With the travel restrictions and social distancing measures put in place due to COVID-19, many colleges have moved their admissions interviews online. Many business schools such as Wharton and IMD are now holding their interviews over Skype. Local medical faculties, such as National University of Singapore’s Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and Nanyang Technological University’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, recently shifted their admissions interviews entirely online.
Given the uncertainty of the current outlook, it’s a good idea to prepare for the possibility of an online college admissions interview. Moreover, regardless of the virus situation, there are cases in which your interview may still be over Skype; for example, if there are no alumni available to interview you locally.
Here are some tips to help you ace that college interview over Skype or Zoom:
1) First impressions matter
Even though your interview may now take place from the comfort of your own home, it’s still important to treat this like you would an in-person interview. This includes looking presentable and dressing appropriately, as well as showing up punctually. Try to maintain good posture where possible, even though it may feel natural to hunch over in front of your computer.
In addition, make sure that your surroundings are conducive to a good interview. Choose a quiet place with a neutral background, such as in front of a plain wall, and good lighting. To maintain a quiet environment, remember to turn off all your devices or silence them before the call in order to prevent unwanted noise. If other people will be around, remind them beforehand what time your interview will take place and put a notice up so they remember not to disturb you.
It can be hard to convey body language over a video call. However, one way you can maintain good eye contact is by remembering to look at your camera, not at the screen. While it may be tempting to look at your interviewer on your screen, looking at the camera will give them the impression you are looking them in the eye.
2) Troubleshoot your tech
Make sure that your technology is all set up before the interview to prevent any glitches or interruptions that will steal precious minutes from your answering time. This includes checking your wifi signal, your microphone’s audio levels, and your camera.
If possible, set up a call with a friend to practice. Not only will this let you get a sense of what a Skype interview will be like, but it also lets you ensure that your technology is in working order. Otherwise, you can use the test call function on Skype to check that your call will go smoothly.
Interviews online may feel strange and impersonal at first. It takes some time getting used to talking to someone through a screen, as opposed to being physically present. However, just relax, be friendly, and be yourself. At the end of the day, the interviewer just wants to get to know more about the person behind your application.
For all of the above tips, you can practice with our consultants to see what it feels like and get feedback on your content and presentation. Ultimately, practice makes perfect when it comes to mastering interview skills.
With COVID-19 ongoing, there are many new and unfamiliar ways in which everyone has been forced to adapt. Hopefully, the above tips have helped you prepare to put your best foot forward for the possibility of Skype interviews this admissions cycle.