By Dr. Howard Gauthier
Albert was both excited and nervous as he hung up the telephone. After several weeks of waiting, Albert just received word that he had made the “short list” and would interview for the athletic director’s position at a small college in Tennessee. He was excited because this is a job that he really wanted, but nervous because his initial interview was via Skype. Albert had never used Skype before and he knew that if he was going to make a great first impression, he needed to be prepared so he could ace this type of interview. The first thing that Albert did was to contact a friend who uses Skype and asked for some help and advice.
As Albert was preparing for his interview and learning more about the Skype process, he concluded that in order to have an effective Skype interview, he needed to concern himself with four broad areas:
- Computer related issues
- The physical setting
- Practice and preparation
- The interview
Albert knew that in order to have a quality interview a person needed to have the proper computer equipment and software. This included having a relatively new computer (within the last five years) with a webcam, a microphone, and speakers. They would also need access to a broadband Internet connection and have a Skype account.
He found that when setting the location and atmosphere for the interview, a person should select a place where they won’t be interrupted or distracted. Quite often, a home office is best because it has a professional look and feel. If added lighting is needed, a person will want to set up a table lamp about four feet behind the computer. And to make sure that the setting looks professional, both the desk and surrounding background must be clutter free.
Once the computer equipment and software are coordinated, and the interview setting has been established, you will now need to practice using Skype and all of the computer settings. Prior to the actual interview, you will want to practice calling and receiving Skype calls, and practice answering the interview questions. To make sure you look good on the video, you will want to sit back a little further from the screen and make sure that your face and shoulders appear in the video screen.
During the actual interview, a person will want to have their cell phone close by and ready in case the Internet connection is lost. Make sure you have the cell number of the interviewers in case this happens. But also make sure your cell phone is turned off during the interview. Other items you will want to consider during the interview session is to have your computer plugged into an electrical outlet so the battery doesn’t die, dress in a professional manner, keep other computer programs closed so the computer doesn’t slow down, and as you interact with the search committee look into the camara and not at the computer screen.
To prepare the room for your interview, you might want to display your resume, sales pitch, and answers to interview questions behind the computer so you can glance and refer to this information without looking awkward to those who are viewing on the other end of the video (similar to the television news anchors). In the end, Albert was very well prepared for his Skype interview and he was invited to an on-campus interview. Remember, ultimately the job will go to the candidate who is prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job interview process. In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS!
Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University. He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach. He is also an author of 8 books. Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at www.SportsCareersInstitute.com.