As a Talent Development Specialist for a Fortune 100 media company from 2006-2011, I spent months recruiting students from colleges and business schools to create a highly competitive talent pool in consumer marketing, finance, IT, and custom publishing. Despite the craziness of keeping tabs on everyone, it was one of my favorite parts of the work experience. Annually I would review over 1,000 resumes from students at top performing schools. We moved toward Skype interviews to make the first round process more manageable. Skype isn’t a guaranteed technology, so we had the phone as a backup; but, for the most part, everything worked perfectly. It was well worth it to interface with students even if it was just two minutes.
After years of conducting Skype interviews, I have the following tips for students:
1) Practice using Skype. As part of creating the best first impression, be prepared with the Skype application, your webcam, and your computer’s microphone and volume settings. Practice a call with someone else to be sure you’re comfortable using Skype proficiently. If you don’t own a webcam, inquire about options at your campus library or Career Services Center.
2) Dress for a professional interview. You can wear your pajama pants and slippers under the desk, but make sure you look the part for the webcam shot. If in doubt, overdress. It shows how seriously you take the opportunity. Make sure you’ve spit out the gum, flossed your teeth, and wiped your nose!
3) Consider your backdrop. Skype interviews are often done in your apartment or dorm room, so be sure to have a well-organized or white background. Think about what the interviewer will see as you setup your interview space.
4) Do your homework. Research the company and be ready to talk about its products, brands, values, leadership, and recent press. Have several stories ready to share about your creativity, leadership, and critical thinking. Be prepared to tailor your responses to the company and the industry. Explain your specific interest in working with the company and convey how you will add value.
5) Only water. Have a glass of water nearby or a fancy bottle of water; they look nicer if you need to drink during the interview.
6) Send an email thank you note. Ask for the interviewer’s email and send a brief thank you note within 24 hours. You want the interviewer to remember you so try to make a thoughtful reference to something you discussed over Skype. Quick follow up makes a big difference. Handwritten notes are nice, but they aren’t necessary. By the time they arrive, the first or second round process may already be complete.By Brad Hoffman, M.S.Ed.
CEO and Founder
My Learning Springboard, Inc.