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To ace virtual interviews

To ace virtual interviews

The recent penetration of technology has brought about a sea change in the process of interviewing candidates. Digital interviewing is trending today. In the last few years, Skype interview has become popular as an initial screening tool for candidates who cannot attend face-to-face interviews due to time and distance constraints. Skype interview is very similar to a phone interview except that the interviewer and interviewee can see each other.

Whether you are an international student applying for higher studies abroad or a fresher looking for your first job chances, you will have to take up a Skype interview at some point in the recruiting process. Even internship interviews, assessment for freelance assignments and short-term projects are done through Skype. This new process of interviewing saves time and money for both the parties involved.

All interviews need preparation and so does this virtual interview. In fact, Skype interviews need greater effort by the candidate in terms of taking care of the technicalities involved and making the first impression through the camera, among others. So before you take up a Skype interview, it is better to prepare yourself properly so that you can be at your professional best.

Before the interview

The first and foremost thing that you should pay attention to is your Skype id and picture. If you already have one but not a professional one, make sure you create another appropriate one and then share it with your potential employer. It is free of cost and will take you one step ahead in making that all important first impression. Check your computer, camera and microphone well ahead of the scheduled interview. If there are any problems get them tested by a professional. If you are using a laptop it is good to keep it on a desk. The background should preferably be blank with no clothes, books or other household items dumped. Choose a well-lighted and quiet room as far as possible. Keep a bottle of water within your reach.

Do inform your family members about the interview so that they do not interrupt you when the discussion is going on. Keep your resume, portfolio and other important documents close to you so that you can access them easily. Also, remember to keep a notebook and a pen to jot down a few points if required. Close all unwanted windows in your computer. Before you take the actual call do practice it with a friend to get adjusted with where to look, how loudly to speak and other intricacies involved in the process. Rehearsing will make you feel relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera on the big day.

During the call

Be there at your desk well ahead of time. As in any other interview, sit straight with shoulders upright and you facing the light. Stay at a reasonable distance from the camera. While answering questions, look at the camera and not on your computer screen. This will help you maintain the so-called eye contact with the interviewer. Remember to blink occasionally. Do not move too much as it will create blurry images for the interviewer. Even if you are taking the call from home, dress smartly and behave professionally.  Although it may be difficult to keep a smile on your face sitting alone in a room, it is important to have a pleasant expression as much as you can.

Listen attentively and nod occasionally to give the impression that you are engaged in the conversation. It is easy to get distracted in the middle of a call. In such a situation, do not start tapping your keyboard or convey some other signals that you are getting bored. Your body language will count a lot in a Skype interview.

If by chance a technical problem crops up due to poor network or otherwise there is nothing to panic. Handle the situation smartly. Ask the panel to excuse you and continue the call once it is resolved. It is quite natural for such a technological interruption to happen. Just be at ease. Keep your landline and mobile phones in switched off mode throughout the interview.

Once you are done with the interview send a Thank You email to the interviewer. If there was a panel interviewing you, do send separate emails to each of them. However, it is not appropriate to send messages or to follow-up through Skype.

Skype is very easy to use but make sure you devote some time to practice and gain mastery over it. Be yourself and act naturally just as if the interviewer is sitting across the table. Plan properly and you are sure to be successful.

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