A job interview for an exciting new role can be one of the most nerve-wracking and memorable experiences in your life – as a recruiter, I see candidates receive life-changing job offers on a regular basis – it never fails to excite me!
Working with companies and candidates across the board, I have seen a spike in the number of initial interviews being conducted via Skype or other video programs.
I am asked time and again by candidates on how to prepare for and conduct a Skype interview, so here are my top tips.
Check Your Speed
Increasingly, Skype interviews are happening in public places such as local libraries, in your car or even quiet coffee spots – basically anywhere you can get a quiet place and, more importantly, away from your current workplace. This is understandable as our working lives are increasingly busy, and you might only have a specific timeframe to be able to conduct your interview.
If you have no alternative than to conduct your interview where you are relying on someone else’s internet speed, it is important to check the speed of the internet before you decide on this as a suitable interview place. Internet speeds in public places can be highly unreliable, so where possible, we suggest using your own home, that of a friend or relative, or an office space where you can guarantee that you will have enough bandwidth.
Remember to make sure you have Skype (or the interview software that you will be using) downloaded on your device and that your username and password are correct, and sign in a few minutes early.
A Quiet Place
Alongside internet speeds, if you must conduct your interview somewhere other than your home or office, make sure that your place of choice is as quiet as possible, with no distractions.
If you must use a coffee shop, avoid the lunchtime rush hour. If you are interviewing from your car park away from busy roads and in a quiet spot, turn noisy engines and air-con off.
Make Notes – But Don’t Rely on Them
You might be nervous, and this is understandable if the role is one you’ve wanted for a while, or for a company you admire. I always suggest to candidates to make notes to help them remember certain topics they might want to cover or specific stories they want to talk about – but not to rely too heavily on these notes.
What I don’t suggest is trying to memorise your notes word for word or consulting them every time you go to answer a question. Always looking down at your notes will make you appear nervous (even if you aren’t) and the breaking of eye contact will not put the interviewer at ease.
The key is to familiarise yourself with your notes – this can be done in the days leading up to your Skype interview (don’t leave it until the last minute) and use them as a frame of reference for the interview, not a hard and fast guide. You want your conversation to flow freely, and this is hard to achieve when you refuse to stray from a determined set of answers.
Sometimes candidates tell me that they made a long list of notes, only for them to completely forget about them once the interview has started! Each interview is different, remember to gauge the tone and pace of the interview – your notes are there to help you if you get stuck, it’s not a script.
Work the Camera
It is tempting in Skype interviews to look at yourself on the screen, rather than into the camera of your device, but remember to resist the urge to do this – it is off-putting and can make you come across as vain, self-centred or simply confused by the whole process.
Dress in smart attire that you would wear if you were attending a face-to-face interview, and yes, I suggest from the waist down also. If you must get up suddenly in the middle of the interview, you don’t want the interviewer seeing that you’re wearing gym shorts.
Smile and don’t be afraid to use hand gestures, even if you aren’t sure if the interviewer can see them. I feel that in Skype interviews, it can be harder to let your personality come across than in a face-to-face interview, so you might need to try a little harder to let your true self come across.
It can be strange conducting a Skype or video interview, especially if you aren’t used to them, so it is useful to remember that they are not as formal as a face-to-face interview and that once you have cleared this stage, you can wow the interviewer in real-life.
If you are still looking for your next role to progress your career, get in touch with us today to find out how we can help.