For many, the interview process begins with an initial exploratory conversation. For many years, this meant a telephone conversation, but in today’s world it often means a video conference, or SKYPE, call. While using video conferencing provides the advantage of seeing the interviewer and recognizing visual body language cues, SKYPE calls do present unique challenges for the candidate.
Connectivity: SKYPE calls are only as good as their connection speed. To avoid dropped calls, frozen screen shots, or poor audio connections, consider using a wired connection for your computer. Wireless systems can struggle with transmission of vast amounts of data.
Location: Just as a telephone interview, finding a quiet place is important when conducting a SKYPE interview. I also recommend the background be plain as an overly decorated background will make the video transmission more cumbersome. Remember, this is not HD television and the more images that need to be transmitted the fuzzier the picture will appear. I recommend trying to find a blank wall for your background or other plain setting.
Trial Run: It is important to run a test of your equipment prior to the SKYPE call. How is the lighting? Are the microphone, speakers, and camera working? Microphones on computers tend to pick up any ambient noise – although you may not like the look, consider using a headset/microphone combination. You will hear much clearer as will the interviewer.
TIPS: One of the most difficult parts of the SKYPE interview is knowing where to look on your computer. Naturally, you want to look at the recruiter, but if you are consistently looking at the recruiter’s video feed, the recruiter sees an image of you with your eyes looking down. I recommend looking at the recruiter’s image when he/she is speaking, and then look directly into the camera when you are providing your answer.
Another challenge SKYPE users face are pauses in transmissions when calling from a long distance (oversees). When making an international SKYPE call, be aware that the transmission speed will cause a 1-2 second delay in communication. Be mindful of this and pace your answers. While there is little you can do to improve the situation (outside of using a wired connection and optimizing the transmission speeds of your computer), knowing what to expect can help you and the interviewer have a better experience.
With budgets tight and the technology continuing to improve, video interviews will continue to be used as a way to virtually meet to discuss employment opportunities. The more familiar and comfortable you are with the technology, the better your experience will be when using the systems.
I welcome sharing of tips on how to be successful when interviewing via videoconferencing.