Use Skype For a Job Interview

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Did you know you can use Skype for a job interview?  Conducting a long distance job search can be tough, especially if you have to travel far for interviews.  Many employers are starting to use Skype for interviews now instead of incurring travel costs.  This means that sometimes, when you get an offer to interview with an employer, the employer may suggest the use of Skype.  If this happens, don’t panic!  Skype is free and very easy to use.  Recruiting Services offers Skype assistance for interviews.  If an employer contacts you and wants to set up a Skype interview, feel free to contact us at recruitaduke@jmu.edu.  We have a Skype account, computer, webcam and interview space you can use.  Of course, if you have your own Skype account, computer and/or webcam and just wish to conduct the interview in a more formal setting, you can use one of our interview rooms and your own computer and Skype account.  While this new interview format may be nerve-racking, don’t fear.  Use these tips to help you ace that Skype interview:
  1. When confirming the interview, provide your Skype account name. Show the interviewer that you’re comfortable with the technology right from the start. Also, ask if you are to dial them, or if they will call you. No sense starting off on this weird note.
  2. If your Skype name is cutesy or unprofessional, set up another account. And not MadSkillz or HireMaddie. Just your name, please. Or something close to it if yours is already taken.
  3. Practice first. I recognize that this might sound obvious, but you’d be amazed by how many people don’t do it. Dial up a friend, relative or professional mentor and run through a few mock questions. Check the audio levels, make sure the room lighting looks normal
  4. Get the eye contact thing down. This can feel a little strange on Skype, but eye contact is VERY important in an interview. Be sure and look into the webcam a large portion of the time. You’ll be tempted to stare at the screen, because that’s where the interviewer’s image appears. But if you look there the whole time? It will come across that you’re looking down the entire time. Eye contact. A must
  5. Don’t even think about doing it in a coffee shop. Quiet, clean room. Absolutely no environmental hustle and bustle, none.  Oh, and when I say “quiet, clean room?” Assume I mean “quiet, clean room with no weird crap in the background.
  6. Silence any other phone or potentially interrupting technologies before the interview. That’d be your cell phone, your land line and any other audible alerts that could pop up on your computer during the call.
  7. Go professional, but remember you’re probably sitting at home. Some professionals will argue me on this, but I think that, for most positions, it’s unnecessary to get all spiffed out in an “interview suit” for a Skype interview. “Hi, I’m sitting in my apartment in pinstripes. Just a regular old day here.” It just seems odd to me. Absolutely look polished, ironed and professional (and wear pants, for heaven’s sake,) but I say suit is not required (unless, of course, you’re in the running for some big Wall Street or CPA gig, then yes, probably.)
*If you use an interview room in the Sonner Interview Center you may wish to dress up a bit more professionally since you will be in a more formal setting.
  1. Prepare in the exact same way that you would for a face-to-face interview. Research the company, the industry and the players with whom you’ll be interviewing. Come to the interview with thoughtful questions related to these. Listen. Listen. Listen. And then answer questions calmly and succinctly. Smile. Just like you’d do in person.
  2. Don’t panic if you have a dropped connection. More than likely, the interviewer already knows that this happens sometimes with a Skype call. In the event it happens on your interview? Take a couple of deep breaths and wait for him or her to re-connect. If five minutes passes and he or she doesn’t? Redial.
  3. Say thank you. And do so while you’re looking at that webcam.
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