A skyrocketing number of business schools and employers have integrated a video interview platform such as Skype into their screening process, which means applicants need to adapt to make sure they present themselves with the same poise, charisma and class as during a traditional in-person interview.
BusinessWeek published a really useful article with input from various MBA admissions directors offering do’s and dont’s for anyone preparing for a virtual interview. Here are four common mistakes they’ve encountered, and how to avoid them.
Dressing Inappropriately—Most applicants have a clear grasp of the meaning of professional dress, but a number of admissions officers report that the standard seems to slide when the interview is conducted over Skype, particularly when it comes to the apparel below the desk. If you need to stand up for any reason during the interview and have nothing but boxers on, rest assured that is an impression the interviewer won’t soon forget.
Losing Your Cool with Tech Glitches—Technological glitches such as dropped audio or a frozen feed are almost par for the course, but admissions staff say how you react to the situation is what really counts. Maintaining poise and keeping your frustration in check will leave a positive impression on your interviewer. Swearing at your speakers, on the other hand, will not.
Being Careless About Your Background—Not your personal background, mind you, but that which literally appears behind you as you participate in the video chat. As with clothing choices, the backdrop you choose can make a negative impression if the interviewer is distracted by the messy bookcase or illuminated TV screen over your shoulder. Clean, clear, and well-lit is the way to go here.
Not Practicing Beforehand—Video interviewing is both convenient and efficient, but takes some time to get used to in order to come across in a natural way. Some people are distracted by their appearance, others find themselves talking in a tone that’s altogether different from a face-to-face conversation. Make sure you conduct various practice chats and seek feedback on your performance until you’re satisfied that you’re conversing with ease.
Randy Bitting, founder of InterviewStream, which sells interview preparation systems to schools including nearly two dozen top B-schools, says, “Business schools are finding that there’s an enormous gap between how students view themselves as prepared compared to how employers view them in interviews.” Keep these four aspects in mind and make sure you’re doing all that you can to close that gap.
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