In the age of telecommuting, busy schedules, travel and easy access to information (and jobs) all over the country and world, Skype interviews have become much more common.
At least half a dozen people I know have recently been called upon to interview on Skype, as either a first or second step in the interview process. And they were understandably nervous. While Skype interviews are becoming more common, most of us are still used to in person or phone interviews. Plus the idea of being interviewed while in your home is also kind of strange. But Skype or video interviews are just as important as phone or in person interviews, and there are many ways to do them wrong. Here are six suggestions, to make sure you do yours right.
Dress the Part - Even though you may be tempted to only dress up your upper half - the part of you that will be visible on camera, don’t do it. While interviewing with your bottom half in pajamas or jeans may seem tempting, it will put you in a different state of mind than wearing a head to toe professional interview outfit. For tips on what to wear to a job interview, check out my post here.
Test, test, test - Make sure that you test that everything on your computer is working, the video, the sound. Find a friend or family member who you can do a test with either several days before the interview, the day of or even both. Make sure they can hear and see you. There’s nothing worse than opening up your computer and launching Skype minutes before the interview, only to find out something’s not working. In addition to testing the technical aspects, make sure to also test out your interviewer’s view during your conversation, which leads me to # 4.
Frame the shot - make sure that you test out both the lighting and the background of the shot, prior to your interview. Ideally you want your face and body to be well lit from the front (rather than from the back which will make your face harder to see) and you want the background will be minimal and sparse, so as not to distract from the main attraction: you. During your test run try out different spots in your home with different lighting and see which allows your friend or family member to see you best.
If you’re not early, then you’re late - The same way that you would never want to be late for an in person interview, don’t ever be late for a Skype interview. Even if it means sitting in front of your computer starting at it for 5 minutes, get seated and situated with your set, and logged in, at least 5-10 minutes before your actual interview.
Smile and make eye contact (but not the way you would in person) - Maybe one of the hardest parts of adjusting to a Skype interview is the technical challenge of having the screen with the person’s face where your screen is, but having the camera at the top of your computer. Looking into his or her eye means looking into the camera. Make sure to look where the camera is, in order to make eye contact throughout the interview. It may feel awkward at first so if this is something you need to practice during your test, then do it. Also, make sure to smile.
Technology - The added layer of challenge with a video interview, as I’ve already mentioned before, is technology and the possibility of malfunctions or mishaps. Be prepared by addressing any problems as soon as they happen and by suggesting a potential solution.
Make a Great First Impression - Just like you would in a real life interview, make sure to smile, make eye contact and greet the interviewer by their first name, as soon as you meet - even if it’s via Skype. A great first impression during this first virtual handshake will get your interview off to a great start. With these tips you will be sure to be well prepared for a successful conversation.
photo by Eternos Indicadores