Absolutely Crush Your Video Interview.
Video interviews have become as popular as phone interviews to narrow down the potential job candidates and Skype is the service of choice for many companies. Just as I recently wrote about acing the phone interview; if you want to make a good impression on a video interview, you need to be prepared for a video interview. Here are a few thoughts and tips on what you need to know before you sit down in front of your webcam.
Get familiar with the technology of Skype. Today many companies around the world are using Skype as a tool to connect. Video is the preferred tool of many employers. It is important that you demonstrate a comfort level with what Skype can do and how to manage the technology because it will drive the overall perception of your general technology skills. Skype is free, easy to use, has easily accessible tutorials, and directions. Sign up for free here.
Practice with Skype before the interview. Play with it. Learn how it works and what it can do. This way you will increase your familiarity with Skype and how to make it work best for you. Your job interview is the one time you can’t afford to wing it. Dial up your kids, extended family, etc as a way of practicing as well as for staying in touch. You can’t beat the price, and the conversation does take on more meaning.
Don’t attempt to do the interview from your smart phone in an airport, coffee shop, or anywhere else. Find a room that is quiet, preferably at home or in your hotel where there is less likelihood of interruptions and distractions. If something does interrupt the interview from your end, briefly excuse yourself, and then promptly explain the situation with some self-deprecating humor. It will humanize the situation, lighten the mood, and the reality is that the interviewer has seen it before.
Be prepared. This is a real interview. Just because the interview is done over Skype doesn’t mean it isn’t serious. Print off a copy of the job posting/application, your resume, and any company research that you’ve done. You may want to access these as the discussion unfolds. Nuke the phone(s)…as in turn them off, not just silencing them. People get distracted when the screen lights up, start looking away, and lose focus. Don’t take a chance on opening a second browser on the computer you are interviewing from…just too many thing that could go wrong.
Dress appropriately. Dress according to the culture and how a job candidate should appear. Just as the phone interview has supplanted the traditional 1st interview within the hiring process of many organizations; so too has the video interview. Also, dress from head to toe. Don’t think that since you’ll be on camera from the shoulder/waist up that you don’t have to dress top and bottom. You never know when you might have to stand up during the interview.
Make sure the lighting is good. One of the most important features of video is lighting. If necessary, get a lamp that can be in front of you. Halogen lamps often work well for this. It’s best to have a high speed wired connection, but if you are going wireless try your best to make sure there are not a lot of others banging on the router while you are interviewing. You should also make sure your webcam is high quality. Many older laptops and netbooks have bare bones webcams that don’t deliver a very good or consistent look to the interviewer on the other end. If you want to make sure you look the part, you can pick up an HD webcam for around $40 bucks. If you don’t have good microphone, you may want to pair a bluetooth headset with your computer for better audio. If in doubt, make a few test calls to see what the recipient thinks about your sound quality.
Finally, remember that the interviewer can see you, and on video interviews it is easy to tell if someone is not paying attention. It can be tempting to check your email or other items of interest during a long question, but remember this: If it’s something that you would not do in a face-to-face interview; don’t do it on a video interview.