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Officer Cadet Guide to Skype Interviews

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  • Officer Cadet Guide to Skype Interviews

    Over the past few years the number of companies that are conducting interviews over Skype has gradually been increasing and these days it’s quite common for candidates to be interviewed on Skype rather than over the phone or in person.

    Some companies use it as their initial interview stage and if successful invite you to a face to face meeting, others will make their hiring decision based on your Skype interview.

    So here is Officer Cadet’s guide to Skype Interviews.

    Look the Part
    You might be sitting in your kitchen/lounge/a cafe/wherever but it’s important to look the part. Sitting on camera in your PJ’s will not present a particularly good impression, dress smart - wear a suit and make sure your hair’s tidy.

    Be Prepared
    Don’t wait till 5 minutes before your interview to check everything works. The day before setup your computer, camera and headset. Make a test call to someone - if you have no friends Skype provides a handy call testing service you can use to check your connection, microphone and headset is working.

    If you have a Skype avatar which could be considered unprofessional or inappropriate then you should probably remove that before the interviewer adds you, same goes for anything in your Skype profile.

    Your Surroundings
    Your bedroom might not be the most appropriate location for your interview, choose somewhere where the light will be in front of you (having a window behind you is a bad idea as you’ll be dark on the camera). Have a look on your camera and see what it can see, you don’t want to be sitting their in your suit with a complete mess in the background, try and have a bookcase or a plain wall behind you. It’s also not a good idea to have a load of personal items such as photos visible either.

    Noise is another thing to consider, if you live on a busy road and some rooms are noisier than others, it’s best to avoid them.

    Get Rid of Distractions
    Unplug your landline, turn off your mobile phone and tell anyone else in your house to leave you alone and too keep the noise down.

    Sign out any messaging programs other than Skype that might be running. Especially if you use FaceTime / iMessage linked to your iPhone - nothing worse than being in the middle of an interview when a FaceTime call pops up on your screen.

    Look at the Camera
    Make sure you’re looking at the camera when you are talking, not at the screen. If the camera’s above the screen and you don’t look at it when talking it will look like you have your head down and are reading something off the desk!

    Cheat a Little
    There’s no harm in having a copy of your CV and some notes jotted down. Unlike a face to face interview you can always have these open on your screen where you can easily see them for reference if you get stuck. Make some notes about the company and think of some questions you might like to ask before hand incase you get stuck or are asked.

    Having said that, do not sit there reading from them, spend some time trying to memorise them beforehand so you always have them to jog your memory.

    What normally Happens
    Things will vary dependant on company and the interviewers preference but remember that they are possibly conducting several interviews every day so if your not sure if your expected to do something then ask!

    Step 1: They will normally arrange a date and time that is mutually suitable for the interview and they’re used to working across multiple time zones so don’t be afraid to tell them that a time isn’t suitable.

    Not so much for cadets, but for officer positions once qualified, if you’re applying while your at sea and are arranging a time when you’re in port - make sure you tell them this and confirm with them it’s ok to conduct the interview in whatever location you’ve chosen (such as a coffee shop or cafe).

    They’ll also ask you to confirm your Skype username, so make sure it’s correct and that you haven’t forgotten your password. It doesn’t look very good if you have to email them back the day before saying “sorry, but my username is actually XXX”.

    Step 2: A few hours before the interview the interviewer will normally add you on their Skype - most will have a message accompanying it such as “Hi, this is Bob from XXXX, Just setting up in preparation for our interview”. You don’t need to reply to this and don’t try and start a conversation or call them.

    Step 3: Make sure you’re signed into Skype 15 - 20 minutes before your interview time, this gives you time to check it has connected.

    Step 4: They’ll call you, make sure you accept the call, if they want to start a video call make sure you select video call when given the option - answer it politely.

    After your interview is over wait until they disconnect the call.

    A few last Do’s and Don'ts
    • Do look at the camera when you are talking
    • Do have a glass of water nearby - but out of sight of the camera incase you need it
    • Do tell the interviewer if you are having technical problems such as being unable to hear them
    • Don’t get distracted by other applications - sign off
    • Do tell your family / room mates that you have an interview and to keep things quiet and not to bother you until your done
    • Do put your pets outside
    • Don’t only wear a shirt and tie - if your going formal make sure you wear trousers too, if you don’t then do not stand up!
    • Do have a piece of paper handy and a pen to jot down notes
    • Don’t type during your interview - even to make notes - it will make the interviewer think your not listening
    • Do SMILE and answer the call with “Good morning/afternoon/evening” and once it’s over remember to thank them for their time
    • Do have an alternative means of conducting the interview (your phone for example) should Skype fail for whatever reason

    • alexsandford22
      #1
      alexsandford22 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you very much Alistair I did try to find something like this but couldnt!!!

    • Maritimer
      #2
      Maritimer commented
      Editing a comment
      Nice guide, but I hate the idea of Skype interviews, and I hope I never need to have one. Is Skype via a mobile acceptable, or is that a big no-no? I don't fancy having to go and purchase a camera, headset, new computer, additional lighting etc. I'm assuming that you don't even get considered for interview if you can't/won't Skype?
    Posting comments is disabled.

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