The times when companies would fly out prospective candidates for numerous interviews are over and hardly anyone can afford to fly across the country for an hour-long interview. The solution is easy: Video interviews via Skype have gained popularity and have proven to be a cheap and efficient way to conduct “face to face” interviews.
One of the best things apart from not having to spend money, is the fact that you can probably wear fluffy slippers to your interview while having a whole team of lucking charms, stuffed animals and encouraging notes on your desk.
Skyping also takes some time to get used to – if you don’t video chat regularly, you should definitely practice beforehand. Chat with a friend who is willing to sit through all the worst-case scenarios and help you with decisions on interior design, lighting and outfits. Become familiar with sending files, muting the speakers or putting a call on hold.
Keep it real
When you schedule the interview, be aware of any time differences and make sure you have enough time in case the interview is taking longer or there are technical problems.
Let’s get started! Prepping for your Skype interview
- Just as you make sure that your email-address is professional, choose an appropriate Skype name and profile picture.
- Make sure you are in a quiet environment without any distractions. Clean up the visible area behind you and adjust the webcam or the screen before you start the interview. If you have to fumble around with the camera once the interview has started, the other person might think there’s an earthquake.
- Put your phone on mute, close out of email or messenger programs. If you have roommates, tell them to be quiet and put a post-it on your door.
- Even though you might have an incredibly cute pet, put him or her away. Make sure they are used to be in that other room and that they are quiet and relaxed -otherwise it might sound like you have kidnapped and locked someone in your bathroom.
- Dress accordingly and completely, from head to toe. You never know when you have to get up!
- Dress like you are a news anchor. Be sure that your don’t wear screaming colors, very tight patterns or small stripes as they will appear blurry and start flickering on screen. Too much white might also be unflattering, and it will most likely overpower everything. Test your outfit against the background: You do not want to wear a similar or clashing pattern or color. When you sit down, the first three buttons of your shirt should be visible.
- Make sure there is no bright light behind you or your face will appear too dark (and creepy).
- (Small) headphones might help with any audio feedback – you can also change the settings on your speakers to one speaker only.
- Have some water ready and have a printed and an electronic version of all your correspondence available.
Ok, the phone rings! Take a deep breath, pick up and make sure the camera works and the volume is turned up. Relax.
- The most important rule when skyping is to always look into the webcam to make eye contact – as much as you want to smile and nod at the picture on your screen, it won’t look right.
- If you want to take notes, I recommend a notepad; typing on a keyboard can be distracting and we all know that one wrong keyboard shortcut can cause a very sweaty panic attack!
- If it irritates you that you can see yourself while you talk, Skype lets you hide your picture- but only do it once you know your whole profile is visible and there is nothing embarrassing in the background. (However, you might want to be aware if the blanket that’s covering the hideous wallpaper in your roommate’s bedroom starts to fall down.)
- Find a comfortable yet professional way to sit. It might sound silly but I usually take a different chair when I Skype for work so I don’t slouch.
- Don’t wave good-bye! I mainly skype with friends and I always wave good-bye. Saying good-bye without shaking someone’s hand seems to call for some kind of gesture, doesn’t it? What about just a smile?
Congratulations! You are done!
- Do not say anything until after you hang up. Turning off the camera and hanging up the phone are two different things on Skype so be (very) careful!
- After the interview, take a deep breath. Maybe drink some of that water, change into your comfy, overly striped and colorful clothes and write a thank you note.
Oh and in case you thought that your chin looked unflattering on camera, I wouldn’t use your first paycheck to schedule plastic surgery. It’s just the camera angle. What about some new fluffy slippers and a bottle of champagne instead?