Monday, January 11, 2010

Skype - A true friend of International B-schools

I recently had an interview with a top B-school in China (Why China - I'll reserve that for another post). Since i couldn't make the trip to China, I was interviewed on Skype!! The interview went really well, but what intrigued me was what would have the schools done without Skype? Use Yahoo messenger, AIM plueezzz!!

Although Skype gives you the luxury of interviewing at your home turf, it poses some unique challenges. I for one, like a nice face-to-face interview where i can personally connect with the interviewer and a human touch is a big player in such situations. But nonetheless, if it really comes down to interview-from-home, here are a few tips for my fellow applicants to take into consideration.

1. Always check the timing - time zones can be deceptive: I almost missed my interview. My interview was scheduled on the 11th of Jan at 9:30am and this was according to local time China. I casually added a calender entry for 9:30pm, on Jan 11th according to New York time. A big mistake. Its so easy to confuse time zones especially when the freaking daylight saving is in effect. This meant my interview was one hour early, i.e., 8:30pm. Then a couple of days before the interview it hit me. 9:30am, Jan 11 in China is actually 8:30pm on Jan10th in New York. Phew close call. The bottom line is check the timings - twice and don't make your own assumptions.

2. Costume check - Interviewing from your bedroom doesn't mean interviewing at your own terms. Remember this is not a casual video chat, it is an interview. So don't sport your new Christmas pajamas and dress as you would to a real interview. If you are not sure - Ask the interviewer beforehand.

3. Gadget check - Electronics devices undergo a rigorous quality check before they are launched in the market. But the hard fact is that they are devices and devices can fail. So check your webcam and mic and make sure they are working. Also make sure your (skype) status shows "online".

4. Rehearse the interview - Do you make awkward gestures while talking. Well on a webcam, due to limited visibility, these gestures would make you look like you are on drugs. So rehearse your video interview on skype. Better yet, record them and see how you appear to the interviewer. I did that and I was shocked to see that I could have easily gotten a job at the nearest circus as a clown!

5. Background check - The last thing you want to do is to leave your Pam Anderson poster or your pet python to be on the background of the video. The focus of the interviewer should be on you. This way he/she will be able to comprehend what you are saying. Keep your background light and simple. Your back could face a white wall and this way you will have the interviewers attention.

6. Sound Check - Before starting the interview, confirm with the interviewer that she can hear your loud and clear. You, of course wouldn't want her to read your lips, right?!

7. Don't be camera shy: Face the camera while speaking, not the monitor or computer screen! If you have recorded your interview rehearsal you will know why!!

Here is a bonus tip - Resist the temptation of writing down your responses and reading them to the interviewer. Again, if you have recorded your rehearsal, you will know how obvious and stupid you will look!!

So there are a few pointers of tackling the video interview. For some pointers on how to prepare for the interview, here is a post that i'd written a couple of months back "Preparing for the Admissions Interview"

That it for this week. My hearty congratulations to all those who got an admit and herez wishing the rest all the very best.

Zai Jian!


  1. That's awesome you appliec to a Chinese school! I think they would really appreaciate the perspective of an Indian student since these two countries are really the big talks of Asia right now. If you end up going there, I would be really curious to learn about your experience :)

  2. @DreamChaser, thanks for the encouraging words. I agree, for anybody seeking a career in Asian Business, China definitely seeks attention. I'll definitely keep updating my progress.

  3. Very good post Chambdu.. :)

  4. Great tips!! I know Skype has become my friend recently... so it's not just good for interviews. ;)

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