Preparing for a video interview? Here are 8 essential tips for better Skype interviews:
1) Phone First and Stay Professional. Sometimes the video platform requests don’t go through right away and the sender will wonder why the other hasn’t accepted yet. Eliminate this frustration by starting on the phone. And use your own name as your screen name. If your screen name is “drugsRcool” or “tequilaworm”, you need to change that right away. I hear people tell me, “But I really like my screen name, it’s the one I’ve always used!” My question in return is, what’s more important? Is showing your clever screen name to someone you have never met before (and will likely never meet again) more important than giving yourself a better chance of landing the job? There is no reason to give them something to reject you for that has nothing to do with your skills as a professional.
2) Look Into The Camera. Don’t fixate on yourself, or even the person you are talking to, instead look at the camera. Looking at the screen gives the impression you are not making eye contact with the interviewer on the other end. When the interview starts, take a moment to make sure you look fine on the screen, then look into the camera.
3) Control Your Environment. Ensure the area seen by the camera is presentable. No, the Budweiser lampshade behind you is NOT appropriate! A messy desk (or a clean desk) makes a statement about you that will be evaluated by the interviewer. We suggest that you Skype call a friend in advance to get their opinion of your space. This test call also gives you a chance to test your video connection, ensuring a good picture, lighting and sound.
4) Eliminate Distractions. You should be the only person, or pet, in view of the camera. Close the pets out of the room, and let the people in your life know what’s happening, and insist they stay at the opposite side of the house/apartment. It’s understandable that distractions cannot always be completely eliminated, and if someone or something pops into view, just remember that how you react to the situation will be evaluated! React calmly, politely, and in a friendly manner to resolve the problem, and then get back on task.
5) Keep Your Hands In View. It’s important the camera has a good view of your head and shoulders, but also of your hands! Studies have shown that people are more apt to trust you if they can see your hands. At its roots, human beings have established trust through gestures which display empty hands; the handshake, the salute, the wave, are gestures that were all created to communicate “friend”, not “foe”. While they may not be consciously thinking, “I can’t see their hands, I can’t trust this person,” it will be affecting their instincts about you as a fellow human being.
At the very least, not seeing your hands can be a mental distraction for the interviewers. If your shoulders are moving, but your hands are not in view, what are you doing? Are you multitasking while interviewing? So show them your hands, and just like an in-person interview, pay attention to what you are doing with them. Are you fidgety and clicking your pen, showing nerves, or are you relaxed with your hands resting on the desk?
6) Dress Appropriately. Unless you hear otherwise, dress in business formal attire. It may seem like a good idea to wear a formal top, and shorts below where you think the camera might not see it, but if you have to stand up suddenly for any reason, you’re busted! Dress the part 100 percent… just like you are going into a real interview, which this is! It’s best to wear darker colors with accents of color; avoid stripes or tightly woven patterns such as hounds tooth because they’re not easy on the eye in a computer screen.
7) Record It, and Do Not Forget The Thank You Note. Recording your interview is something you cannot typically do in a normal interview, but if you’re on your computer you can use various handy software tools to record your call. Doing so, you can review your interview later to evaluate and learn from it. (Be sure it is legal in your state to do so. If it’s not, just tell them at the start of the interview “I’m recording this call just for my own personal interview improvement purposes.”) Another advantage of the video interview is that you received an invitation to join via email ahead of time, which means you can easily send them your thank you note. Once the call is finished, just send them a message explaining how much you appreciate the time they spent with you and why you are interested in the position.
8) Say Cheese! Remember, you’re on camera. Smile! Nothing gives a warmer, more likable impression than a sincere smile. Take advantage of this opportunity to make a great impression.
All the other factors of Selling Yourself during an interview still need to be factored in, such as how you answer questions about your greatest weakness and where you see yourself 5 years from now. You can find tactics to answer those questions in our Q&A Tactics lesson as part of our Strategic Interviewing Course in SpeedUpMyJobSearch.com.