Currently, more than half of Search Associates candidates get their positions in overseas schools through the use of technology. Some of you may have personal experience with Skype. Use these simple tips to enhance communication skills. Preparing for a successful Skype interview will increase the chance to land your dream job.
Before your interview:
- Write down everything you want to say: Skype and phone interviews afford you a great opportunity to have a few "cheat notes." This includes highlights of your career, teaching philosophy, the difference that you have made to kids' lives, etc. Try to weave this into the conversation. Also include information about the school, and have questions ready to ask.
- Have fun:Recruiters want a vibrant person who will work well in a dynamic atmosphere. They love people with a "can do" attitude.
- Relax: Call a personal contact, such as a colleague, family member or friend, so you can test your Skype connection, microphone volume, and lighting in the room.
- Dress to impress: Dress professionally for the interview—including pants. Facial hair should be well-groomed. Darker shades of clothing look best for the camera, and hot, vibrant colors should be avoided.
- Set the mood:Turn off your cell phone, and lock your door, so no one can come in and distract you. The camera should be steady, with a clear and focused picture. If you wear glasses, turn down the brightness of your monitor to avoid unwanted reflections.
- Make eye contact: Look straight into your computer camera when speaking. Give the appearance of eye contact by focusing on the webcam itself while only glancing intermittently at the monitor. Practice acclimating to this unique interview setting. Include the "digital handshake" in the first moments of the interview. This slight lean forward, with a smile, and active listening speaks volumes.
- Body language: A lot of communication and understanding comes from non-verbal cues. Senior Associate Jim Ambrose relays, "Only about 30% of communication consists of words, and the rest is made up of intonation, facial expressions, gestures, etc. Remember to use good posture." Jim strongly advises, "Mind the 'Law of Thirds': The top of your head should be [a hand's width] from the picture-frame."
- Be confident: Use a strong, clear voice. Ensure your voice is audible. A USB connected headset can improve voice quality. Allow for any transmission delays. Wait for the interviewer to stop speaking before you answer.
- Be personable: Know your interviewer's name, and use it. This gives that extra "personal touch."
- Be direct and concise: Make sure you answer the question that is being asked. If you don't understand the question, ask your interviewer to repeat it. Answering interview questions with clarity is imperative.
- Ask specific questions: This lets the interviewer know that you have done your "homework" and researched their school. A school wants to hire teachers that want to be at THEIR school and have good ideas to share.
- Listen: Give your interviewer a chance to "brag" and give details about what they like best about their school and the region. This gives them a chance to talk about positive things, which may leave them with a lasting impression.
- Clarify: At the end of your interview, ask, "Is there anything that I have mentioned today that you would like me to clarify?" This gives recruiters a chance to revisit topics with you.
- Technological glitches: Make sure your Skype call is disconnected at the end of your call. This will allow you to leave the lasting and professional impression you have worked so hard to achieve.
- Follow up: Send a follow-up email the day after your interview. Include a 'thank you' as well as confirmation that you are the perfect candidate for the job.
Using these tips will ensure good practice for any future interviews and will enhance your eligibility as a top candidate for an international teaching position. Always remember, as Jim warns, "the mic—and in this case—the camera, is always live."