One of the up and coming types of interviews is the Skype, online or video interview. These interviews are great and terrible, all at the same time.
These interviews offer a chance to “meet” each other face to face and avoid the necessity of travel or taking time off to interview. They also allow for panel interviews with people from various locations.
Many of the same issues in face to face interviews come into play, but they are made more difficult. That shirt you love to wear with that unique pattern gives people a headache over video.
Think of the worst YouTube video or podcast imaginable and then imagine it determining your fate as a candidate.
Here are some things to keep in mind and pay attention to.
Bandwidth: Speed test your upload and download speeds. Generally speaking you want at least 6mb down and 1mb up. Be sure to test your connection with a friend before a real interview. You may need to use your mobile device or tablet if you have a strong LTE signal or go to a friend’s if they have faster internet speeds. Whatever option you go with, test it! Be sure to close other programs on your computer as they can also slow things down.
Backup Plan: What is your backup plan if things go wrong? Let’s say you tested everything yesterday but today, when you logon five minutes before your interview, the computer’s virus software decides to run a full system scan. What is your plan when the power goes out?
Stay Calm: No matter what happens do not start to lose your cool. One of the reasons that I like doing online interviews is that it requires candidates to follow directions, plan ahead and stay calm when things go wrong. Something almost always goes wrong.
Location, location, location: DO NOT interview in a public place and do your best not to do it in your car. Maybe this is a personal issue but I am tired of seeing head shots of people in their car. What is in the background? It it distracting? Is it appropriate? What other sounds can you hear? Will you be interrupted?
How do you look? Most of us look like we are the walking dead when lit up by a monitor, so check it ahead of time. You may want to change the lighting in the room. You also want to be sure you are not back-lit and all they get is your silhouette.
Wardrobe: Dress as if this was a face to face interview. Check your look on camera. Some outfits do not work well for video interviews.
Notes: Just like in a face to face interview, have your resume and questions with you. The upside is that you can write notes to yourself that they cannot see, like ones reminding you to smile, look at the camera and to ask what the next step is.
Body Language: Eye contact is with the camera, not their image on the screen. Do not look at other things in the room or leave the viewing area. Also, watch how you use your hands, they can be distracting. Lastly, don’t forget to smile.
Video: Pay attention to how you are framed in the shot. You might want to place the camera a little farther away so your image is not distorted. No sudden moves. If the bandwith is low the movement will look choppy.
Audio: Practice ahead of time and see if a friend with switch places with you. That way you can hear the audio quality for yourself.
Again, one of the biggest things to keep in mind is DON’T PANIC if things don’t go as planned.
Expect problems and eat them for breakfast.
Alfred A. Montapert