have a plan in place should you lose your connection.

Set the stage. Think about distractions for the interviewer, which could include lighting, doors, and ceiling fans. If possible, have someone fill in for you in the space you’ve designated to see how it looks. And please, make sure that space is not the bed or the couch.

Stay focused. Phone interviews allow you to multitask; Skype interviews do not! Remember to share your good news with friends and family—this is a subtle way to let them know that you’ll be unavailable during the Skype interview. Remember that pets and small children could add a new dimension to your interview, but one you don’t want. Close your door, mute your phone, and give your dog a bone.

Dress the part. Remember this is an interview, but one conducted via a webcam. You’ll be in front of a screen, and you’ll be given the “once over” with regard to your hair, makeup, and dress. Think professional: Stay away from patterned shirts and busy accessories. Channel your mother and remember to sit up straight.

Look at the camera when talking, not at your notes. This is also the time to pay attention to your interviewer and his or her body language. The advantage of the Skype interview over a phone interview is that you’ll be able to pick up on cues from your interviewer.

Practice, practice, practice. The more prepared you are, the smoother the interview. Remember to do your homework and know why you want the position in this particular organization, as well as what value you’ll add. The candidate who is poised, engaging, and interested in the position is the one who will advance to the next level of the interview process.

Published October 2013
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