It’s the norm for many of us to use Skype or Facetime or Google Hangouts as a regular means of communication; and in the world of interviewing internationally, it’s something that saves time and opens up possibilities. So expect to do more of it! Here’s our 5 top tips to make your next one light up your interviewer’s day:
Check your Tech
There’s nothing more frustrating and distracting than technology not working, so make sure that if it happens, it’s not your fault. Are you somewhere with adequate bandwidth to handle video? Is the device you’re using enabled for the right software? Does your camera and microphone work? You can pre-test all these things – do a dry run with someone else. It will flag up any issues. Borrow someone’s else device/connection/apartment if you need to!
Look good on Camera
Make sure that everything is coming across loud and clear and putting you in the best possible light. In fact, this is the key issue. Don’t sit with your back to a window or electric light. You will become a silhouette on screen which is discomforting for the interviewer. Draw the curtains in the room if possible and use enough overhead lighting to illuminate you evenly. Also, check what else is nearby in view when you are sat there, comfortably ready to begin. Move distracting items. Remove moving items (including noisy or bouncy pets). Avoid having political posters or reflective surfaces behind you which will draw the eye away from you. And make sure you are looking as you would for a face to face interview. The camera will make you look worse than in a real situation. It will exaggerate any imperfections, so get your hair straight and make sure your clothes neat, ironed and clean.
Act like any other interview
You need to be as prepared as any other interview. In our experience, this format merely saves time and expense in the process. It is not seen as less important in decision making. Do your home work and make notes about what you want to say and think through answers to questions they may ask.
Make the most of the unseen
Unlike other face to face interviews, you can have all your preparation and notes spread out in front of you but firmly out of sight of the camera, either on a board or wall behind your camera/screen or on the surface of the table/desk you are using. Make the most of this privilege but maintain eye contact with your interviewer. Don’t sit there reading – it will be obvious what you’re doing, and it will be very off-putting.
Energy, yes, but not too much
The small screen amplifies the visual. Not just your imperfections as already mentioned, but also your movements. So control your body. Try not to rock back and forwards when talking. Most tend to lean into the screen, which can seem either aggressive or tense, neither of which is positive. Find an upright yet comfortable chair if possible and be aware of maintaining contact with the back of it. By all means move, but don’t let your back leave the chair’s back for more than a few seconds. Practise sitting with your arms on the arms of the chair or resting lightly together on the table or desk in front. You can use them to gesticulate mildly but, as a rule, not beyond the confines of the screen in front. Leaving the camera view will make them seem like they are being waved wildly around even when they are not. Let your lively and varied tone of voice and facial expressions carry the day in this instance.
Practise these things and prepare and you will give yourself not only the best chance but also more confidence in the actual interview, and this is what usually wins the day, whatever the means of communication: phone, video or face to face!