Recruitment and first-round interviews via media such as Skype and Zoom are becoming increasingly popular. This approach requires a change of tack on interviewer and interviewee sides respectively.
But before we continue – note: face-to-face trumps any virtual meeting, so if you see a possibility of meeting in person, aim for it!
Now, back to the online interview. Here are our top pointers.
Check your tech. Set up and test your technology. Run a real-life test with a friend or family member.
Ensure your volume is pre-set to what’s just right.
See if the lighting is optimal.
Consider your internet connection, is it generally stable or do you need to book or borrow a space where connectivity is almost guaranteed.
Be prepared for gremlins, so can you swap your laptop for a phone should things become problematic or swap a Skype call for a Zoom call. Be ready to think on your feet should things go wrong, but keep calm.
Make sure your Skype profile pic is professional and that your name and details reflect the same sentiment.
Finally, when it’s time for your interview, close all other tabs and applications that may distract during the call. You don’t want a WhatsApp message pinging mid-interview. The same goes for your phone, turn it to silent.
Practice a mock interview (a few times over). And record yourself! Practice looking directly into the camera and not the screen. Avoid distraction, for example seeing your image in the small screen in the corner. Get used to ‘you’ being there and after a quick check that you appear just fine on the other end, look back in the camera.
Look – behind you!
Select your interview space beforehand. Ensure that what’s behind you is not distracting. A clean, neat background is best. Brief your family to keep the pets and children at bay. You need a quiet environment to take your interview.
Avoid this! ↓
Dress for success
Wear what you would have to a face-to-face interview and dress in full! No smart interview-esque top accessorised with pajama bottoms. What if you need to get up to switch rooms? Try and stick to plain colours, not too many patterns in your outfit (stripes are notorious for creating a ‘wobbly’ visual effect which could be off putting). Keep it simple – for the win.
As you commence
Check that you are heard and seen clearly as you commence the interview. Ensure that you are comfortable with the quality of what you see and hear on your end too. If the visual or audio is not clear, speak up.
In a virtual setting, you will rely more than ever on the non-verbal. Sit up straight, smile, make eye contact (look at the camera). Show your passion for the role that you are pursuing. Nothing over the top needed, but try to get your enthusiasm across. (Make it part of your practice, above!)
A virtual interview lends itself to crib notes! Draw them up, use them, but avoid detection! (top tip: stick post it notes close to the web cam with bullet points you want to get across) Practice will help you here to seamlessly draw on this aid without sounding ‘read’ or being distracted by paper.
Follow up no-no
Whatever you do, do not use Skype messenger to send a follow-up message. This is casual and most likely unwelcome on the recruiters/employers’ end. Instead, write a follow-up thank you email as you would have done post a one-to-one interview.