As our digital ecosystem continues to progress, more and more employers are beginning to integrate new technology into their everyday workflow. Videoconferencing and interviews via channels like Skype or FaceTime are becoming increasingly popular because they can provide more insight for an employer regarding whether or not a candidate is a good fit for the role.
Using Skype for an interview is also a great resource for employers who are looking to hire remote or international workers that would otherwise require costly airline, train, or lodging fees.
With these modern communication platforms comes a whole new set of guidelines surrounding proper etiquette and how to successfully navigate a video interview. As an applicant, you may or may not have had experience using Skype to facilitate the interview process. Here are some of the essentials for exuding confidence and nailing your virtual interview.
Practice Makes PerfectSetting aside some time to practice beforehand, is a key ingredient to feeling truly prepared on your big day. If this is your first face-to-face video conference with an employer, you definitely don’t want your Skype interview to feel like a science experiment. Familiarize yourself with the software you’ll be using, spend time perfecting your body language, and rehearse what you plan on saying with a friend or family member.
Wrinkled Clothing Is Not the Latest Fashion Trend
As tempting as it may be, a Skype interview does not mean business on top, party on the bottom – a.k.a. a suit jacket or blouse paired with pajama pants. Your attire should mirror what you would wear for an in-person interview - not only from a professional standpoint, but to help you get in the right mindset for the task at hand.
Scrap the wrinkly dress shirt, t-shirt, messy hair, or outfit that would be considered inappropriate in the workplace and opt for business professional apparel instead. Remember, you only have one opportunity to make a memorable first impression.
Choose an Appropriate Username
The days of AOL Instant Messenger and screen names like XOSugarBabyXO or ChillinLikeAVillian1234 are long gone when it comes to the workplace. When accessing Skype for the first time, you’ll be prompted to create a username.
While nostalgia may strike, it’s important to remember that you are using this account for professional purposes. Try using your first and last name or a similar variation of the two. If you already have an existing account that you use to socialize with friends, make sure your profile picture and username are office appropriate.
Iron out Any Technical Issues
Technology-related hiccups are a big no-no. Recruiters and hiring managers have a busy schedule and do not have the time to be placed on hold while you struggle to resolve a system error. Your computer should be fully charged with the microphone and camera functioning properly. This is where practicing with family or a friend comes in handy, as it will help rectify any technical issues that may arise before the actual interview. Also, keep in mind that you want to choose a location where the wifi reception is strong.
Evoke Zen-Like Concentration
When conducting your Skype interview, you should choose an area that is quiet and free from distractions. While your children and puppy are certainly adorable, your interviewer wants to hear the sound of your voice without a barking German Shepard in the background. The video interview should be noise free and in an environment where communication won’t be disrupted. Your cell phone, as well as any music or television programs, should be switched off for the duration of the interview.
Fidget-Free Is the Way to Be
Treat your Skype interview as if it were an in-person meeting. Slouching, chewing gum, playing with your hair, or biting on a pen all interfere with the flow of the interview and can keep you from forging a connection with your interviewer. Also, remove dreaded filler words such as ‘um’ or ‘like’ from your vocabulary because you want to come across as self-assured and speak with conviction.
When interacting with your interviewer through a camera, it’s easy to forget to make eye contact by looking at the camera. Many people will automatically look at their computer screen and the interviewer can interpret that as a fear of making direct eye contact.
Concluding the Skype Call
At the end of the video call, remember to thank the interviewer for their time and consideration. Also, ask about next steps to demonstrate your continued interest in moving the process forward. Perhaps the most important piece of advice for making an impression is following up with an e-mail or handwritten note to thank your interviewer.
You want to ensure that your conversation was memorable and that the interviewer will remember you as they continue through interviews with other candidates. If you choose to send a thank you note, you must proofread your work. You can even have a friend or family member look it over to confirm there are no typos – which would send your resume on a one-way trip to the rejection pile.
The Winning Call
When participating in a Skype interview, always be on time and prepared to answer any questions the interviewer may throw your way. Some interviewers decide to leave their camera turned off – don’t let this deter you from delivering a winning performance. Have your resume or any related portfolio items readily available to reference or view during the call. Take a deep breath, follow these tips, and get ready to ace your video interview!
Interested in learning more about how you can nail your next job interview?