More employers are conducting first and second interviews via Skype or some other service. It’s fast, cheap and easy. Only the finalists, in some cases, get an invitation into the office. If you are in the hunt for a new gig, you should be ready for this experience. I got a call last week from a friend who was going to have a Skype interview and I shared these tips. He thanked me after.
Camera Angle: Get your camera up to eye level. This is especially important if you are using a laptop camera. If the camera is below you, you will be looking down on it. The person interviewing you will see nothing but fat chin and deep, dark eyes (remember the scene in the Blair Witch Project?). Put some books or some other support under the laptop to get the angle right.
Good Lighting: Set up some lighting that illuminates your face well. Low wattage lighting that chases away the shadows from your face will work. Avoid too-bright lights that will live you squinting.
Watch the Background: What is behind you that your interviewer will see? Be sure to clean up, take down the Kiss poster, and remove other visual distractions. If you can’t do that, move your camera so that you have a plain wall behind you.
Banish Randomness: Do you have a dog? Get someone to take it for you during your session. Do you have a cat? We do, and it gets unreasonably amorous at inappropriate times. If the cat has ignored me for three weeks, it will want to make up during a Skype call. Unplug or turn off phones. Eliminate any noises and distractions.
Dress the Part: Most people don’t sit around their homes in a suit, but professional business casual attire should be the minimum standard. With a video call, everything is the same as in-person but the hand shake.
Cheat with Notes: If you have a few points that you absolutely must make during your interview, write some notes and hang them up near the camera so that you can see them while looking at the camera and so that your interviewer cannot see them at all. Having these notes will make you more confident.
Sit Up: Your posture will affect your tone of voice. Sit up straight, breathe and project. Don’t forget to lock the tilt switch on your desk chair. You don’t want to go rocking back out of the camera’s view.
It will take a little work to do a Skype call well, but it will be worth the effort. Your preparation will translate into confidence and a better outcome. Skype well, all!
Bill Florin is a Certified Employment Interview Professional (CEIP) and is president of Resu-mazing Services Company.