You have aced your phone interview and are on to the next step of your interview process – nice work. Many employers are turning to Skype or video interviews to speed-up the interview process and reduce travel expenses and Skype may be an interview trend that is here to stay. Check out these 8 tips to make sure you or your team is Skype-ready.
1. Update your Skype profile.
Make sure your Skype username is professional, a combination of your first and last name is best. Upload your LinkedIn profile pic for your user photo.
2. Research and Prep.
Prepare yourself like you would for a standard interview. Layout your resume and notes and be ready to join the Skype call at least 10 minutes before in case there are any issues.
3. Dress the part.
Dress like you would for a formal interview. This means don’t wear jeans or pajama pants with your suit jacket, you may need to stand-up to and adjust your camera and no one wants to see your Snoopy pajama pants.
4. Wear a color that’s good on camera.
Wear solid colors in earth tones, shades of blue or pastels, these typically look best on camera. Avoid anything too bright, dark or patterned.
5. Set-Up your studio.
If you are in interview mode and anticipate quite a few Skype interviews it is worth investing in a little technology that will enhance your interview. For our clients, we suggest having a dedicated area for Skype interviews so that you can decrease the set-up time for whoever is conducting the interview.
- Lighting: Move one or two lamps in front of you behind the computer screen, you may also need one on each side depending on the natural light in your room.
- Camera Angle: Move your computer higher than you would normally have it so that the camera angle is down towards you.
- Frame Yourself: Open your video camera and frame yourself so that your upper shoulders and face are visible (Kind of like a school photo).
- Background. Keep it simple, a blank wall in a contrasting color to what you are wearing is best. If you have a loud color scheme in your house or office you might want to invest in seamless background paper available on Amazon or your local hobby/photography store.
- Minimize outside noises and distractions. This may mean putting a ‘do not disturb’ note on your front door and door to the room where you will be speaking, having someone watch the kiddos and making sure to distract your dog with a bone in an area away from you.
- Upgrade your video & sound. If you will be doing a lot of interviews you may want to consider upgrading your microphone and speakers and video camera to an HD version, the reason being many of the ones built into your computer were not built with the purpose to be speedy and avoid delay.
- Internet Connection. Make sure you have an optimum bandwidth, Skype recommends at least 500kbps/500kbps for high-quality video calling.
- Close all other programs on your computer except for Skype.
6. Test, test, test.
Test with a friend and check all functions of Skype so you can quickly navigate the day of your interview. If you can’t do a test run-through with a friend at the very least open your video camera and make sure your camera angle looks good. You can also use Skype’s testing sound test service to make sure your mic and speakers are working properly.
7. Tone of Voice.
Speak slowly and make sure the other person has finished speaking, this is especially important if there is a lag with the internet. Remember to smile, it not only lights up your face but brings enthusiasm to your voice.
8. Watch your body language and posture.
Remind yourself to breathe and sit-up straight, look at the camera and maintain eye contact. Put a smiley face or sticky note reminding you to look at the camera or try to position the video so it’s at the top of your screen right under the camera so it looks like you are looking directly at the person and while still allowing you to gauge their expressions. And a reminder, don’t forget to send a thank you note, and if you are an employer, reply to the thank you. As with any interview, make sure to send a thank you note within 24-48 hrs., thanking the person for their time and highlighting something from your conversation. For the person receiving the thank you, please take the time to respond to the thank you e-mail, it’s a candidate market and this bit of acknowledgment of the candidate’s time can make a great impression.