Hey there, and welcome to Speak English with Christina, where you’ll have fun becoming fluent in American English. I’m your English coach Christina and today, you’re going to learn how to get past that 1st step in an interview, how to succeed in a Skype interview, which is often a filter to see if you can go to the face-to-face interviews.
Lots of people say they have difficulties with Skype interviews because of the connection, because it’s difficult to hear and understand, and it’s a little scary, right? Yeah! So, today, you’re going to learn lots of tips to succeed in your Skype interviews. Let’s go!
Starting the call right
Usually, a Skype call begins in the chat, where perhaps the interviewer will check that you are ready, with a phrase like this: “Hello, Ms. Timski. This is William Zidler from Acme Inc. May I call you for our appointment?”
Here are two appropriate responses:
“Hi, Mr. Zidler, yes, go ahead. I was waiting for your call.”
“Hi Mr. Zidler. One moment please, let me just close the door.” (and when you come back): “OK, I’m ready for your call.”
You hear that famous Skype ring, and then the camera’s on! There may be a little hesitation, as on Skype, it’s not always clear who should speak first.
Maybe both of you will start talking at the same time. Don’t panic. This is just part of Skype calls, even in business. Most likely the interviewer will take the lead and begin by welcoming you. Just follow the conversation.
After they introduce themselves, it’s a good time to express your enthusiasm for the interview.
Here’s an example:
Both: Hello, Ms. Lepère – Hello, Ms. Rebuffet.
Ms. Rebuffet: Are we good? Yes, well, Hello, and thanks for taking the time for this interview today.
Ms. Lepère: Hi, yes, it’s my pleasure. I’m looking forward to learning more about this opportunity with you.
Ms. Rebuffet: Great, right, so, yes, I wanted to talk to you….
Make a little small talk
If you think small talk has no place in a job interview, let me share some research with you. In a study of 163 job interviews, researchers found that pre-interview small talk made a significant difference on the result of the interview. I’ll put the link to an article from the Harvard Business Review below the video, if you want to read the full results.
Small talk gives you a chance to make a good impression, and demonstrate some skills that make you seem like a nice person to work with.
Often, the interviewer will start with “How are you today?” Don’t just say “Fine” and then stop talking. But keep it positive. You don’t want the interviewer to remember you as the person who complained all the time!
Here’s a good example:
Ms. Rebuffet: Good afternoon Ms. Lepère. How are you today?
Ms. Lepère: Good, thanks. I went out jogging this morning, so I’m feeling very good!
Ms. Rebuffet: That’s great. It’s always nice to do some exercise. I like yoga personally. So, today I wanted to…
Talk about company news
You can also comment on something related to the company. Part of your preparation is getting information on the company.
You can say something like “I just saw an article saying that Acme is going to launch products in China. That sounds exciting!” Bonus points because you’re up to date on company news!
Or ask them a question. During the discussion, the interviewer will ask most of the questions, so it’s nice to give them a chance to talk about themselves a little first. When they ask “How are you today?” it’s easy to answer with “I’m doing fine, how about yourself?”
It’s simple, but so many people just stop at “I’m fine” and wait for the next question. That gives the impression that you don’t want to talk, and that’s definitely NOT how you want to start your interview!
And if you need help becoming more comfortable making small talk, I recommend my course “Successful Small Talk!”
Keep your answers short
If your Skype experience is like mine, you always have connection problems at some point in the call. In a talk with your mom, this isn’t so bad. But you don’t want to misunderstand what the interviewer asked because the line cut, then start on a long answer that is off topic.
If you’re not sure that you understood correctly, reformulate to be sure before you answer. You can say:
“Are you asking… (and reformulate what you think you understood)
“You’re asking me about…., is that right?”
But, sometimes you think you understood when in reality you didn’t. Don’t panic, it happens. And this is why you should keep your answers short.
Give an initial answer of about 30-45 seconds, and then ask “Does that answer your question?” or “Would you like more details about this?”
This gives the interviewer the opportunity to reformulate their original question if you misunderstood. They might say something like “Actually, I was asking about your current position, not your last position.” And then, you start a new answer that corresponds to the question they asked. Situation saved!
Speaking of technical problems with Skype, I’ll also make a video on how to handle technical problems like a bad connection and cut conversations in English and with class! That one will be ready soon!
But for now, go ahead and watch this week’s episode:
Now, what about you?
Have you ever done an interview by Skype? How did it go?
Share your stories with us in the comments, and let’s continue the conversation!
Thanks so much for watching Speak English with Christina, and I’ll see you next week!
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