By Dr. Howard Gauthier
Todd was both excited and nervous as he hung up the telephone. Four weeks ago he submitted his resume and cover letter for a marketing position at a Mid-level Division I institution in New York. Today, Todd was asked to interview with the search committee via a Skype interview.
He was excited because this is a job that he really wants, but Todd is also nervous because his initial interview is via Skype. Todd has never used Skype before and he knows that if he is going to make a great first impression, he needs to be prepared. The first thing he did was to contact a friend who regularly uses Skype and asked for some help and advice.
As Todd was preparing for his interview and learning more about the Skype process, he concluded that in order to have an effective Skype interview, he needed to concern himself with four broad areas:
Todd knows that in order to have a quality interview, he needs to have the proper computer equipment and software. This includes having a relatively new computer (within the last five years) with a webcam, a microphone, and speakers. The interviewee would also need access to an Internet connection and have a Skype account.
Todd found that when setting the location and atmosphere for the interview, you should select a place where you won’t be interrupted or distracted. Quite often, a home office is best because it has a professional look and feel. If added lighting is needed, a person will want to set up a table lamp about four feet behind the computer. And to make sure that the setting looks professional, both the desk and surrounding background must be clutter free.
Once the computer equipment and software are coordinated, and the interview setting has been established, you will now need to practice using Skype and all of the computer settings. Prior to the actual interview, you will want to practice calling and receiving Skype calls, and practice answering interview questions. To make sure you look good on the video, you will want to sit back a little further from the computer and make sure that your face and shoulders appear in the video screen.
During the actual interview, a person will want to have their cell phone close by and ready in case the Internet connection is lost. Make sure you have the cell number of the interviewers in case this happens. But also make sure that your cell phone is turned off during the interview. You don’t want your phone ringing during this session. Other items you will want to consider during the interview session is to have your computer plugged into an electrical outlet so the battery doesn’t die, dress in a professional manner, keep other computer programs closed so the computer doesn’t slow down, and as you interact with the search committee look into the camera and not at the computer screen.
As you prepare the room for your interview, you might want to display your resume, sales pitch, and the answers to interview questions behind the computer so you can glance and refer to this information without looking awkward to those who are interviewing you (similar to a television news anchor using a teleprompter). In the end, Todd was very well prepared for his Skype interview, he performed well, and was invited for an on-campus interview.
Remember, ultimately the job will go to the candidate who is prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job interview process. In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS!
Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University. He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach. He is also an author of 9 books. Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at www.sportscareersinstitute.com or his new book The Positive Leader at www.ThePositiveLeader.org.