Skype interviews are popular because they save time, avoid travel and allow recruiters to get in touch with ideal candidates all over the world. For remote positions, they make the most sense, as this is how the employee would engage with their manager on a daily basis anyways. Unfortunately, so many people are uncomfortable seeing themselves on video and actually dread a Skype interview.
The most important thing to remember is that a Skype interview is essentially the same as any other interview. You’re talking to someone about a position, answering questions and getting to know more about a company. So, if you have a video interview coming up soon, first - take a breath, you’re going to be ok! Second, here a 5 simple tips to master a Skype job interview.
Give Yourself Time for Technical Troubleshooting
Don’t wait until 5 minutes before the call to log in. Take the time to get set up beforehand. Simple things like checking the lighting, your camera and speakers will be paramount in setting the tone for your interview. Make sure all your other tabs and programs are turned off. There’s nothing more awkward than encountering technical difficulties when your interviewer calls. Talk about getting off on the wrong foot! Plus, the nerve-racking experience of fumbling with your settings or microphone might negatively impact the rest of your interview as well.
If something does happen - don’t panic! Maintaining your cool and fixing whatever technical issue you might encounter will prove to the interview that you are professional under pressure and have problem-solving skills.
Check Your Surroundings
When you’re in a video interview, you must pay attention to what’s going on around you. Before the interview, make sure that the background is clean, plain and bright. Generally, a white or light-coloured wall is best. Light should be natural and NEVER directly behind you, as this will make your face harder to see. To avoid distractions, make sure your phone is turned off and disable any other notifications. Use a private room in your home (or office) to ensure that you will have no distractions like your door bell or interruptions from your children, pet or spouse.
Dress for Success
“I love working from home because I don’t have to wear pants.” - You might have heard this before. While it is true for many, I find that if you want to feel confident and successful, it is best to dress the part. I recommend the usual rules of when you dress for an interview, while also being mindful of how they will present on screen. Avoid shiny or noisy accessories, as they might get picked up by the mic and chose colours that will stand out well from your background. Your outfit should be industry / position appropriate, and make you feel empowered and ready to rock the interview.
Use “Cheat Sheets”
One advantage that Skype, video or telephone interviews have over others is that you have the ability to take notes and have references near by. Just remember to maintain eye contact with the interviewer and use the notes as PROMPTS only. Never read from the page - you won’t be fooling anyone.
Ultimately, even though a Skype interview might feel the furthest thing from natural, you need to treat it like any other interview. Be yourself, smile, make eye-contact and present yourself in the best way you can. Be conscious of your body language and speak clearly. Most hiring managers are understanding that video conferencing may feel a little strange to those who aren’t used to it, but you still need to be on your A-game.
As an HR professional, I always prefer meeting a candidate in person whenever possible. However, sometimes distance and / or time will get in the way. Tell me about your best experience during a Skype interview! What do you think made it work? Let me know in the comments.
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