What can I do to maximize my success on a video interview?
Skype, FaceTime, Hangouts, ooVoo … these are just a few of the dozens of video-conferencing apps available to us all. Jobseekers are well advised to be familiar with these applications as they are becoming more frequently used to facilitate interviews.
Just as you would dress to impress for an in-person interview, video interviews require the same attention to detail. Maybe even a bit more. Follow these tips to make sure your Skype interview experience works in your best interest.
1) Camera position: Make sure that your face fills most of the screen and that your eyes are, at least, above the halfway mark in your window. You do not want to appear as a tiny head floating at the bottom of the screen.
2) Eye contact: As unnatural as it feels, work to look directly into your device’s camera. This will create the impression that you are looking directly into the eyes of your interviewer. Now, this is not always possible, and you do not need to gaze intently into the eyes of the other person on the line for an entire interview, but be cognizant of the connection you can make by simply looking into the camera.
3) Pay attention to the background: Make sure that whatever is in the background of your video screen is non-distracting and professional. A solid color wall works great. Sitting in front of an open window with sunlight streaming in will not work for you. A messy background sends the wrong impression. Double check and make sure everything is clutter-free behind you.
4) Don’t type during your interview: The sounds of your fingers hitting the keyboard are amplified tremendously to the people on the other end of the interview. It’s terribly distracting and an absolute no-go. Take notes with a pen and paper, and inform the other party that you will be doing so.
5) Technical difficulties are a fact of life: Calls get dropped, microphones start squealing, the picture gets fuzzy … all of these (and more) are bound to happen at some point in your Skype experience. These are unavoidable. Plan as best you can for these eventualities by ensuring your internet connection is reliable and that your microphone settings are correct. Don’t stress if a glitch interferes with your interview. Stay calm and work to reconnect the call ASAP. Send an email if you get disconnected stating that you are working to reestablish the call.
6) Rehearse! Please, for everyone’s sake – connect with a friend over Skype in advance of your interview. Test your camera position and other settings. Have your friend criticize your background. Practice a few answers. Just please; take some time to test all of this technology out before your interview.
Video-conferencing is here to stay for jobseekers. Embrace this technology and prepare appropriately for your interviews. Skype, and related applications, convey so much more than a simple telephone call. Take some time and follow these rules to help you make the best first impression.