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Will Skype be the new MBA interview standard?

Expartus Will Skype be the new MBA interview standard?A few months ago I came across an interesting statement by the director of admissions at HBS, Dee Leopold, “Round 3 interviews will be conducted here on campus, on the West Coast, and via Skype for selected candidates.”

Reading this comment got me thinking about the future of the MBA interview landscape for applicants. Some changes have been occurring regarding interviews.

First schools didn’t interview their entire class. Then many began to (think HBS). Then Schools that had open interview policies (meaning that anyone could request for an interview) then switched to become Invite Only schools (think Chicago Booth School).

Now schools are beginning to rely on phone interviews as part of their evaluation process.

Thanks to Skype, schools are now able to see the facial expressions and the non-verbal communication of candidates they are interviewing.

In a tough economy where schools have to tighten their belts when considering their travel budget, Skype is proving a very practical tool in the admissions process.

It offers the opportunity for schools to save lots of money while ensuring that the applicants who are unable to come for a campus visit remain on equal footing with those  who are interviewing face to face with the admissions board.

Here are some things to consider when interviewing via Skype:

1) Start with an appropriate Skype name. If you have a name that would call to question your judgement, make sure to open a new account or change your Skype name and choose something more in line with the brand you wish to communicate to the admission board.

2) Be on your “A-game”. Just as you would be well-prepared for a face to face MBA interview with an admissions board member, you should come to the Skype interview equally prepared. Make sure to enunciate your words.

Pace yourself and don’t rush through your responses. Take advantage of the live video which shows you yourself while you are skyping.

Be aware of the impression you are making during your MBA interview. Looking around the room and not into the camera will do little to help you build rapport with your interviewer.

3) Turn off all distractions! That includes email notifications, cell phones, etc.

4) Be aware of the surrounding where you have your computer. Avoid taking the interview in a room that is cluttered or too dark.

The former will signal your disorganization and the latter would make it hard to see your facial expressions.

5) Practice and do a trial run to make sure all technical issues are worked through.

If your headset isn’t really good, consider buying a really good one or borrowing one from a friend. Logitech makes great Skype head phones.

If you have an iPad, simply use your Apple earphones that you use for calls. The sound quality with the Ipad is great.

6) Test out the new Skype feature that allows you to tape yourself. See how you do and tweak anything that needs to be changed ahead of the interview.

I wish you great success as you go through your MBA admissions interviews.

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