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How to Ace that Skype Interview – Virtual Interviews – II

How to Ace that Skype Interview – Virtual Interviews – II

Virtual interviews are the norm today given the globalization of the world of work. We have put together a few pointers on acing telephonic or Skype interviews for you.

Skype is a largely preferred medium for interviewing in the current times. Here are some interview tips for getting the process right!

1. Your Environment: It doesn’t matter whether or not you believe in being orderly and organized when it comes to your surroundings. You have just got to pull up your socks (well, in this case pick them up too!) and tidy up the room you choose for your video interview. The last thing you want is for the interviewer to get distracted by the sight of last night’s stale pizza on your bed or the unconquerable pile of clothes on the chair. Your safest bet is to sit against the background of a blank wall, if at all possible. Choose a spot which has good lighting and minimum distraction.

2. Take care of the noise: Have babies? Put them to sleep. Dogs? Leave them at the neighbor’s. Spouse? Make sure you’ve done all your chores! The microphone really does pick up a lot more background noise than you would think and is extremely distracting.

3. Dress up suitably: You might be giving the interview at home, even then, a t-shirt and boxers would be absolutely inappropriate for the same. Wear a suit or at least formal clothing for the call. Yes, it does make a big difference!

4. Your Skype Name, Display Picture and Status                                                                                             

a) Change your skype name to something professional if it already isn’t. You don’t want your prospective employer to be talking to “ZombieBethany” or “HunyBunch4U”. Or do you?

b) It is better to have no display picture at all than a curiously distracting one, you know the kinds we mean!

c) To avoid getting other calls at the same time, make sure to put up a DND/Busy status for your profile.

5. The Basics: Adjust the webcam/camera. You don’t want to be too close or too far away from it. Make sure you have a good and steady internet connection which doesn’t break off every few seconds. A “can you hear me now?” every now and then is very distracting!

6. Body Language: Remember to treat this just like a personal interview. Your body language would certainly count. Remember to not gesticulate a lot and remember to smile! Maintain a good posture and appear relaxed. These things always score you brownie points! Also, remember to look at the camera, and not at the screen. It might be tempting for you to shoot glances at the screen to see yourself, but avoid that. If it was a personal interview, maintain eye-contact would’ve been a must. Same goes for your Skype interview.

7. Practice Makes Perfect: Once again, a mock skype call with a friend or a colleague will give you an idea about how you appear on video, how stable your internet connection is, the body language you use and the sound quality. Go over the predictable questions you might be asked during the interview. Based on the feedback you receive, work on what didn’t work for the mock interview.

 8. Unforeseen tech glitches: Even after all the preparation, there might be some technical glitches and here is how Forbes Magazine suggests we deal with it:

“When you’re relying on video or phone equipment, there’s a good chance you’ll experience a technical glitch: a weak connection, interference or garbled signals.

You may hesitate to draw attention to the problem, but you don’t want to give an inaccurate answer because you didn’t understand the question. A simple “excuse me?” works fine. But if the problem persists, bring it up.

If you’re getting too many blips, it’s good to stop the call (and redial). The future employers may take away that you’re a problem-solver, and you would provide top-quality service if employed by them. Not to mention that fixing this kind of issue is just plain polite.”

9. On screen distractions: Close all web browsers, or any other program that might have been running prior to the interview. We would also suggest you putting up a blank wallpaper so that you have absolutely no distractions on screen and the interviewer has your complete attention.

10. Follow up: Send across a thank you letter post the interview (the next day) and enquire about the course of events to follow.


All the very best !

Interview Tips – While in Conversation – Part II

Interview Tips – While in Conversation – Part II

It is the small things that make a big impact during an interview. We have put together a set of interview tips to help you get prepared to ace the interview:

  • Be honest if you don’t know an answer.

    But also, if applicable, express your interest in learning or tell how you’ve already begun looking into it (if you have) or even add a good question related to what they just asked. No good employer expects you to know absolutely everything.

  • Use your real-life stories.

    You’ve researched the company. You’ve read the job description. Match your stories and experiences to what they are looking for. How you solved problems. How you overcame obstacles. How you improved processes. But once again, make sure you’re listening to them and answering their real questions, and not just trying to run the interview yourself.

  • Still feeling nervous? Nerves are expected. 

    If you falter, it is ok to mention nerves a little if you think it would help to diffuse your discomfort. You can add a few words about how excited you are about this opportunity. But keep it brief, and then move on to answering the question that was asked.

  • If there is more than one interviewer in the room – 

    direct your answer mostly to the person who asked the question. But make sure to have eye contact with each person at some point during the interview. Always, speak clearly, at a normal conversational pace, collect your thoughts and frame them properly before saying, a pause is better than a blunder.

  • Avoid jokes. They can fall flat.

    A little humor can be fine if it feels right; and if the interviewer is being funny on purpose, feel free to laugh along. Just not one of those weird sitcom laughs, keep your jokes limited to when you enter or when you leave, this is a serious setting.

  • Maintain eye contact and energy – and listen.

    If you feel yourself starting to think ahead about an answer or what else you might want to bring up later, stop yourself. You will lose more than you gain by trying to jump ahead. Just be in the moment and trust yourself. Again, the personal connection and a feeling that you would be a great person to have on their team is key.

  • Have some questions prepared should they ask you if you have any.

    They usually do. BUT … also feel free to take brief notes and use things you learned during the interview to come up with questions. A big plus. As your last question, if it feels right, let them know you’re very interested and ask when you might expect to hear from them. Try not to talk money until you know they want you: When the salary question comes up at the beginning of an interview, say that money isn’t your most important consideration — nor should it be at this point. You should be holding out for the market value of the new job, not settling for an inadequate figure of your present or previous employment.

  •  Remember to shake hands and smile warmly as you thank each interviewer for the interview.

    (Not the death grip!) Ask for their name if you don’t remember or were not introduced and make sure you mention them in a thank you note that you send to your interview point of contact.

All the very best! You are now one step closer to get the dream job you are striving for!

Interview Tips – While in Conversation – Part 1

Interview Tips – While in Conversation – Part 1

Your intellect and capacity would determine whether or not you achieve the dream job you are striving for. Very often, we focus on the ‘big things’ and forget about the subtle things we need to take care of during an interview. This post and the next are a collection of those interview tips which will help you breeze through the interviews!

  • Dress professionally:

    It helps to think about the kind of company and try to match that (if you know someone in the company, ask him/her or ask the recruiter/HR person about the dress code). But if they wear jeans and tees, you probably shouldn’t, for the interview. A simple jacket and trousers (or a skirt) is a good choice if you think a formal suit is going to make you look over dressed. It is best not to be loud/overdressed – too sexy (tone it way down), too elegant, too casual, too avant-garde or haute couture (unless that’s the kind of job you’re applying for; but even then don’t try to wow them). Less is more here.

  • Be on time:

    Actually, be before time so you are settled down and ready for your turn. Not being punctual for an interview is a definite no-no. Make sure you know where the interview venue is and how long it will take you to get there, to time yourself accordingly.  If you are not able to make it in time due to crisis not in your control, make sure you call the recruiter and inform him/her beforehand.

  • Turn your cell phone off or mute it once you enter the interview venue:

    Easy to forget. Not necessarily a deal-breaker (although for some it is), but definitely annoying. So just remember. You’ll be less distracted that way.

  • Remember that the receptionist can be a great ally:

    You may wonder why we mention this. It’s to remind you of something important: words are only a part of it. Overall impressions make a huge difference in your interview. The interview doesn’t just start the second the interviewer walks into the room and shakes your hand, nor end when you leave the interview room. People – anyone – at any step of the process share information about the candidates. Be nice to all!

  • While in the designated waiting venue: 

    no gum, no cell phone, no tablet, no humming to yourself, no putting on make-up, no slumping or feet up on a chair while slurping your coffee (this holds for the interview too). Be prepared to wait patiently – no matter how long it takes – and look as pleasant and energized as possible. Use the waiting time to think about your stories and all the ways you and your experience fit the company. But also use the time to observe whatever you can, since you are also deciding if you want them.

  • Stay positive while waiting:

    It is quite plausible that you might be restless while waiting for your turn and it so happens that sometimes you think time is just passing by slower. Do not give in to such thoughts, sing your favourite song in your mind. Check if all your documents are in order and stay focused. Be confident and keep your spirit up, there is nothing as contagious or uplifting as a good spirited person walking into the interview.

  • Meet the interviewer’s eyes and smile warmly as you walk in. Shake hands firmly (no death grip match), and say something pleasant. Be natural. Be real. And don’t use canned answers. When you’re in the actual interview, trust that you’ve done all you can up to that moment. Answer in your own words, making sure you heard exactly what they asked you. Job seekers sometimes prepare so much that they try to fit a canned answer into a question that wasn’t even asked. Not a good idea. Shows you don’t listen. So feel free to turn to your success stories, but also be conversational. Memorized words will lose you the human connection you want to build.

Liked the post? Read the second part too ! 🙂