by Simon Lythgoe
The Skype interview has become fairly standard practice for most recruitment processes today. Given the cost pressures many businesses are under and the desire to interview widely, it often makes sense to introduce this stage before any face-to-face contact is made. If you don’t have that much experience with an online interview then these key tips will help to ensure that you get the result that want from the encounter.
1. Find the best light for the interview
This may seem strange but it’s not about finding the most flattering light in terms of aesthetics. Instead, you’re looking for a light that feels professional – too dark and the setting may have an inappropriate sense of intimacy, too light and you could look washed out and ill. The best way to do this is to find a spot in your home where there is plenty of natural daylight. If the interview is taking place after dark as a result of time zones then choose a location that is well lit where no shadows fall on your face.
2. Create a professional environment
Most online interviews will necessarily happen when you’re at home but you should still take steps to try to create a professional environment for the interview. So, avoid having the conversation from your bedroom or somewhere you’re likely to be interrupted by pets or children. A home office is the ideal environment but anywhere uncluttered, clean and minimal will do.
3. Make sure you look the part
It might be tempting to put on a professional outfit on the top half and then sit around in sweatpants from the waist down. Although you might be comfortable like this – and the interviewer won’t see what you’re wearing because of the camera angle – if you’re not dressed for an interview then you may not feel particularly professional. This can impact on confidence, as well as what you say and how you act. You’ll have the right mindset for the interview if you’re professionally dressed and you’ll be able to avoid any embarrassing situations where you have to explain why you can’t stand up.
4. Don’t stare at the screen
It can be a difficult skill to master but the only way to make eye contact during an online interview is via the webcam. If you’re constantly looking at the screen of your computer or laptop you won’t be able to do this. Try to keep this gesture natural during the conversation – don’t stare into the webcam constantly but make regular “eye contact” via when answering or asking questions.
5. Trial your set up
It’s always a good idea to try out the set up you’ve created so that you can see any issues that might arise before the interview itself. Do this at the same time of day as the interview is scheduled for so that you’ll have similar conditions and light. Record yourself so that you can look at details such as body language, background noise and the sound quality of the call.
Online interviews represent a great opportunity to impress. Taking care over setting up the call in the right way and ensuring that you’re prepared is important.