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The Daily Illini

Be prepared for Skype and phone interviews

Isabella Jackson, Supplements editor

Job interviews are stressful, and adding the technological element of using a phone or Skype can be even more nerve-wracking. However, many jobs and internships, especially those that are in a different part of the country, will require an initial phone interview or one in place of an in-person interview. Here are some tips to help you master the technology and ace your interview. 

Check the connection 

A dropped call or blurry video will not show off your best professional assets and can leave employers with the feeling that you were ill-prepared. Choose a location where you know your service is steady and the internet will be fast enough. The day before the interview, try calling a friend so he or she can give you feedback on the quality of the call and you can change your location if the audio or visual is breaking up. 

During the call, realize audio complications can lead to your sentences sounding spotty or garbled. Make sure to speak clearly and do not rush your speech. 

When technological issues arise, keep calm while handling the situation. If you are able to fix the problem without panicking, it shows that you can handle emergencies while staying professional. 

Dress to impress

While employers may only see your top half in a Skype interview and will not see you at all over the phone, dressing professionally will put you in a mental position to be focused on the interview. While it might be tempting to wear pajamas for an interview that doesn’t require you to leave the house, you may subconsciously be less formal in your speech and body language. 

On a Skype call, have good posture and don’t move around excessively. Position yourself far enough away from the screen that your entire face and the top of your shoulders are visible, and don’t fidget with the computer or your phone. 

Realize that humor can be taken the wrong way 

Body language is a large part of humor, and on a phone call it can be difficult to communicate sarcasm, irony or a dry joke. Because these comments could come off as having a bad attitude, err on the side of caution when it comes to humor. 

Make sure the setting is appropriate 

The setting behind you will be visible to the interviewer. Make sure it looks clean, not cluttered, and that any inappropriate items are put away. The red solo cups left over from last weekend will not help you get the coveted internship. 

Reduce background noise that could break into the audio of your call, including barking dogs, music or notification sounds on the phone or computer. If you live with roommates and are taking the call at home, close the door and remind them that you are on a call and cannot be disturbed. 

If you have the equipment, use headphones or a headset. This will help you hear the other person and will focus the audio on your words, not background noise. 

Look at the camera, not the screen

On a Skype interview, looking at the interviewer’s eyes on the screen will make you appear to be avoiding eye contact to the other person. Instead, look directly at the camera and minimize other distractions. Personally, I have to remove the image of myself from the screen because I will become preoccupied with how I look or what my body language is saying and lose focus on the interview. 

Lastly, relax and focus on your regular interview skills. Once you adjust to the technology and setting, the interview is just another chance to show off your knowledge and experience. 

Isabella is a junior in LAS. 

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