With the increase in remote teams and supportive technology, it is now a common phenomenon to screen the vast pool of candidates at early stages through video interviews. Many blue-chip companies prefer to conduct the initial rounds of interviews through Skype or via video conferencing. It is a major convenience, saving time and costs, albeit there could be potential pitfalls. It also helps in screening candidates before they are put down to further rounds of tests or the team interviews.
1. Set up your device for the interview to happen
Test your Skype rigorously before your interview; make appropriate sound checks, look for updates and make sure you have un-interrupted connectivity lest your interview gets disrupted mid-way. Conduct a few mock video chats with friends to ensure that everything is working fine. The camera should be set up so that face is properly framed, the microphone is working well, check the lighting and prepare your room to make it look more professional.
If you wear glasses then adjust the monitor to ensure that there is no glare from the screen reflected on them. Your room should not give the appearance of the Amazonian jungle with a basket of clothing lurking behind the chairs or bottles lying all around in the background; so clean up and put your best foot forward on camera.
2. Prepare your surroundings
Ensure that all sources of disturbance have been neutralized for your scheduled interview time. There shouldn’t be any kids screaming, traffic pealing or pets interrupting you during the span of the interview. And most importantly, keep your landline and cell-phone on silent mode to avoid any distractions what-so-ever. You must appear well-prepared for the interview and such distractions will only frazzle you and you will appear to be overwhelmed by minor disturbances.
3. There is no substitute to practice
Especially because it is Skype, you have to do multiple rehearsals. Maintaining elegance and poise in tandem with talking in front of the camera is very critical and requires multiple takes to get the expressions right. Rehearse your expressions in front of a mirror and keep your tone neutral – a virtual face to face interview is not the best place to come across as either overbearing or meek. It is very important to remember that you look into the eye of your interviewers by looking straight at the camera of your device and not the screen. You must be a certain distance from the screen so that your face does not come in a weird way on the screen. Again, make sure of these things beforethe interview and set up your device accordingly.
4. Dressing up smart counts. Always!
Just because you are in your comfort zone,dressing up in casual home wear would reflect your lack of seriousness in treating this catch up with a prospective employer. Get in the zone by acting and behaving that part that you are actually present in a real interview. If there are any tech glitches due to any unforeseen situation, act with grace and remain calm. Do not be afraid of asking to hang-up the call and try again to proceed more smoothly. It is a proof of your ability to handle uncertainty, stress and pressure with elan.
5. Keep reference material handy and use it smartly Much as it is important to smile well during the interview, it is also critical to keep yourself well surrounded with documents, reference materials and more. It is okay to keep them handy and manage the interview properly without looking lost or confused. However place your material carefully so that it does appear too apparent and also trying reading things verbatim because it becomes quite obvious in no time. This is a sure deal breaker. Therefore, only refer to your material and answer questions extempore (remember the earlier point where we discussed on how to train yourself in front of a mirror)
6. Do not treat this as a “chat-up” with friends
Be professional, calm and at ease; this is exactly the same as a face to face interview except there is a screen between you instead of a desk. Do not slump backwards or sit with hunched shoulders looming over the camera. Body language is as important here as it would be were you actually in the conference room with your interviewer.So be aware of how you handle yourself both physically and verbally while talking to your prospective employer. This in turn will reflect on your seriousness and perception on handling situations appropriately with grace.
Skype is a fairly easy technology for helping in communication. In this age and day, with the rising trend in remote working and cross cultural teams, the prospective employers have a bare minimum expectation that the potential hires are tech-literate and comfortable with employing technology.
Wishing you all the very best to ace that Skype interview.