Skype and other video interviews are common in the workplace when employers interview candidates from a distance. With budget constraints, as well as global hiring, video interviews expedite the hiring process. Many companies also use video interviews to screen or conduct first-round interviews.
The Career Center offers Skype mock interviews for those who would like to practice their interviewing skills. To make the interview as realistic as possible, the Career Center staff will ask you general questions as well as questions related to the type of job for which you are applying.
Before you begin your Skype or video interview, go to the restroom, check your appearance, and take a few deep breaths. To convey yourself in the most professional manner, consider the following points regarding technology, location, and attire:
- If you do not already have Skype installed, download the software ahead of time, so you can practice and become familiar with the features.
- Choose a professional Skype name. Your first initial and surname is a good recommendation; use a variation of that if your first choice is already taken.
- Test your Internet connection and ensure your device works well. Adjust the volume to an appropriate level. Although mobile devices are popular to use for video calls, make sure you and your device are stationary. Don't walk or drive while interviewing.
- If your web-cam is detached from your screen, center the camera so you can easily look at the monitor and the camera at the same time.
- Close all other applications on the computer to avoid distractions.
- Use headphones, if necessary.
- Remember that although the recruiter is not in the room with you, he/she can see and hear everything that happens in your room during the interview. While you are connecting to the site, be careful of off-the-record comments. Those comments could get picked up and broadcast to your interviewer.
- Select a quiet interview location where you will not be interrupted. Silence your phone, tell your roommates to be quiet (or go away), and eliminate background noises and other distractions.
- Make sure the interview space is clean and tidy. Be sure the room has ample lighting. Check to see what appears behind you, and eliminate any distracting pictures, objects, or clutter. You want the interviewer to look at you—not your room.
- Clarify time zone for the scheduled interview time.
- Sign-on to Skype ten minutes early and be prepared for the video call at any time. Then review your materials while you wait.
- Have a printout of your résumé and cover letter handy.
- Dress in complete attire—not only from the waist up. Select a professional, appropriate outfit such as a tailored suit or pressed pants/skirt with a collared, button-down shirt. It is better to be over-dressed then under-dressed for this occasion.
- Dark clothing is best suited for a video interview. Avoid fabrics with busy patterns, such as stripes and herringbone, and do not wear solid white or bright red or orange; these colors do not transmit well on screen.
- Avoid shiny, clunky jewelry, which can be distracting.
- Cover any visible tattoos.
During the interview
- Speak clearly and slowly. The sound system is powerful, so you do not need to shout. Allow the other party to finish speaking before beginning your response.
- The camera magnifies small gestures and nervous habits, so avoid necktie-flipping, hair-smoothing, paper clip-twisting, and pen-jiggling.
- Minimize your own image to avoid being distracted. Look into the camera while speaking instead of at the interviewer's image.
- Because of delays in transmitting the signals, wait a second or two to respond until you are sure the speaker's comments have cleared through the system.
- Remember to smile. Relax and be yourself. Your personality and qualifications will come across well during the video interview.
Be yourself! Employers want to get to know the best of you and your abilities. Focus on the responses you prepared without sounding rehearsed. Allow the conversation to flow, and be prepared for a few moments of awkward silence. Ask questions and listen actively. After the interview is complete, ask about the timeline for following up. This is not the time to bring up salary negotiations or benefits.
After the interview, send a thank you letter or email to the interviewer. Then take some time to reflect on what went well and what you can improve. Do not feel discouraged if the interview did not go perfectly. Learn from the experience and take those lessons to the next interview. Just getting an interview is a compliment in itself.