This blog was written by Allison Shook, our Campus Ambassador from Bucknell University.
Mid November and Early December mark one thing for college students, internship application time. Students across the country are sending in resumes and cover letters for their dream summer internships. Many students who attend school away from major cities or their home towns will often be requested for a phone interview, or the up and coming trend, a Skype interview. Although Skype interviews are clearly different then going to an office for a sit down interview, they should be taken just as seriously. Here are a few tips to help you rock your next Skype interview.
1) Background is key
Before your interview be sure to find the right spot to have your conversation. If you are planning to Skype in your dorm room, make sure that what is visible from the webcam is clean and tidy. Do not have the camera show your bed in the background if there are piles of laundry on it waiting to be folded. You want to look professional, not like a sloppy college student. Your best bet is to find a blank wall, just like a passport photo, the less distractions the better. This will also eliminate your potential employer from seeing posters or other paraphernalia that decorates your room.
2) Check settings in advance
This goes along with the background tip, but takes it one step further. Make sure that if there is excessive background noise you choose another location. It would be incredibly awkward if during your interview the kid who lives above you decides to blast dub step music. Also, make sure that your webcam is working and that the volume and speaker settings are at appropriate levels. You want to be able to speak at a normal decibel so the interviewer has no problem understanding you. If you have time before your interview, have a friend Skype you to make sure that the webcam and speakers are working properly.
3) Dress for the occasion
Although only your top half will be seen during your interview, get in the professional mindset by dressing as you would for an in-person interview! Just because they cannot see your pants does not mean that you shouldn’t wear any, you never know what could cause you to stand up or grab something during your interview. Make sure to dress appropriately for the interview. If it is for an investment banking opportunity don your best suit. If it is for a fashion internship opportunity be sure to show off your personal style. Even though it is a Skype interview make sure to dress for the internship you want!
4) Body Language
Sitting in front of your computer while you are tweeting or watching your favorite television show is not the most conducive for perfect posture. Placing your laptop in your lap and looking down into the camera is never a good idea; neither is placing the computer in front of you while you lie on your stomach. Opt for putting your laptop on a desk or flat top surface and be sure to sit in an up-right chair. Resist the urge to lean back and lounge, no matter how comfortable your seat is! As you would in an in-person interview, you want to sit on the edge of your seat and lean slightly towards the webcam to show your interest.
5) Look at the Camera, Not the Screen!
Eye contact during a Skype interviews is a little tricky especially when it comes to where you should be looking. Similar to in-person interviews, maintaining eye contact is extremely important, but can be a little awkward while Skyping. Although it is extremely difficult to keep from looking at the screen showing the interviewers face as well as your own, resist the urge! Instead keep your eyes focusing on the camera towards the top of your screen. When you look into the camera you are looking directly at the interviewer. It may feel uncomfortable and weird at first, but your interviewer will not feel as though you are constantly looking away.
6) Note Advantage
If you are still a little nervous before your interview, considering pulling up your resume or any talking points you want to make onto your desktop. Turn this distance into your advantage! Having your resume/notes in front of you will help you answer any questions they may ask and make you feel more comfortable. However, make sure that you do not get too distracted by having these documents on your screen. These are meant to be a resource for you, not a distraction!
7) Be yourself!
Don’t be afraid to tell your interviewer that this is your first video interview. This will help to break the ice and most interviewers will very understanding! Remember to be enthusiastic, do not forget that this is an interview and they are trying to get a sense of who you are! If you are still feeling a little nervous do a mock Skype interview with a friend! A trial run will help you get rid of any nerves you have so that you can focus on how you are coming across!
Do you have any tips that have helped you during a Skype interview? Have you had any mishaps that you wish you had avoided? Let us know and comment below!