How to excel in a virtual interview
In today's global workplace more and more employers are opting for the Skype, Live Messenger or video interview. These interviews cut down on travel expenses, save on fuel (making it better for the environment) and provide the employer with a much quicker and easier way to find the perfect person for the position without the time consuming face-to-face interview process.
Following are some tips on how to prepare and ultimately excel in a Skype interview:
An interview is an interview
Whether you are being interviewed on Skype, over the phone or in person, all the general rules of a job interview apply. Research the company, read the job description thoroughly, know your resume inside out and have a few answers for common interview questions prepared. Just because you are not meeting the interviewer in the flesh doesn't mean any less preparation is involved.
Dress for the occasion
Key to a video interview is making sure you look presentable. You might feel silly sitting at home wearing a suit and talking to a computer, but it will make all the difference. Not only will the interviewer think you look great and will already be picturing you in his/her workplace, it will help you to mentally prepare and get into a professional mode of thinking.
Choose your Colors Wisely
It’s best to wear neutral, solid colors (shades of black, blue or grey are best) because these colors look the best on video and don’t create any distractions for your interviewer. Also, try to stay away from colors that match your skin and hair tones, plaids and stripes that look overly busy on video, and women in particular should leave the glittery jewelry off-camera.
Clean up your room
Your surroundings can be just as important as your personal presentation. Whether the interview is being conducted from your home or an office environment, the interviewer does not want to see you sitting in front of a pile of junk. Clean up the room as you don't want anything in the background to distract the interviewer from what you have to say.
Keep the noise down
Finding a quiet place to do the interview is vital as the microphone picks up more background noise than you might think. Dogs barking, children crying, mobile phones or music are not welcome distractions when an interviewer is trying to determine whether you will be suitable for a job. Nor does it look good if you have people walking in and out of the room – if need be, make yourself a 'do not disturb' sign and stick it on the door.
Get the technology right
Make sure you create a professional username in Skype.
Five minutes before the video interview is not a good time to realize that your internet is down, Skype isn't working, or your pet has chewed through the microphone cord. Not only does this reflect badly on your organizational skills, it will cost the interviewer precious time as they will most likely have to reschedule. Allow plenty of time before the interview to test all equipment.
If possible, try to Skype a friend beforehand and get them to give you some feedback. Can you see/hear them? Can they see/hear you? Is the picture clear? Is the lighting OK? Is there much background noise? You may even want to record yourself before the interview answering some imaginary questions to practice and make sure everything is working.
Watch out for the delay
With all but the very best web-based interview connections, there is a slight transmission delay when using the video functionality. It’s important to be aware of this delay and to pause to ensure that your interviewer has finished speaking before you speak.
Some Final Reminders
The golden rule with a Skype interview is to treat it like any other face-to-face meeting. There is a real person on the other end of the call, so treat them like one. Smiling is a big one - this makes you look positive, confident and enthusiastic about the job you are applying for.
Try to make eye contact: look straight into the camera when you are talking, as this will make the interviewer feel as if you are speaking directly to them, despite your being remote.
Don't shout, but do speak loudly and clearly. Sometimes with video calls there may be a delay with the picture so a clear speaking voice is extremely important.
But most of all, relax. By the time you have done your research, know your stuff and look great, all you have to do now is work the camera.