Technology is transforming the interview process, replacing traditional boardroom-based meetings with one-to-ones over Skype. And while screen time with friends and family might be second nature to you, an online interview is a completely different conversation.
On top of old-school requirements like researching the company, selling your skills and asking insightful questions, the Skype interview demands a new level of preparation. Your tech’s got to be up to scratch, your backdrop needs to be camera ready and - without the power of physical presence - you need to work harder to convey your charisma.
But this could be your first step towards your dream job, so it’s worth getting right.
1. Just do it
Even if you’re totally new to Skype, don’t let on to your potential employer. Just accept the interview with gusto and get downloading. Select a professional username when creating your profile, then swot up on all things Skype using the ‘Help’ pages of their website. Don’t lose precious points with excuses about sluggish broadband or a broken laptop. If needed, tap your contacts to source kit you can rely on.
2. Location, location, location
Select a well-lit spot where you’re guaranteed to project a professional image. Choose a background that’s neutral, uncluttered and free of personal possessions. Do everything possible to avoid interruptions, so silence phones, email alerts and other distracting noises, make sure your housemates know you’re on a career-critical call and ensure pets are safely out the room. If needed, arrange childcare for the duration of your meeting, plus a little extra in case of delays.
3. Look sharp
Wear the same smart clothes you’d wear to a face-to-face interview, which means doing your homework about the dress code of that company. Err on the suited and booted side, so you’re not discounted for being too casual. And make sure you dress the part from head to toe – you don’t want to be stuck showing your pyjama bottoms if you’re forced to stand up unexpectedly.
4. Do some dry runs
Remote interviews take practice, so stage some warm up sessions either alone or with a business-minded friend. Work on your presentation, posture, body language and tone of voice, aiming for a natural, engaging delivery with plenty of eye contact. You’ll connect with your interviewer far quicker if you’ve worked out the fundamentals beforehand.
5. Get the tech right
Even IT professionals fall prey to technical problems, so double check your equipment well before logging on. Test your microphone to eliminate echoes and consider investing in a headset for optimum sound quality. On Skype, making eye contact means looking into your webcam, rather than watching your partner (or the mini screen of yourself) – again, practice makes perfect. Also, make sure your device is robust enough to handle the call. Skype themselves advise ‘at least 1.2Mbps of bandwidth for a good quality HD video’.
And if a glitch does interrupt your flow, stay calm and fix the issue, restarting the call if necessary. Remember, keeping cool in the face of a frozen screen shows them you can perform under pressure.
6. Sell yourself on screen
Finally, bring all the enthusiasm, confidence and interest you’d deliver in person. Subtle body language gets lost on the small screen, so send plenty of active listening signals and make sure your voice projects your passion for the role.
Best of luck with your interview.
For more help from Capita on securing your next career move, contact us today.
Read our related blog: Five tech trends for 2016