In last week’s column we discussed four technology related tips and four ways to properly prepare you and your surrounding for Skype based call. This week we will provide additional tips related to screen logistics, interview delivery, and post call activities.
Screen logistics: The way you organize your screen prior to beginning your call can greatly affect the success of your interview. This may seem counterintuitive since interviewer cannot see your screen, but having things well placed and organized can make you look more attentive and provide you immediate access to important information.
1. Close all unneeded applications: This may seem like a trivial item, but it provides three important benefits. First, if you have a slower or older computer, it frees up more memory and internet band width, particularly if you are running programs that are memory intensive or continually do live streaming to your desktop. Second, it makes it a little easier to navigate to the window you need during the interview. Remember, seconds count, you are on video and every time you look down at your screen the interviewer will know it. Third, it prevents videos and other distracting items from accidently starting on their own or if you press the wrong button. 2. Place the person’s picture directly below you camera: The reason for this suggestion is because it’s natural to look at someone when they are speaking. In this case, the interviewer in the Skype window. If your webcam is on the top right corner of your screen and the interviewer’s image is on the bottom left corner of the screen, from the interview’s perspective you will be looking down and to the left for the entire interview. Placing the interviewer’s picture directly below your webcam (as close as possible) will give the interviewer the feeling that you are looking directly at them. 3. Have strategic documents and windows open on the screen: The specific items I suggest you have open on your desktop during interview are your resume, personal notes you have written in preparation for the interview, list of key topics/information your want to say during the interview, the company’s website open to their About Us page, and a browser with your favorite search engine open. This may seem like a little bit much, and you may not need any of it, but if the interviewer asks you to talk him/her through your resume you will be glad you had it loaded. Alternatively, if the interviewer asks you what you know about the company, having their About Us page open on your desktop could be of great value.
Delivery: All the technology, preparation and screen logistics are great, but if you deliver poorly during the interview, all your efforts were for not. Certainly there are a number of things that should be done in any interview. That said, here I’m going to strictly discuss items related to the logistics when interviewing via video. 1. Have a small picture of your video displayed on the screen. The reason you want to see yourself, is that is how the interviewer sees you. That way, if your tie is crooked, you have spinach in your teeth from lunch, or only half of your face is in the video frame you will know it and can make the appropriate adjustments. Also, if the lighting changes because sun came out from behind a cloud or someone is walking behind you, you can make the appropriate adjustments. 2. Be careful of your body language. When on camera, your posture, hand gestures, and facial expressions are very noticeable, particularly to a trained interviewer. Sit up straight, smile, if you want to gesture with your hands, make sure they are with the camera’s view, and take not of your hand/face combination gestures. For example, for example, resting your chin on your hand can make you look board, resting your chin on your thumb with your index finger on your cheek can make your look interested, engaged in the conversation, and thoughtful. If you have not studied body language and/or hand and facial expressions it would be well worth your while to do so. 3. Don’t forget you are on video: This may sound obvious, but if you regularly watch YouTube videos, movies, and/or TV on your computer, it can be easy for forget for moment that you too are being watched. Continually be cognizant of your expressions and always look interested. This is one of the reasons you want to close unneeded applications on your desktop. I popup incoming mail message or a Twitter alert can break easily break your conversation. Remember, the interviewer cannot see your screen and thus cannot see why you were distracted, only that you are not paying attention.
Post call activities: Just because the official part of the interview has ended, the interview isn’t over until the Skype session in terminated. 1. Don’t let your guard down until the call/connection is terminated: Don’t underestimate the damage you can do to yourself by thinking out-loud before the call is terminated. Picture this scenario. You just had a great interview, really want to the job, and thinking the call was disconnected you say to yourself “Wow, that interview was joke. I hope my boss will be smarter than that HR guy.” Guess what, you have just been removed from the candidate list and the “HR guy” just put your resume in the trash, forever.
In closing, as video interviewing continues to grow in popularity, it’s just a matter of time before you are asked to interview in this way. It may be tomorrow or it may be in five years. My last suggestion to you is to save a copy of this two part column so when asked to interview in this way, you’ll be ready.
If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at eric@ManagerMechanics.com or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom.
Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to build your professional brand.
Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.