Rob Ridout has over 25 years experience as a headhunter. In 2008 he published his book CVforLIfe - the ultimate career advice book. His career coaching business has flourished and now offers Career coaching,
Career Counselling and CV and resume writing services. He works with universities such as GIBS and Monash to offer some of the highest caliber career coaching.
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Skype - getting it right!
Skype - getting it right!
by Rob Ridout
Skype can be a nightmare for many people, looking at the screen not knowing what your interviewer is thinking is just too much for many people. Here are some practical tips on how to rule in your Skype interview.
Create Your Set.
You want to make sure you angle your computer correctly and sit with a proper basic background behind you. Try to avoid interviews in your bedroom or with big art behind the walls.
Pick a quiet place to interview without an elaborate backdrop so that you can be the focal point on the screen.
Test your technology
Do a technical check before your online interview begins to make sure that your internet connection is stable enough to avoid dropouts and poor sound and picture quality. Consider setting up a dedicated external lapel or desktop mic if your built-in mic sounds muffled. Have a list of links to a resume or portfolio ready to copy and paste if required. And ensure your Skype name and photo are professional looking, so you create the right impression from the outset.
Practice makes perfect
Do a quick ‘mock interview’ run-through with a friend beforehand and you’ll feel much more confident when the time comes. This is a great chance to test out your technical set-up, your comfort levels on Skype and the quality of your answers.
Turn off other applications
Before your online interview begins, make sure you switch your phone onto silent and turn off other applications (such as Facebook), so that message alerts don’t intrude and distract.
Dress the part.
When it comes to what you wear, treat your Skype interview like an in-person interview and dress professionally from head to toe (or at least from head to waist!). A professional dress code with video interviews is expected, not excused.
Check the Employer Skype Name.
In order to do a Skype interview, you will need to connect with the employer on Skype a few minutes before the interview (think AOL instant message). You’ll need their Skype username in order to connect. Make sure you find the employer on Skype the day before the interview. You want to allow time just in case you have an issue finding their username.
Etc. Before you start the interview, confirm that the employer can hear you and see you properly. You want to make sure everything is working properly before you get started.
Pump up the Energy.
You have a virtual wall between you and the employer, you still want to show off your personality. Make sure that you are upbeat and energetic during the interview and that shows through to the employer. This is a great topic to ask your career center about during your mock interview.
Take It Seriously.
Although it may not feel as intense because you are not at a company HQ, take the Skype interview seriously. This is the way the company is choosing to pick their interns. If you don’t take it seriously, that will show in the interview.
Articulate Your Words.
Again, you have a virtual wall between you and the employer. Make sure you don’t speak too fast and don’t rush your words. Take the time to clearly articulate everything you are trying to say.
Show Your Passion.
Just as you would in an in-person interview, make sure the employer leaves that Skype interview knowing how passionate you are about the company.
If you aren’t able to express that while answering questions, make a point to mention that at the end of the interview. “I just wanted you to know how passionate I am about this company and this specific internship position. I really would love to work with you
Look at the camera, not the screen.
It is very tempting to watch yourself or your interviewer during a Skype session, but looking directly at the video camera is the only way to maintain direct eye contact with your interviewer.
Don't be afraid to help yourself with post-it notes or a copy of your resume handy when you interview. A benefit of having a Skype interview is that you can have a cheat sheet in front of you so that you don't have to memorize everything you want to mention.
But don't rely too much on your notes.
Just make sure your notes are easily scannable so that you use them as quick reminders, not a script. While having notes is certainly a plus, relying too heavily on them can cause awkward pauses during your interview. An interviewer won't be impressed if they only see the top of your head during the interview, so while having notes is good, be sure to use them sparingly.
If you are interviewing in a house with multiple people or pets, be sure to let everyone in the house know ahead of time that you will be in an interview while securing any animals away from your interview space. Nothing is less professional than having to tell your potential employer to hang on while you shoo your dog away from the camera.
Keep your profile professional.
Unlike an in-person or phone interview, your first impression during a Skype interview doesn't actually involve you. The first thing your interviewer will see is your Skype username and picture, so double check that they are both interview appropriate (or create a professional Skype account — after all, they're free!)
Watch your body language.
Not all physical cues translate from in-person interviews to Skype interviews, which make the ones that do even more important. Be sure to have good posture and relax your shoulders to avoid stiffness.
Avoid a "Can you hear me now?" situation
Nothing is more frustrating than only catching every other word a person is saying, so be sure to tweak the Skype audio ahead of time to make sure you can both hear and be heard without difficulty.
Make sure the interviewer is engaged.
Stop every once in awhile and make sure your interviewer is engaged in what you are saying. Being aware of the interest level of your interviewer is crucial in a Skype interview since they may have interesting e-mails pop up that direct attention away from you.
For more great articles on face to face interviews follow the links.
Over the course of my 24 years as a headhunter, I’ve interviewed hundreds of candidates and also forwarded many candidates for many interviews with a diverse client base.
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