Now a days, more and more companies are turning to video calling software like Skype during the hiring process. While virtual interviews might be slightly less nerve-wracking than those done in-person – you don’t have to think about traffic, getting lost, or general sweatiness – they still require some SERIOUS preparation. Below are a few tips on how to ace these types of interviews.
Remember, it’s an interview
You need to prepare for a Skype interview in the same way you would for a face to face interview. Know the company inside and out, prepare questions, know your resume, and be ready to tackle “behavioral questions”. Here is our interview handout if you need a refresher – CLICK: CPC Employment Interview Handout 2013.
Prepare your surroundings
It’s important to make sure you are in a quiet environment that is as close to an office as possible. Clearly you don’t want to be distracted and you do not want your interviewer to be distracted. It is also very important that your equipment is set and the internet is working. I realize this is pretty obvious, but technical problems tend to be the most common issue with Skype interviews. On top of having a quiet space and having your equipment ready to go – you need to be aware of your background. Think about it… If you have your Bob Marley poster from your dorm hanging behind you that says SOMETHING. Don’t let the interviewer create any unwarranted opinions about you based on your surroundings.
The whole dress for success concept stays true for Skype interviews. This is not your opportunity to practice the “News Anchor” look… You know, professional on the top, party on the bottom. Treat it like a REAL interview and put your big boy/girl pants on. Similarly, make sure your Skype username is professional – so if you are using SccrrPlayer99, then it might be time to change it to something more consistent with your name.
The saying practice makes perfect is NO JOKE. If you have never used Skype or Google+ Hangouts before then be sure to try it out first with a friend or family member. That starts with the obvious; you need to download the program and make sure it runs on your computer and you need to have a functioning web camera with a microphone. If you do not have a computer or a webcam the Career Planning Center can help set something up. Another way to practice is to utilize InterviewStream. This is a new online resource that will help you prepare for interviews by going through a realistic interview experience where you are asked challenging questions based on the type of interview you have selected. The software records you as you respond to the questions and then loads your mock interview into your own personal InterviewStream account. You can than review it as many times as you want or send it to someone else to review. Essentially, you get to practice your interview using a webcam and then you get to review it. It really is the perfect tool to prepare for a Skype interview!
It’s all in the delivery
Obviously how you act during your interview is what is going to make the difference. Here are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Alternate eye contact between your webcam and your screen
- If you have a headset, use it – your audio might be clearer
- Smile and focus on your posture
- Slow down
- Don’t become distracted by your own image on the screen (To fix this, change your settings to disable your image showing up or simply cover up your image with a Post-It note)
- Say thank you at the end!
Hopefully these tips are useful and remember if you ever need anything we are here to help!
Stephanie Gallo (Same person, new name)
Associate Director, Career Planning Center