March 19, 2014, 9:02 PM —
Next week I have a job interview via Skype. I’ve done phone-based interviews, but never using Skype. Anything I should or shouldn’t do?
There are a number of things that should be considered when doing a Skype or Google Hangout based interview. It’s not just simply a phone call with video. It’s much more complex than a phone call for a number of reasons. The video brings with it the need for proper lighting, computer-based sound quality, and understanding of facial and hand-based body language and other similar challenges. As you will see, the items listed are divided into five categories; Technology, Preparation, Screen Logistics, Delivery, and Post Call Activities, the first two of which will be in this week’s column.
When reading these tips, take note that they are also great for internal company meetings, discussions with vendors, and any other online conversation.
Technology: These are the activities that you should address now, even before you have an interview scheduled. The reason for this long-term preparation is that these technical items can take a while to get right. As you will see, it may mean rearranging the furniture in your home office, buying new equipment, and or upgrading your internet connectivity.
1. Quality audio and video: This may mean buying a webcam, finding a quiet place to work, upgrading your internet connection speed, buying/borrowing a better computer, or even soundproofing your walls. This may sound a little extreme, but to illustrate the point, watch a couple of poorly done YouTube videos and you will see that bad sound and/or video is extremely distracting and as a result can dramatically reduce the effectiveness of your interview.
2. Room lighting: The right or wrong lighting in the room can literally be the difference between looking great and looking like your evil twin. Strong light coming from behind you can make it impossible for the interviewer to see your face. Uneven light from left to right puts half your face in shadows.
3. Camera placement relative to your face: The camera should be directly in front of you and at your eye level. If the camera is too high, it looks like you are looking up at the person interviewing you, which could be viewed as a position of weakness. If the camera is below head level, the interviewer will be looking up your nose, which is most likely not your most attractive view.
4. Technology test run: Once you have all your technology in place, practice its use with a friend. He/she can tell you how you look on screen, as well as the quality of your lighting, sound and audio. Also, if you are not a regular Skype user, it will give you some practice using the software.