To save on interviewing costs, companies are turning to their computers instead of phones and offices to conduct interviews, including using programs like Skype to conduct long-distance or even international initial interviews.

 

Video interviewing used to be complicated, with special equipment and software needed to interview for employment via video. That’s not the case for today’s job seeker. Thanks to Skype, the online phone and video internet service, video interviewing is moving into the mainstream.

 

For candidates for employment, it’s easy to interview right from home. It saves on travel time and video interviewing, if you prepare in advance, it can be less stressful than interviewing in person. The following are some tips that can be used to ensure a successful Skype interview.

 

Be familiar with the technology of Skype

Today many companies around the world are using Skype as a tool to connect. Video is the preferred tool of many employers. Spend time with Skype prior to the interview. Don’t begin your practice with your first job interview. Practice with Skype before the interview. Play with it. Learn how it works and what it can do. This way you will increase your familiarity with Skype and how to make it work best for you. Your job interview is one time you can’t afford to wing it. Practice diligently.

 

Dress appropriately

Dress according to the culture and how a job candidate should appear. This is not the time for tank tops or beachwear. Also, dress from head to toe. Many think that since they’ll be on camera they don’t have to dress up top and bottom. He cautions that you never know when you might have to stand up during the interview. If that happens, you don’t want the potential employer to see that you’re wearing cut-offs with business attire on top!

 

Choose your colours wisely

Certain colours like many shades of blue – royal, navy, sky blue – look great on video while others like reds and hot colours like magenta can be too bright. Patterns like small dots or stripes can be less attractive than solids, so think about a colour to wear that is easy on the eye and a pattern that won’t be distracting to your viewer.

 

Hair and Make-Up

The all-new Skype’s high-quality video technology means you’ll need to take extra care with how you look. You’ll want to use some hair product that will keep flyaways tamed and you may want to style your hair so it is off your face and won’t require constant adjusting. Make-up, too, is important. Remember, higher quality video means much more detail is going to be visible on screen.

 

Smile and Focus

One of the easiest rules to remember when interacting with anyone is simply to smile. There is nothing more engaging than smiling throughout your call with a friendly expression. Also important is to make direct eye contact: look into the camera on a regular basis versus looking at the picture of the person interviewing you. When you scan the room or look away from the camera, you might appear untrustworthy or indifferent. The person with whom you are speaking deserves your full attention so make sure to stay focused and friendly.

 

Be prepared — this is a real interview

Just because the interview is done over Skype doesn’t mean it isn’t serious business. You need to approach it with all the seriousness and preparation you would give to a live, in-person meeting.

 

Background Check

While you are the focus of the call and the video, remember that there will be background material that the viewer will see. Think about how your webcam is set up and what can be detected behind you. Are you sitting so that a blank wall is behind you or is there a cluttered book shelf or large painting behind you?

 

Lighting

Make sure the lighting is good. One of the most important features of video is lighting. If necessary, get a lamp that can be in front of you (halogen lamps often work well for this).

 

Script 

Sometimes it is easier to have a few notes written down about what you’d like to talk about or topics that you want to discuss during your call. It’s easy that way to scan your notes without losing direct contact with your caller or having long silences during your interaction. Also, keep an index card or notebook as well as a pen handy so you can jot down thoughts for additional comments you’d like to add during the conversation.

 

Additional Tips:

It should be pretty obvious, but make sure that you do the Skype interview in a home office or other professional looking setting. Don’t try to squeeze in an interview at the coffee shop or on your iPhone.

If you are going to use the camera on your laptop, raise your laptop so that the camera is at the same level as your face. With the camera looking “up at you” your picture will be presented at a distracting angle to the viewer.

The tips touch on lighting and having a high speed wired connection, but you should also make sure your webcam is high quality. Many older and budget notebooks have bare bones webcams that don’t deliver a very flattering look to the interviewer on the other end. Pick up an HD Webcam to make sure you look great.

If you don’t have good microphone, you may want to pair a Bluetooth headset with your computer for better audio. If in doubt, make a few test calls to see what the recipient thinks about your sound quality.

Finally, remember that the interviewer can see you and on video interviews it is easy to tell if someone is not paying attention. It can be tempting to check your Facebook or email during a long question, but be aware that it is very obvious.

 

– Alison Doyle, Jamie Sorcher, Christa Foley, Josh Smith