Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Skype Interview

I'm prepping for my very first Skype interview. I'm actually kind of excited. Skype interviews are the greatest thing to happen to job seekers in a long time. They can go a long way in overcoming the disadvantages of looking for a job in a different geographical area. Since a lot of human communication is non-verbal (experts disagree on how much), adding a visual element to a long-distance interview potentially provides an advantage over written and phone communication methods.

I do have a little bit of concern about skyping. A live video feed is similar to a snapshot, in that it can enable you to "crop out" distractions. On the other hand, being "boxed in" on camera can put the focus on something that distracts and distances interviewers, such as a hair twirling habit. Do I twirl my hair? I don't think so, but we all have habits, and sometimes we aren't very aware of them. Watch a few minutes of one of those cable TV shows that put pundits in "talking head" boxes and you will see what I mean. Some people come across as likeable and believable regardless of the content of their message, while others are instantly off-putting. Try watching it with the sound off, and then turn the sound on and close your eyes, and you will see what I mean. Communication is a combination of sight, sound and content.

There are a lot of sources of advice for Skype interviews online. I thought this brief video on was particularly valuable. The main obstacle to successful Skype interviewing for the novice can be mastering the technology itself. I'm planning to practice getting on to Skype prior to my interview. I will update you as to how the interview went.
Update: The actual Skyping went well but I was unprepared for a question about leaving my previous position that came up because this committee had received an earlier version of my Profile from their Conference office. I had informed them of my change in status but they forgot. Even though it was down to just a few applicants, it was wrong of me to expect the committee members to all remember every little detail about me. Lesson learned. I ultimately did not get the job but that was mostly because their theology tended to be much more conservative than mine. I have had no conflicts with church participants and members whose theology differed from mine, but that has always been in a context of a church with theological diversity so it might be different in a more homogeneous environment.
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