Nowadays it is a common practice for firms to have video/Skype interviews. This is based upon if the candidate is out of the state/country or if the interviewer works remotely from another location or is busy traveling for work. There is no need to fear this new style of interviewing. Understanding the proper etiquette for having a successful video conference is not as daunting as one might think. Here are some of our suggestions based on our experiences:
- Have a Skype/Facetime Username – I understand that not everyone uses Skype or Facetime as people often tend to use it when speaking with family members or loved ones. Even if you never intend on using one, having a username on hand shows that you are prepared when someone who is scheduling the interview asks for your Skype ID. It takes the pressure off of the firm to continuously follow up with you on getting your ID when they have a lot of other candidates to set up for other roles. Make sure you create a professional username.
- Do a Practice Run – Skype with your best friend who happens to live next door. Why not? You need the practice and they can give you an honest assessment of how you come across. They can also let you know if the connection is faulty, if the lighting works or if the user picture you put up is appropriate. These things, although may seem small, can be quite distracting to the person interviewing you.
- Nervous behavior – Much like an in-person interview, the interviewer will pick up on anything that you do from moving around in your chair to casually flipping your hair back and forth. These are tells that you are nervous, and while you can be, also remember you are in your own environment and not at an office that you have never been to. This could be used to your advantage where you can exude confidence.
- Eye Contact – You might think this is obvious and it is; however, eye contact through a computer is completely different than in person. The web cam is playing a trick on you. You look at the screen (at the interviewers face) and you think you are looking directly at them when in fact your eyes are downcast. Please make sure to look at the camera on top of your computer screen so that the person on the other end will see you looking directly at them. I know it’s tough to do this the whole time when you want to also look at their face to pick up any clues as to how it’s going. My trick is, when I am answering a question I look at the camera but when they are speaking to me I look at the screen. I noticed that this helps the continuity of the conversation. Also as a side note, with regards to looking down, remember that this is a video interview not a phone interview where you can have notes in front of you. It will definitely show if you are looking down during the video interview. I know it should be obvious but I have had this happen to me many of times. One other thing to mention is to make sure your computer is at eye level. I had a candidate who had their laptop way down and I could see up their nostrils. Not the best way to impress.
- Find your quiet place – Literally find a quiet place. Make sure you pick a time when you know that your kids can be babysat, your dog can be locked in another room or your downstairs neighbor will not be having a raging party. If there is something that is going on that you can’t help such as construction noise or a lot of fire trucks passing by please address it in the beginning. It doesn’t have to be a big deal but it’s just a common courtesy so the interview feels more at ease to ask you to repeat something if they need you to.
- Speak up – Although you may have your volume up, the interviewer may not so please make sure to keep your voice strong and loud in case they are unable to hear you on their end. Sometimes, with certain speakers, you could sound very far away, which is in no way your fault, but it helps if you can speak clearly for their sake.
- Dress to impress – It seems like an obvious thing to mention but many feel too comfortable in their surroundings and don’t bother to change. I understand that maybe the place you work now is business casual (and that’s great) but an interview is still an interview so please dress to impress. Men – throw on that suit jacket (preferably a dark blue) even if you don’t have a tie (although you still should) and ladies – make sure your hair is pulled back to not have any distracting hair flying around and please no wet hair (trust me it has happened!)
- Energy – Very much like a phone interview it’s all about the energy you exude. In person it’s so much easier to smile and laugh at a joke subtly but it’s harder to transfer that same energy through a video interview because of let’s say a delay in connection. You want to come off interested and that shows more in how you present yourself. Even if it seems like a little much sometimes it really isn’t because you are selling yourself to them. No one wants to work with someone with a seemingly bored expression on their face even if they are not bored. It’s all about keeping that smile on your face or nodding if you agree to something and showing genuine interest. That will help in the success of the time you have with your interviewer.