Job Interviews Via Skype

Untitled design (59)A Skype interview is commonly used when geography, and the associated expense that comes with geographical separation comes in, gets in the way. Large multinationals often have Head Offices far away.   A Skype interview lets the body language to the fore and is based on our human sensory perceptions (‘could they fit in ?’).

It is quite often used by recruiters to delve a bit further into a candidate’s history and can be used as a means of drawing up a shortlist of candidates for the full interview process. For you, the key is making sure you understand what you want of it. Ask the person arranging the details, is this for a short list ? Is this a final meeting with the CEO ? Is this for the team to get to know me ?

Remote Body Language

The OED states that an interview is “a formal meeting in which one or more persons question, consult, or evaluate another person”. Keyword here is “evaluate”. The scientists disagree amongst themselves on non-verbal communications, what we can draw is that one of its founders Albert Mehrabian is noted for finding a 7%-38%-55% rule, supposedly denoting how much communication was conferred by words, tone, and non-verbal language. That means before you have said a word, 55% of the people might formed a view about you. Your complete statement says it all, make sure you dress you and the set appropriately.

How To Dress

Do as you would do for an interview. The will have only a ‘up top’ shot of you but don’t forget to put something on decent underneath. You don’t want to be talked about because you were in your tracksuit bottoms, although you can keep your slippers on!

Camera Shot

Make the backdrop as neutral as possible, the other side don’t want to see anything moving (they will concentrate on that and not on you), TV etc. Your family photographs/artwork and that mornings breakfast plates are not good ads. When you carry out a Skype interview, you are probably looking at the picture(s) of the other side – their video squares. When you answer a question, make sure you look at your camera, otherwise you’ll look like a politician, your face will be off centre and not looking at them in the face. Speaking to a mindless lump of plastic is a skill, a bit of practice is advisable.

Skype Job Interview Rules

Don’t forget, just because you’re not in the same room doesn’t mean you disobey the same rules you would in a normal interviews. Always try and get everyone’s names, so that you can answer them in person, have done your interview prep and follow the body signals (no crossed arms etc).

Skype Job Interview Stress

Ironically, these interviews can be as stressful as a face-to-face. The fear of children walking in, the phone going, the technology breaking down – all combine to increase the potential failure rate.  It is obvious to say this but do what you can to eliminate those you can.  If you’re at home, don’t say “Don’t come in “ or put the box on for the children. Something will go wrong. Get someone over to prevent any disturbance. You don’t want a small child appearing just as you’re putting your unique selling point (USP) across.

Your Skype Profile Picture

There’s that nice one of you at that party in the Abba costume ? The picture you put up on your ‘profile’ will be the one that Skype uses when your video link drops out. Make sure it’s the one that you want. Don’t use your passport photograph, spend £50 and get a half-decent photo taken.

Documentation

The good news about being interviewed remotely, is that you can have some documentation on your desk. For instance, the CV that you actually sent in and the job specification. The one bit of information you do need is you USP; what breaks you out from the others ? What marks you out ? Make sure you don’t spend the time reading your notes and not answering the question. Doesn’t mean that because you can’t see their eyes they are not watching you.

Rehearsals

Go for a dry run through. Get a friend to call you on skype with everything up and running. Only then will they tell you that your sound is terrible or the lighting is wrong. If they are terribly clever, they can actually record the interview.

Technical

Decidedly in the boring but important part of life. You want the interview to go your way:

  • Timing. If your home broadband can be slow, pick a good time of day (when teenagers are at school) or go and rent an office with excellent broadband (www.simplymeetingrooms.co.uk).
  • Broadband Speed. If they’re calling from an office and you’re not, your broadband speed will be slower. Check your broadband speed (www.broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk) or there is one on Skype if you prefer (http://bit.ly/Pmsj4k).  I know this is not a technical manual, but you’re after upload speed and download speed, otherwise their questions will come through quickly and yours may take a while. Skype recommend  a minimum of 400/500 kbps for video.
  • Microphones. You’re probably use to this but laptops have a microphone built in and desktops normally don’t.  You could go for a full American Football headset…..very good but not the image you want. Cheap microphones and single headphones are available (most phone companies provide them for free), they can slip into one ear and you can make them almost invisible. If you want to adjust the settings, don’t go too sensitive as it will pick up your breathing and you will sound like a dirty old man…
  • Lighting. All good directors know about lighting. The PC screen in front you reflects back in your face, so make sure you don’t look pink or blue. If you put a big light behind you, the PC’s camera will make you look dark; if your room is dark the camera adjusts light sensitivity downwards. The answer is as much natural light as you can, lights in a corner of the room and test first !

Most importantly try and enjoy it, if you are feeling relaxed and happy you will come across well.

About Training 4 Interviews

At Training 4 Interviews we spend a day doing seminars plus practical one to one interview practising. We work in small groups and use state of the art studios with filming facilities, so that we capture all your hidden traits.  Ultimately our aim is to give you the confidence to get that dream job.

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