Recruitment and first-round interviews via media such as Skype and Zoom are becoming popular, and even more so now in the time of covid-19. This approach requires a change of tack on interviewer and interviewee sides respectively. Here are our top pointers.
Note: generally we would say to try and get yourself in front of your interviewer in person. A one-to-one meeting beats any online interview. However, under current circumstances – thinking coronavirus – more and more recruiters and companies are turning towards the online. It only makes sense!
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; swap your laptop for a phone or swap a Skype call for a Zoom call should tech issues arise. 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 pyjama 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 – as 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 webcam 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.
Wishing you the best for your interview!