More companies are starting to embrace online job interviews.
Recruiters are getting busier. Economic roller coasters and constant corporate restructuring is the new norm. They need to get more efficient with their hiring process by screening candidates online.
Social distancing during times of crisis defaults new hires through Skype interviews.
But the thought of a Skype interview can sometimes be terrifying.
You worry about the technology. You stress about your appearance on camera. There are so many “What ifs” to think about.
Well what if I told you a Skype interview can actually benefit your candidacy. What if you could use the online environment to actually improve your candidacy.
In this post, we’re going to dive into how you can utilize both the technology and environment to ace that Skype interview to get you the job you want.
Benefits Of a Skype Interview
#1 You Won’t Be Late
You don’t have to worry about traffic, parking or finding the location. It’s never been easier to be punctual.
#2 Record The Interview
You can use Skype to record the conversation.
Review the recording and take note of any points of interest during the conversation.
So that you can mention those specific details in the follow up note to the manager after the interview (a must-do activity).
You have peace of mind that nothing will be left out, and you don’t have to rely too heavily on manual note taking during the interview.
Plus you can be your own critique and evaluate your own performance at the interview.
#3 Screen Share
If you know how to skillfully inject a show-and-tell moment in the interview without seeming too intrusive, you can share your screen and show off your work digitally.
Maybe it’s a great presentation, or an online cloud based system you designed.
#4 Skype Chat
If screen sharing will be too intrusive, you can use the chat section to copy past a link.
It could be a presentation you may have uploaded to slideshare.net or the link to an online project.
Avoid Using Your Phone
The camera on your phone won’t be as powerful as a external USB camera from your desktop or your laptop camera (depending on the models of course).
More importantly, the phone camera will be bouncing around in your hand, which can be very distracting to the manager.
If you must use your phone, make sure you put your phone on “Do Not Disturb Mode” or whatever settings are required to block notifications and calls.
Also, prop your phone on a phone stand so that the video remains still to the manager on the other side.
Mic and Headset
Don’t rely on the built in mic/speaker. You risk not coming through clearly on the other side, and the ambient sound of the room may cause an echo.
Get a small headset/mic similar to the free ones you get with an iPhone. Large headsets provide better audio quality for sure, but they may obstruct your face.
A headset will make sure you catch every word the manager says without distant interrupting noise from your surrounding environment. (Kids and pets)
Don’t forget to test the mic and headset in the audio settings of Skype before the interview.
Optimize Your Internet Connection and Software
Prep your tech an hour before the interview.
Reboot your modem before the call to clean out any tech bugs. Good ol’ off-and-on.
If possible, get a wired connection directly to your modem. Cable connection is always more reliable than wireless.
If cable is not possible, make sure you have a strong wireless signal strength.
Tell the family to hold off on all streaming activity. Netflix and YouTube can wait until after your interview is finished.
Launch Skype or whichever online software you’re using for your interview at least 30 min before the call. Make sure you install the latest version if prompted to do so in advance as it may take a couple of minutes.
You don’t want to be late for your call because of a software update.
Camera, Positioning and Lighting
Make sure your camera is positioned as close to your eye level as possible. You don’t want the manager to be staring at your chin.
Try and capture head to belly, so your hands can be seen – it plays a big part in your body language during the interview.
Avoid having a window with sunlight pouring in behind you. You’ll appear dark.
Either ways, try and get a lamp and shine it on your face from behind the camera, if the lighting in your room is inadequate. Just be careful it doesn’t cause a glare on your spectacles if you wear one.
Or face the window if you can. Natural light works best.
So now that we got most of the technology preparation out of the way, let’s move on to the most important subject of the interview.
Make sure you dress the part. A Skype interview is not an excuse to dress down.
Dress up like you would for an in-person interview, and pay special attention to the fact that solid colours work best on screen. Avoid clothing designs with heavy patters on it.
Make sure your Skype profile pic is professional. This is the first image of you the hiring manager may see when they add your profile to Skype.
Replace that cropped picture of you at the beach party with a professional headshot. If you’re an active job seeker, you’ve hopefully taken the trouble of getting a professional headshot for your LinkedIn profile.
Make sure you clean up any clutter in the background of your room/home office.
You can also use Skype’s “Blur Background” feature.
During The Interview
Make sure to practice looking directly into the camera lens during the interview. In this way, the manager sees that you are looking right at them.
This can be challenging as we are so used to looking at people’s faces when speaking.
One expert suggested printing a picture of the person interviewing you (you can grab their profile pic from LinkedIn) and sticking it behind your camera.
What ever helps!
This is another benefit of Skype interviews. You can cheat!
Have sticky notes of all your accomplishments and success stories stuck around behind the screen on the wall.
Just be mindful not to make it obvious you are constantly staring or searching for it. You can only get away with occasional glances.
Be mindful to occasionally nod when the manager or recruiter is speaking. Interject with a “OK” or “Uh-huh” where approporiate.
Not only does this show that you are paying attention, it also affirms that your image is not frozen on screen due to a tech glitch.
Acknowledge Tech Glitches Up Front
Somewhere at the start of the interview, ask the following question:
“In case there are technical difficulties, is there a phone number I can contact you on or do you prefer to reschedule over email?”
This not only shows professional character, it also leaves the choice up to the manager. They may not be comfortable exposing their personal number, so you considerately provide the option of email.
They’ll appreciate your proactiveness to the circumstances. Way to go managing risk!
Ace That Interview
During challenging times such as a pandemic crisis where social distancing must be practiced, it’s important to be comfortable in front of the camera.
As you’ve seen, a Skype interview has several benefits, if you leverage them effectively.
If you’ve covered these technical tips, you can focus on the most important part of the interview – preparing to speak to your skills and experience that solves the hiring managers problems.
Stick those skills, experience and stories on post-its behind your screen. And You’ll be a lot more confident logging into that interview.
You’ll count yourself lucky that you got that job through a Skype Interview.