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.

Skype interview

Location, Location, Location

A quiet room with good lighting and a neutral background is your best bet

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 Gospos

Kasia is the founder of Leaders in Heels and is taking part in the Microsoft Connection Program.

Although I’m the founder of Leaders in Heels, there are many people who help out with the site. Some of us are stay-at-home mums, while others work full time or part time and volunteer their spare time. We work from home or on-the-go, and the majority of our work is done remotely. We work at different time zones and have different schedules. Sound complicated? Here’s how I manage a team in multiple locations!

All our files are on a shared drive in the cloud

We keep all our files on OneDrive. It’s a cloud solution by Microsoft that allows us to access, share and modify files from any device in a common shared drive. We no longer need to email multiple versions files back and forth, or bring along USB sticks when meeting in person. The Leaders in Heels drive is located on my personal account and I simply share it with everyone in my team.

Microsoft is very generous with the storage–I have 7GB of free storage and a bonus 3GB for backing up my camera roll (more about that below). OneDrive also works with Office 365, so with my subscription, it’s easy to create, edit and share documents, even on mobile devices. I can also download the files I need if I know I’m going to lose internet connection. You can use the OneDrive app or File Explorer to make files available offline.

OneDrive is built-in to the latest version of Windows 8.0 but if you don’t have it, you can just download the OneDrive software or app and automatically sync the files in your OneDrive folder across all your devices. You will need a Microsoft account (free) which you might have already if you use other Microsoft products or their Live email service. OneDrive works with PCs, Macs, tablets and mobile phones (iOS, Android and Windows Phone).

We use internet on the go

I have very busy schedule, and I’m constantly on the go. Whenever I have time between meetings in the city I open my laptop and connect my phone to it, which lets me use my mobile internet on my laptop. It’s such a useful feature, but I’ve found many people don’t realise you can do this. On an Android or Windows Phone look for Settings, then WiFi Connections. On the iPhone, it’s under Settings, then Personal Hotspot.

We have a shared calendar

When I first started the site, the communication between a contributor, editor, the chief editor and myself meant that we were sending a large number of emails back-and-forth. These days, we utilise a shared Google calendar to manage the entire editorial schedule. Our editors create an entry in the calendar in red. Once the article is submitted into WordPress, she changes the entry’s color to orange. Once the Chief Editor reviews it, it’s set to green. I have a very good view of what’s coming up in the next few weeks and what’s the status of it and our Social Media Manager, Yolanda, can manage her tweets well in advance using Hootsuite. No more unnecessary emails cluttering up any of our mailboxes!

I automatically back up my photos to the cloud

As the founder of Leaders in Heels, I have the pleasure to be invited to many events. I tend to take many photos (on my Nokia 1020) which I later use for articles or social media posts. The OneDrive mobile app can be set up to automatically back up all my photos to my OneDrive. This is very useful when I need to access those photos from computer later (e.g. writing an article about the event I attended). Others on the Leaders in Heels team also use with Android and Google Plus (or Dropbox).

We manage larger projects with the shared drive

Again, OneDrive comes in handy. Very often our projects and events are managed by volunteers who are not part of the team. They don’t get access to the entire Leaders in Heels drive–I can simply give them access to selected folders like the one for our “We need a Champion!” event. I establish different access levels for each folder, and sometimes simply share a link to the file without giving access to the folder at all.

We run group meetings remotely using Skype

The Leaders in Heels team is spread across Australia and having babies or busy career doesn’t doesn’t make it easy to get everyone in the same place at the same time. It can be painful! So we use a premium Skype account for just slightly over $AU3 a month, which allows us unlimited group conferences and screen sharing.

Do you use any cool technology to manage your work? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Featured Image: overge

Kasia Gospos

Kasia is the founder of Leaders in Heels and is taking part in the Microsoft Connection Program.