Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Skype Interviews

Have you ever done an interview for a position quite a distance from your home?

A few years ago when I interviewed for my first job in Northern Manitoba, my interview was via phone. In fact, the few times I've been offered an interview that wasn't in my city, it's always been over the phone.

When you're being interviewed by just one person (for example the principal) that's all fine and dandy, but when you're being interviewed by a group of people you've never met, it's really hard because you can't put the names to their faces, and have trouble keeping track of who's asking you a question, and so therefore who to direct your answer to.

Now however, I am noticing a trend towards conducting these distance interviews via Skype, which allows the interviewee the ability to see the interviewers and be able to see their facial expressions in relation to their answers.

The only real downside (aside from lack of or poor connections), is that the interviewee who used to rely on their notes to common questions can no longer rifle through papers for a previously prepared answer. This was great for the nervous type, whose brains froze when asked a question they knew the answer to, but just couldn't verbalize it without a starting reference.

Here's a link to a video with a few ideas to enhance your Skype interview.
In short here are the keys ideas:
1. Have a suitable background: no plain white boring office wall, have a more interesting background to create depth.
2. Include plants for warmth.
3. Use natural light to illuminate your face.
4. Make sure you're well lit, not from behind.
5. Wear a black jacket. Look professional. So, no shirts or other clothes that wouldn't be appropriate on the job.
6. Be aware of the expression on your face.
7. Try to simulate eye contact by looking directly at the webcam instead of the screen, if needed tape a picture to look at.
8. Frame yourself: Turn your body like when a photographer takes your picture.

Some other ideas:
1. Today's cameras are really high quality, so look your best. Wear a bit of makeup to brighten up your face.
2. You can't have pages of notes, but there is nothing wrong with keeping a single page for jot notes to include items you want to be sure to include in your answers.
3. Don't forget your list of questions to ask at the end of the interview.
4. Have a glass of water ready, you'll be talking a lot and nervous, and you don't want to have a dry scratchy throat.
5. Ensure quiet and no distractions for the duration. In my case this will mean ensuring someone has my daughter out of the apartment for a few hours.
6. Turn off cell phones and computer applications so you're not distracted by Facebook and other email notifications.
7. Have a practice run, especially if you've never used the software before.
8. Don't fidget,
9. Don't talk with your hands! This will be a tough one for me.
10. Ask how are you at the beginning of the interview, and when asked how you are, respond with great.
11. Be enthusiastic.
12. Don't forget to smile!

Now my fingers are crossed that I get offered some interviews this year, and get to use some of this advice.

Have you ever interviewed via Skype?

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