So you've managed to successfully complete the mountains of paperwork required, navigate the minefield of foreign bureaucracy, carefully planned your student budget and mastered (or just started) the language of your chosen country. Now, just one thing stands in the way of your perfect foreign study program. The dreaded admissions interview.
Now, for most of us who don't own a private jet or an unlimited bank account, heading to your chosen location simply to attend an interview may be out of the question. However, thanks to the wonder of modern technology, now the interview can come to you.
Skype interviews are becoming increasingly prevalent in our globalised world and presenting yourself in the correct manner is equally important in the virtual realm as it is in "real life”. Here then, we take a look at five important things to remember when Skyping your way to graduate success.
Check your connection
And then check it again. There's nothing worse than waiting for that all-important call only to find you've been offline for the past hour. It may sound simple but it happens all the time. Home connections are usually best but if you must use an internet café or something similar, ensure you email your prospective interviewer to let them know that you are at the mercy of a sub-standard dial up connection in the back of a pool hall.
Beautiful backdrops and serene settings
Whilst that giant, half-naked poster of your favourite pin up boy/girl may have seemed like a good idea when you were younger, it's certainly not going to create the right impression during an interview. Think about what your camera sees and try to keep your surroundings simple and clutter free. That is unless you are applying for a degree in Beyonce or Harry Potter studies, in which case, "ExpectoPatronum” or something.
Dress for success
Whilst it may be very tempting to conduct your interview in those baggy sweatpants and breakfast stained vest, it really doesn't send out the right impression – however pixelated that impression may become. Here the same rules apply as to a normal interview and you should be dressing to impress rather than dressing like you just crawled out of bed. Take a look at these tips for impressive interview attire and stock your wardrobe with anything you may be missing.
Practice makes perfect
Practice your technique with a friend. The good news is they don't even have to be in the same room as you and you'll get a real feel for the limitations of both your technology and your interview technique. This way you'll be fully prepared for any glitches, both virtual and verbal, during the real thing and you'll come across like a pro.
Notes are acceptable in this exam
As long as you're not covering your laptop's camera with post-its, and as long as you can maintain a decent amount of eye contact with your interviewer, then it pays to make use of notes to help you along the way. Make simple bullet points that aren't too distracting and ensure you're not rifling through your papers like some forgotten news anchor on a failing network.
Other things to remember are pretty much in line with standard interview technique and there are plenty of sites that will help you along the way. Oh, just one more thing before you head out/in to your virtual interview – make sure all your other computer software is turned off before you begin. That way you'll avoid any foul mouthed tirades from Grand Theft Auto shocking your interviewer into ringing off.