Video interviews are being increasingly seen as a more efficient and cost-effective way to vet potential new employees – and with global hiring also becoming more commonplace, it’s worth understanding how best to maximise your chances if you’re invited to a Skype interview.
It’s important to familiarise yourself with some Skype video etiquette. Avoid the pitfalls and navigate your way to on-screen success with our 10 top tips for making the most of your Skype video virtual interview:
1. Test your technology
Do a technical check before your online interview begins to make sure that your internet connection is stable enough to avoid dropouts and poor sound and picture quality. Consider setting up a dedicated external lapel or desktop mic if your built-in mic sounds muffled. Have a list of links to a resume or portfolio ready to copy and paste if required. And ensure your Skype name and photo are professional looking, so you create the right impression from the outset.
2. Practice makes perfect
Do a quick ‘mock interview’ run-through with a friend beforehand and you’ll feel much more confident when the time comes. This is a great chance to test out your technical set-up, your comfort levels on Skype and the quality of your answers.
3. Turn off other applications
Before your online interview begins, make sure you switch your phone onto silent and turn off other applications (such as Facebook), so that message alerts don’t intrude and distract.
4. Dress appropriately
This is no time for a T-shirt and sweatpants – you need to treat this like a face-to-face interview. Dress as you would for any normal interview and be well groomed, so you really look and feel the part.
5. Make eye contact
It can be harder to create engagement and connection with your interviewer through video – so be sure to counter this by looking directly into the camera as you speak, rather than at the screen or the picture of yourself. This can be tricky to sustain, but if you accomplish this you’ll be way ahead of your competition (who mostly won’t use this trick).
6. Avoid distracting backgrounds
Position yourself to minimise distracting background clutter. Piles of laundry or mess behind you are distracting and will send the wrong message. Frame yourself in the best light and in the best surroundings to convey an image of calm, order and professionalism.
7. Minimise background noise
Whether it’s a screaming baby, a blaring TV or the roar of the nearby freeway, background noise can interfere with your concentration and distract your interviewer. Make sure you’re somewhere where you won’t be disturbed – and remember that your mic will also potentially pick up the sound of shuffling papers or drinking from your coffee cup, so be careful to minimise those types of noises.
8. Watch your body language
Physical cues can be even more noticeable on Skype – so avoid crossing your arms or hunching your shoulders. Adopt a posture that is relaxed and open, remember to smile a lot, and try not to slouch in your seat or rest your head in your hand.
9. Ask the right questions
As with a face-to-face interview, be ready when you’re asked if you have any further questions. You’re likely to leave more of a lasting impression in the mind of your interviewer if you do ask some incisive questions. Read our 7 best interview questions to ask for more advice on this.
10. Follow up correctly
You may have spoken on Skype, but avoid the temptation to follow up with a message on Skype Chat – it can come across as a little too casual and informal. Instead, stick to an email ‘thank you’, which will impress much more.