Guest post by Kate Croston - Skype seems to be the answer for a lot of companies looking to save money on flying job candidates out for interviews. Why not? It’s fast, easy and simple. It’s almost the same thing but without the actual physical nervous handshake.
Like any first interview, my first Skype interview I was nervous. But this time I was really, really nervous. I now had to worry about not only if my resume was up to the standards and if my answers what they were looking for, I was in a full panic on how I would look on camera. Like everyone in my family we tend to have heavy and dark circles under eyes and home videos are proof that being in the front of the camera should never be an option. I have never been a great phone talker and tend interrupt and do the whole ‘go ahead sorry’ at least 4 times per call. Would it be the same? I also was curious if the interview would be more casual because the interview was being done over the computer camera.
So I prepared the best I could, calmed myself down and bit the bullet. I learned a few things that I should and should have not done. I also compared notes to a close friend who uses Skype as his recruiting interview source. Here are a few things to consider before your next Skype interview:
What’s behind me?
Your goal of this Skype interview is to have the interviewer focus on you and not the bad wall paint job behind you. Oddly enough, your background could hurt or help you. Avoid sitting in front of family photos, posters with writing, busy (or ugly) wall paper. You don’t want any distractions. Avoid stark white walls, that can actual annoy your interviewers eyes after staring at the computer screen to long. Try sitting in front of a nice book shelf or an office like window. Remember in this, less is more!
Have you ever tried reading a book in dim light or you know that weird feeling you get when you have been sitting in front of the computer too long? Your eyes start to feel like they are bulging out and your head starts to hurt. Avoid bright florescent lights directly over your head. This can cause you to look washed out or create an odd shadow on your face. Stick to soft lights, like natural light from a window or a table lamp near placed behind the computer to illuminate your face.
What should I wear?
Yes. You have to wear pants. Just because you are at home and you they will not see your chest and down. Just wear the pants, it won’t hurt you. Wear what you would wear to an interview if you were going to see them in person. Dress professionally. Again simple is more, no crazy colors or patterns. A tip for the ladies: Log on to Skype beforehand to determine how much makeup you may need. Sometimes computer cameras can make you seem tired looking or like a clown. Not everyone likes clowns.
Um… do I look at the camera?
Yes. Look at the camera at the top of your computer screen. Your goal of the interview is to make it seem like you are there in person. Even though your first and natural reaction is to look at yourself as you talk, don’t. It may feel odd but practice it a few times before the interview and you will get used it.
Practice makes perfect!
Skype with a friend, neighbor or family member. Have them comment on your look, volume, background and lighting. Make sure all the things check out and listen to their criticism. If you want, have them ask you a few questions while you are at it. A little practice never hurt anyone.
So now you are set and better prepared than I was. Remember these few tips and prepare like you would for any other interview in office. Don’t forget to smile! Good luck!