“Can you hear me? I can see you but I can’t hear you….wait….OK….no….now I can’t see you, either.”
Sound familiar? The fact is, Skype interviews probably require as much preparation as interviewing face-to-face. An online interview gives the interviewee a few advantages, but several unique disadvantages.
For instance, one good point is that you can keep some notes in front of you out of sight of the camera. That’s great, right?
Well, the bad news is you’re talking to your computer – or a tiny, robotic-eye sitting next to your computer. And some people (such as me) don’t come off very well on camera.
Good and bad aside, there are a few keys which will guarantee you make a positive impression. Most of these won’t be revelations, simply because they’re the types of things you ought to do in a face-to-face interview anyway.
Here they are:
- Be on time for the interview. It’s a good idea to be sure you’ve added the interviewer a day before the call. If the interviewer is late on the day of the interview, be patient. Send an instant message if it goes past 15 minutes. It’s possible an earlier interview ran longer than expected. If you can’t connect, send an email to ask if you can reschedule for another day. Something unexpected probably came up, and they’ll likely be happy to chat with you another day.
- Make sure the surroundings behind you are tidy, and find a QUIET place. If you have roommates or live together with family, remind them of your interview time so you aren’t interrupted.
- Test your equipment the day before and the day of the interview. There’s nothing more frustrating than having technical problems during an online interview. If problems arise and persist, explain politely what is happening and ask to redial.
- Dress for the job. If the job is for an ESL teacher, business casual would be best. Men should get rid of the 5 o’clock shadow – shave before the interview. Oh, and if you’re thinking of pulling a “Ron Burgundy” and not wearing any trousers – think again. You never know when you might have to suddenly get up to check your internet connection or webcam.
- Smile. This is a no-brainer if you’re interviewing in person, but being personable and smiling are more difficult when you’re in a room alone. Test your appearance on camera before the interview to check for posture, gestures, facial expressions, etc. Try a practice run with a friend or family member and ask for honest feedback.
- Use the interviewers name often – it can help develop a connection between the two of you even though you’re not in the same room.
- Before the interview begins, tell the interviewer in advance that you will be taking notes. You can politely begin, “I apologize in advance if there are a few pauses here and there, I’ll be jotting down some notes during the interview.” This will ease the awkward feeling when no one is speaking. Plus taking notes will give you a few ideas to come back to when you have questions at the end.
- Cheat like crazy. Keep notes about the company handy for easy reference. Being able to glance quickly at information about the position, company or questions for the end of the interview can work in your favor. That said, keep the notes short – if you’re shuffling through dozens of pages off camera it’ll definitely tip-off your interviewer that something’s amiss.
- Be yourself. You have a lot to offer to the company – it’ll be more likely to come through during the interview if you’re relaxed!
This list is probably not exhaustive – if you have any other tips I’d love to hear them!
Oh, and if you’re wondering what not to do – just watch this clip:
- Follow-up tips, post Interview- Roozgaar (latestroozgaarnews.wordpress.com)