These days it’s common for companies to conduct preliminary job interviews remotely, whether via telephone or an online video chat service such as Skype, Zoom or Microsoft Teams. This may present some specific technical and presentational challenges for the person being interviewed for the job. So how should you prepare for a Skype or video job interview? Make sure you have:
The right environment: a quiet space, with no clutter in the background, and well lit.
The right connection: runs some tests beforehand, a cable connection is better, but strong wifi will also work. Try to avoid smart phones if possible.
The right settings: avoid in-built microphones and speakers, small earbuds are better.
The right behaviour: sit close enough to the camera, but not too close. Still dress professionally.
The right approach: it’s still a job interview, even if it is conducted remotely!
Here’s our full guide to preparing for your Skype video job interview and ensuring you’re still number one in the hiring line:
The right environment
Remember that the interviewer is going to be able to see you and your immediate surroundings, so think about where you’re going to conduct your part of the interview. Choose a quiet space where you can sit in front of a blank wall – or perhaps a wall with a nice picture on it – where you won’t be interrupted. Don’t sit with your back to a window because the camera will struggle to handle the contrast properly and you’ll either be too dark or too light.
The right connection
Video chat over a poor internet connection is painful and unproductive. You want to be at your best, which means no stuttering or freezing frames, and no audio dropouts. Even the most patient interviewer will lose interest if they can’t understand what you’re saying. If in doubt, run some tests using your chosen internet/wireless connection at the same time of day as the scheduled interview to make sure that the connection is fast and stable.
The right settings
Many computers – especially laptops – come with a built-in microphone and speakers, which may be good enough for the interviewer to hear you and vice versa. The easiest way to check this is to use Skype’s test call, which allows you to hear your own voice and that of an automated answering service so you can make sure the sound levels are correct. If you’d prefer to use headphones and a mic, use earbuds with a small inline mic rather than a big over-the-ears pair and boom mic of the type used by gamers. The former looks more professional.
The right behaviour
Speaking of which, just because this is an over-the-air interview, you still need to look smart, so treat it as if you were meeting the interviewer in person. Sit close enough to the camera so that they can see you and your facial expressions clearly, but not so close that your head fills the entire viewing area. Remember that although the interviewer isn’t in the same room as you, they can still see you scratch your nose or fiddle with your hair, just as clearly as if they were sitting right in front of you.
The right approach
Never treat a Skype interview as if it’s ‘only a Skype interview’. Prepare as if it was a more conventional face-to-face meeting, be confident of your ground and make sure that you get all your key points across. Stress your interest in the company and in the job, highlight any relevant qualifications and experience and above all, be enthusiastic about the position and the process. It’s likely the interviewer will be conducting plenty of these preliminary interviews, so make them remember you.
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