Q: I just found out my interview will be over Skype. Do you have any suggestions to help me prepare?
A: In many ways, interviews conducted over Skype, or other video technology, are just like regular job interviews. My colleague provides some good advice for general interview preparation in this earlier blog post.
But, of course, using video technology introduces some new considerations, such as:
Interacting with video – If you’re not a TV or movie actor it may not feel natural to look into a camera for an entire interview and it can be very tempting to look at the interviewer’s image onscreen (or the small one of yourself to check your appearance). However, it’s important to remember to look at the camera – and not your screen – during the interview.
The camera and microphone are on – With a video interview the camera will likely be focused on your upper body and face and, therefore, so will the interviewer. He/she won’t have the context of a whole room to look at, as they would if you were meeting together in an office. Any non-verbal cues, expressions or movements will be exacerbated because of this. Also, any nearby noises – such as shuffling papers or nervous tapping – will also sound louder because the microphone is focused on you.
Your surroundings will also be captured on film – Just as you would prepare for a phone interview, I recommend finding a private, quiet spot for the video interview. Consider your background too: a plain background is best.
Dress for success – While some interview candidates might be tempted to take advantage of the camera’s limited range and wear casual pants for a video interview, I recommend dressing as you would for a regular interview. You’ll feel more pulled together and ready to deliver your “A-Game” if you’re dressed for the part.
Check the equipment before the interview – We all have experienced technical problems and know that they happen when we least appreciate them. To improve your chances of having a smooth interview, set up the camera and do a practice video conference call with a friend or family member. Check the volume, the lighting and other settings. I recommend using a cable or hard wire connection (not a wireless one if you can help it) to get the strongest Internet connection.
Make sure your image is professional – Sometimes the little things make a big difference. If you’re using an email address, screen name or Skype profile name that you created years ago, consider whether it will hurt your professional image, e.g. a profile name like “Sk8tR GRL” could give an employer the wrong impression. Creating professional accounts are free and easy to do.
About the Recruiter
Lauren O’Brien is a five year veteran of the staffing industry. Lauren is the Group Manager of a team that services one of PSG’s largest and most valued clients. Lauren and her team specialize in direct hire and temporary placement of financial services and administrative professionals.