Job interviews have always been especially challenging and nerve-racking, but video conferencing programs like Skype have added new obstacles to the mix.
When you are asked to do a Skype interview, remember it won’t be too much different from an in-person interview. You still need to communicate your top skills and experiences by answering the questions truthfully like you would in person. However, after being on both the hiring and hiree side of a Skype job interview, I’ve learned a few things I’d like to pass along.
- Before the interview, ask who should call who. If you need to reach out and make the initial call, be sure you have the correct phone number.
- Find a properly lighted area. This can be more challenging than it sounds, and even if you get it right from what you can see, it might not be perfect based on the other person’s screen. Do the best you can, and have an adjustable light in the room. When the interview begins, ask the other if he/she can see you clearly and adjust the light if needed.
- Alternate eye contact between your webcam and your screen. When talking to someone through video chat, it’s easy to look only at your screen, where you can see the other person. However, on most webcams, this will make it seem like you’re always looking down. While the interviewer will probably understand why you’re always looking down, if you look mostly at the web cam rather than the screen, it will come off that you are making eye contact. It’s hard to get used to, but it shows you are more comfortable with newer technologies and how they work.
- Make sure you have a working microphone and headphones in if necessary. Just as you should test out your video connection before beginning, you should test out your incoming and outgoing audio. In this context, picture without sound wouldn’t be very helpful.
- Tell others you live or work with that you’ll be doing the Skype job interview. When I did a couple Skype job interviews from home and my mom was also at home during that time. Not only would she know to steer clear of my space at this time, but she could also help to keep the dog from barking, an interruption that, no matter how uncontrollable, could cost a job.
- Sit somewhere comfortable that will force you to stay sitting upright and looking professional. Just like in an in-person interview, avoid fidgeting or slouching. No matter how harmless, these actions will take away from the professional nature of the conversation.
Finally, to reiterate, treat a Skype job interview like you would treat an in-person interview. Come prepared to answer and ask questions about the company and the position. Always keep in mind an interview, whether in person or on your laptop, is to see if you might fit the company and vice-versa . Also, in the end, it’s about practicing. The more you use Skype and practice job interviews via webcam, the better you’ll get.
Whether acting as the interviewer or interviewee, what Skype job interview blunders have you encountered?