In this day and age, face-to-face interviews no longer mean that both parties need to be in the same room. In fact, they no longer even have to be in the same country. Online video interviews are more and more common, usually using a program such as Skype.
Location, Location, Location
A quiet room with good lighting and a neutral background is your best bet
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Normally, this isn’t something you have to worry about, as the interview will be in the company’s offices. But with a Skype interview, it’s very important to pick your location carefully. No, the local cafe or park is generally not a good idea. Find somewhere quiet, ideally with a door you can shut and put up a “Do Not Disturb on Peril of Death” sign on. Also, consider what’s visible from your webcam. Do you really want your potential employer to see your entire collection of raunchy novels on your bookshelf or the piles of unwashed laundry on your bedroom floor?
A quiet room with good lighting and a neutral background is your best bet, but ensure that you don’t wear clothing that blends in and makes you look like a floating head.
Hog the Internet
Streaming video over the internet takes up quite a bit of bandwidth. If you have a slower internet connection, kick off everyone else who’s on the internet, and tell them to keep off until your interview has finished. This will save your interview from the minor annoyances such as stuttering voice or video, and in the worst cases, being cut off completely. If your internet is unreliable, steal a friend’s and kick them off.
Use A Professional Username
No, HoneyGigglesPoo3844 is not a professional username. Neither is HellYeahDrinkTillIPuke!11!!1!.
Using your real name, or some variation thereof, is generally the way to go. Unless your real name is Sex Fruit or Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii, in which case you’re plain out of luck.
Test Your Equipment
Ensure that your microphone doesn’t distort your voice
Set up and test your webcam beforehand. You want to ensure that the camera doesn’t make you look like a criminal on TV with the pixellated face. You also want to ensure that your microphone doesn’t distort your voice, and that your words are clear and easy to hear. Skype has a useful “Test Call” contact which you can call – it records your voice and plays it back to you so you can hear what it sounds like.
External Beauty Does Matter
Treat this as you would any face-to-face interview, and dress for the part. If this means a nice blouse, jacket and skirt, and some makeup, then do so. If it means a simple shirt and jeans, then go with that.
Your ratty ‘house-lounging’ shirt is not professional attire. Don’t take shortcuts and wear pajama bottoms with your nice blouse, either. You never know if you’ll need to get up, and you don’t want to be known as that person who wore wore pajamas to her interview.
Don’t Fidget, and Look At the Camera!
Because the person is on the other side of your screen, as opposed to the table, it can be hard not to fiddle with whatever’s on hand. Refrain from twirling your favourite pen or playing with your stress ball. Stroking the cat on your lap is definitely out of the question.
And when you talk, look at the camera, not the screen. If you look at the screen, it will seem to the interviewer that you’re staring at something else instead of them. Also, Googling the answers to any curly questions they throw your way is very obvious – don’t even consider using your keyboard or mouse during the interview.
Do you have any other tips for online interviews that we haven’t mentioned here? Have you had any interesting online interviews? Share them in the comments!
photo credit: alanclarkdesign
Kasia is the founder of Leaders in Heels and is taking part in the Microsoft Connection Program.