Central State University invited me to attend their career fair in Dayton, Ohio last week. The fair was right before my presentation and I had an opportunity to meet some of the employers that were featured at the fair. I was pleased to see the Central State University students mixing and mingling with the employers, shaking hands, taking business cards, and starting a dialogue.
I overheard one conversation where an employer told a student she would be happy to interview him for an entry-level position. She told him the interview would be conducted over Skype. The student was unfamiliar with Skype and asked the employer how that works. The woman explained that Skype provided her with a way to interview him over the internet, using a webcam. The student responded by saying that he would love to do the interview but he didn’t have access to a webcam. The employer said that she was sure the school had some sort of webcam set up. She continued to say that most universities have interview rooms set up with webcams in their career centers for Skype Interviews. The woman shook his hand and walked away, leaving the student feeling what seemed to be helpless and confused. The university does not have Skype webcams set up at this time.
I’m familiar with the concept of Skype Interviews , however, I assumed employers were using them as an option and not a requirement. There seems to be a disconnect between the employers and the career centers when the employers request something the students don’t have access to. By no means, should students feel like they need to go out and purchase a brand new webcam or a new laptop that has a webcam already installed.
If employers are going to take time out of their days to visit college career fairs, they should also take the time to find out what resources the students have access to. I felt terrible for that student who attended the career fair, put himself out there, and essentially might not get the position because of the lack of communication between the employer and career center.
After speaking with several representatives from career centers across the country, it seems that large universities and well-known private schools either have access or are getting access to web cams for students. However, most of these schools have yet to see a growing trend in Skype Interviews.
“We are not aware of students having Skype interviews. We did interview a career counselor using this technology and have the equipment available should students need to use it.” said Karen Clancy, who runs the Career Development Center at Brown University.
“We haven't had too many interviews being skyped in but I know students use it to communicate with their friends from study abroad, etc. We do have webcams set up in my office for Skype and Interviewstream.” noted Paul Jaques, Internship Developer at Michigan State University.
I spoke to Lanie James in the Career Center at Oklahoma State University and he that in the past some employers have sent laptops to record interviews. I thought was interesting and a great solution for employers who need to conduct Skype interviews but realize the students might not have the resources.
Career Center directors at Mcpherson College in Kansas, Newbury College in Boston, and Grand Canyon University both said that they do not use Skype or Web Cams.
Intern Queen Skype Tips For Students
Students, if employers are using Skype as an interview requirement - let's learn to use it properly. I would hate for you to miss out on a job or internship because you are unfamiliar with Skype. Find out who has Skype now. If your career center doesn't have access to Skype, ask them if they can invest in webcams. Find out who you need to speak with to request webcams put in your career center. Go to your local library, call your friends, and see who has access to a webcam. Be prepared.
1. Download Skype on your computer. You can use it with or without a webcam. Many employers might require a webcam for actual interviews. But you can get familiar with the audio side of the program. Go to http://www.skype.com to download.
2. Follow the steps to successfully download Skype to your computer. When you create your Skype account name, keep it professional. I suggest first initial, last name OR first name, middle initial, last name. My Skype name is LaurenEBerger.
3. Skype will run a test on your computer to make sure that your internal speakers/webcams are turned on and working properly. It will also let you import contacts from different email accounts. You will be surprised to see how many of your contacts are already using Skype regularly.
4. When using Skype for your interview, make sure that everyone you live with knows what time your interview is scheduled for. There should be no background noise during your interview – this includes people speaking, toilets flushing, dogs barking, phones ringing. Everyone’s cell phone’s should be on silent during your interview. If you are expecting any visitors, schedule the interview for later in the day.
5. If you are doing an interview at your career center, the same rules apply. Make sure to speak with your career counselor and double confirm that there will be no interruptions.
6. Create a simple and clean space where you will do your interview. Remember, if you are using the web cam, the employer can see what’s behind you. Pretend you are shooting a movie, and you are playing the role of the sophisticated student – what would be behind you ? Make sure whatever’s behind you is simple and not distracting. No beer cans. No dirty pictures. Nothing messy. Your surroundings reflect more about you than you would think.
7. Usually, the web cam only shows the interviewee from the waist up. To be safe, throw on a suit jacket and nice top. Men should wear ties. Women should NOT be showing cleavage.
8. Same interview rules apply as an in-person interview. Speak up. Speak clearly. Don’t speak to fast. Be confident. Smile. Be passionate. Be energetic. Represent yourself well.
Lauren Berger is known as “The Intern Queen” after completing 15 internships during her 4 years of college. She is CEO of http://www.internqueen.com and was recently named a finalist for Business Week’s “Top 25 Young Entrepreneurs 25 and Under”. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.