This year, in an effort to reach even more candidates here in the United States and all around the globe, Northwestern Law has greatly expanded its option for applicants to take part in a Skype interview. Using Skype allows students who may be far away, unable to meet with an alumnus, or can’t make it in to Chicago the opportunity to speak with one of us in the Admissions Office.
However, many applicants have never used Skype or used it in a professional setting before. As an admissions officer who has done a fair share of interviews over Skype, I’m here to give you some tips and tricks to help prepare you for a Skype interview and make sure that despite the fact that we aren’t in the same room, you are still giving us your best impression.
Check your equipment.
Before you have an interview over Skype, make sure that you know how the program works! This also includes checking your video camera, microphone, and headphones if you are using them. Be sure that your computer is charged up and that everything is in working order. Consider calling friends or family a couple of times before the interview so that you know how Skype works and can manage the software.
Pick a good location.
Try to find a quiet location where you can be alone to have the interview. When the interviews take place in crowded coffee shops or other loud places it makes it difficult for us to hear you and it’s easy for us to be distracted by the other things happening on your end of the call. Using the internet in a crowded place can also have an effect on the quality of the call, and it can cause problems for the interview.
Use the right technology.
If possible, try to use a computer to conduct the interview. When people use Skype on their phones to have the interview, the picture often bounces around and it can be difficult to have a conversation. If you need to use your phone for the interview, consider propping it up on a table or desk so that it remains stationary the entire time.
Double check the time.
While one of the benefits of Skype interviews is that we can talk from anywhere around the world, it can cause some confusion in regards to the actual time that we’re scheduled to speak. All Skype interviews are scheduled on Central Time here in Chicago, so double check how the time change affects when you actually need to be ready for the interview.
Dress the part.
Although the exchange is happening over the internet, we still consider it a professional interview and part of that is dressing appropriately. It lets our office know that you are taking the conversation seriously, that you know how to be professional, and that you’re serious in your interest about coming to Northwestern Law.
Review your resume, and be prepared to talk about it.
As was discussed in a prior post about on-campus interviews, while a full resume may look impressive, being unprepared to discuss its contents is not. Be sure to review your resume before the interview, and be prepared to talk about anything that you have listed on it. The entire point of the interview is to have a conversation with you about your accomplishments, not just to read them off of a page.
Ask questions about the program.
As members of the Admissions Office, we love to talk to prospective students about the program at Northwestern, regardless of whether the interview is on-campus or over Skype. This is your opportunity to learn more about Northwestern from people who actually work here, so if you have any questions regarding the program, student life, the culture of the class, the admissions process, or anything else that you might want to know about the law school this is your chance to ask.
Above all, relax!
The most important thing that you can do in a Skype interview is to relax and just be yourself. The whole point of the interview is that we want to get to know you as a person, and not just as words on a page. We aren’t here to intimidate you or scare you – we simply want to get to know you better, hear more in-depth about your life experiences, and learn some things about you that might not come across well in the paper application.
Keeping these helpful hints in mind will make you well prepared to speak with someone from our office in a Skype interview. We hope to speak with you soon, wherever that may be!