Preparing for a Skype Interview

By Kathryn Stewart

If you are interested in teaching overseas, you will eventually need to interview with administrators or a principal from your potential school. With many of Teach Away’s partner schools, this interview will be over Skype. For those who have never had an interview over Skype, here are some tips to ensure you have the best interview possible.

Online Information: Your Skype profile photo, Skype name, and status will be the first things the interview team sees prior to speaking with you. Make sure that these are professional – having a separate Skype  account for professional contacts is a great idea.

Background: As you aren’t able to meet your potential colleague or supervisor in person, keep in mind that your first impression will extend beyond what you are wearing or how your hair looks.  Your webcam will also show your living or working space. Make sure your area is tidy! A plain background is ideal, as that will allow the interviewer to focus on you instead of trying to decipher your choice of artwork in the background.

Technical Preparedness: If you are new to Skype, try a practice run with a friend or your Teach Away placement coordinator before your interview. Use your webcam and microphone to make sure that everything is in good working order. On the day of your interview, we recommend that you are online and ready to go at least 15 minutes prior to your interview time.

Acting Naturally: It can be difficult to “be yourself” while on camera. Try to stay as natural as possible, and remember all the points of an in-person interview: for example, making eye contact with the person you are speaking to. You don’t need to act differently in a Skype interview, just make sure that you are being seen and heard on the webcam.

On the subject of eye contact, however, making eye contact through a webcam is a little more difficult than in person. Remember that your interviewer’s “eyes” are actually the camera! Try to look into the camera as much as possible, instead of staring directly at your screen.

Patience: Sometimes Skype will cut in and out, or it can be difficult to see or hear the person on the other side.  From time to time you may even need to stop the call and try again. Try to be patient!

Flexibility:  It is unlikely that your potential employer will be in the same time zone - your interview may be scheduled at a time early in the morning, or late in the evening. Your placement coordinator will do their best to schedule an interview time that works best for both sides, but keep in mind that flexibility is an asset when teaching abroad, starting from the very first interview!

Kathryn Stewart is a Placement Coordinator at Teach Away Inc.