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How to prepare for a job interview in English via Skype

Modern technology and the internet are changing the face of HR and recruitment in companies across the globe.

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Today, many HR managers conduct an initial job interview via Skype before inviting the potential candidate for a face-to-face meeting. Those who are not used to communicating by video conference in English may be apprehensive about having a Skype job interview, but there is really nothing to fear. With the right guidance and online job interview preparation with a native English teacher you will gain the fluency, style and confidence required to make a winning impression.

It is important to remember that the principles of interviewing do not change just because the recruitment process has moved to an online format. You will be asked the same questions, will have the same interviewer and will be expected to behave in a businesslike manner just like at a face-to-face interview. However, getting used to the technology and online format is important and it is worth practising your Skype job interview technique prior to the big day.

Types of job interviews

There are two main approaches to modern interviewing – factual and behavioural. Traditional questions will be fact-based and designed to acquire or check information about your previous positions, duties, education, family status, age, etc. On the other hand, behavioural questions will focus on trying to understanding how you behave in various work-related situations; the premise being that future performance can be predicted based on your past behaviour and analysis of it. Here is an example of each question type:

Traditional: “When and why did you leave your previous place of work?”

Behavioural: “Give me an example of a conflict situation you encountered at work and how you dealt with it.” (Follow up: “Do you feel your response was appropriate? Who was to blame for the argument?”)

Job interviews via Skype

When you have a job interview via Skype in English you can expect to be asked both traditional and behavioural questions. It is a good idea to write lists of questions that you think may come up during the interview – i.e. if you were the interviewer, what would you ask? Then you can start thinking of the best way to answer and convey a positive self image. Preparing alone is much harder, so ask a friend or relative to help you through role-playing and Q&A. If you are concerned about your fluency in English and lack experience of interviews in the language, then job interview preparation with a native speaker by Skype is worth considering.

Skype job interview checklist

Before you have your job interview on Skype make sure to check the following:

  • Technical set-up – Is your computer working properly? Try several test calls to make sure that your video and sound levels are correct. Use an external webcam and headphones to improve call quality. Make sure your internet connection is fast and reliable.
  • Environment – Are you in a quiet place with no distractions? Remove any inappropriate objects that are in the webcam’s field of vision – e.g. clothes drying on the door, children’s toys, strange personal possessions, etc. Your setting should appear neutral and business-like.
  • No interruptions – Ensure that others in your house or office know that you are having a job interview via Skype and do not wish to be disturbed. Turn off your mobile and landline. Change your Skype settings so that you do not hear sound alerts when other contacts type messages (path: tools-options-sounds-incoming IM in recent chat).
  • Dress for success – Although the interviewer will only be able to see your face and upper body, make sure that you are dressed appropriately. Appearances do matter, even online!
  • Body language – look at the webcam as if you were looking at an interviewer sitting opposite you. Try to relax and be yourself. Reduce gestures to a minimum as your hands will often be out of shot. Avoid nervous or defensive body language such as crossing your arms, scratching your face or touching your hair. Keep your hands in your lap and avoid playing with small objects on your computer table, such as pens and other stationary.

If you would like to prepare for your job interview online with the help of an experienced British English tutor, then visit our homepage to request a trial consultation and get started today.

Click here to download this post via our mobile website!
Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

Written by Alex Jude —
ESL Specialist & CEO at Online Teachers UK

Alex Jude is the Founder & CEO of Online Teachers UK. He holds a BA hons degree in Linguistics from The University of Manchester and is a life-long English teacher. Following graduation, he spent 2002-2012 living and teaching in Russia, where he lectured in General Linguistics and Translation Studies. Alex is a fluent Russian speaker and worked with the BBC at the World Cup in 2018. In his spare time, he enjoys camping/bushcraft, playing guitar and watching rugby league.

Written by Alex Jude —
ESL Specialist & CEO at Online Teachers UK