Skype Interviews: Your
1. Simple video optimization
Do not use your monitor as the light source,
which is the most common mistake. You would look
like a zombie. This is what happens when your
face is lit by the computer screen. You are
going to need a separate light, your desk
lamp for example.
(Samples by Strobist®)
Tape a sheet of paper over the bulb to diffuse
the harsh light. You will notice that the camera will
automatically adjust the color and exposure for a more
natural look. You may need to play a little with the
lamp to find the best position.
If you wear glasses, turn down the brightness of
your monitor to eliminate the reflection. It is much
nicer when people can actually see your eyes.
Put on a white shirt. White does not cast any
color hues onto your face. Your camera also needs a
patch of white for a proper color balance. Finally,
white is the most appropriate color for job
Position yourself behind a bare wall, or at least
clean up the background. A collapsible background is
really helpful. For example, we use an old projection
screen for slides.
Make sure there are no lights or windows behind
you. Otherwise you camera will use them for
exposure and color balance, which will screw up your
image (samples below).
Turn down sharpness to 2 or 3 for smoother skin
tones. It will also kill the "glowing edges" effect.
For Skype interviews, sound is even more important
than the video. (If your webcam freezes but the sound
works, you can still go on with the interview, just like
on the phone. But if it's your sound that breaks down,
the interview is over!)
Don't use your built-in mike for serious situations -
you would probably need to shout, or to get really close
to the webcam. Both are unprofessional. Procure a
headset with a dedicated microphone and test it
at the comfortable distance from the webcam for sound
not use your webcam to take pictures for your
personal recruitment webpage.
Webcams are not
made to be cameras, they are designed for you to
communicate over the Internet and see the person
you are talking to.
As Murphy's law states, “If
anything can go wrong, it will”. Unless you are prepared!
Here's your checklist.
Dress up. International schools expect teachers to look
professional, which means a suit and a tie for men, conservative
attire with little / no jewelry for women. Personal appearance can't
be stressed enough. If in doubt, overdress.
Avoid busy patterns in clothing, including shirts and ties. They
cause moiré and other problems. A plain grey, blue or black jacket
with a white shirt will work great. During the interview you may
need to stand up to get something, so make sure your lower body is
Turn off your phones and lock the door. You may need to post a
note: Job interview in progress. Do not disturb.
Don't be square. Position yourself at a slight angle, with one
shoulder a little closer to the camera.
Look straight into the camera, especially when the other person
is speaking. This simulates live eye-contact. (Most candidates stare
at the picture on their screens. To the interviewer, it appears that
they are looking away. If the video box distracts you, cover it with
a PostIt note. Again: look into the camera, not the video box!
Warm up. Call a friend and have a little chat just before the
interview. You will also be able to verify your connection speed and
When the interview starts. If you are nervous, explain that it's
your first Skype interview. Most recruiters will understand that. It
also helps break the ice.
Listen carefully to what is being said. Every recruiter has a
set of key questions. The questions differ depending on the
recruiter's personal approach which they have developed over the
years. It is essential to fully comprehend the question before you
start answering it. Missing the point of the question is a big red
flag. If you are not sure, ask for clarification. Most people
appreciate your effort to answer with clarity.
Make sure to ask questions. Your questions will reveal your
understanding and show your interest. Lack of questions from the
applicant is always taken in a negative way. It is very easy to
reverse the whole interview by starting to ask questions about the
Let them lead the conversation. You know you win when the
interviewer does most of the talking to sell you the school.
Most recruiters have personally invested a good deal of time and
effort in their schools. They feel proud of their accomplishments,
in fact, they are eager to talk about them.
Every interview is a two-way process. You evaluate your director
just as she evaluates you. It is quite possible that your impression
of the interviewer will not be flattering. In fact, the main reason
why many candidates attend expensive job fairs is to have this
personal contact: you want to make sure that he or she is the right
individual to be your director for the next few years.
Take notes. This will show the recruiter that you take their
information seriously. You will also need your notes for your
post-interview email. Reiterate some of the points to make sure you
understand everything correctly.
Disconnect from Skype when it's over. Don't assume, make sure
you are off line, before you say / do anything in front of your
Send us your questions or comments:
try. I have
the last few
two years. I
post to my
to let you
know, I had
a friend of
mine who is
for me, and
he was very
So thank you
and I look
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