A Helping of Useful Skype Interview Tips
Technological developments of countless varieties have collectively reconfigured the sociocultural landscape in ways even the most visionary of science-fiction writers failed to predict. And while this truth is relevant across virtually every industry (transportation, medicine, retail), it is arguably most pronounced in the field of communication. Telecommunication now exists as a window into an increasingly interconnected world, with social media and general Internet access bridging physical and temporal divides between individuals and, perhaps, societies more broadly.
Video has taken on new life in recent years, with software advances allowing for reliable, clear audio/visual streaming via Internet connectivity and the necessary hardware (computer, tablet, mobile telephone). Socially speaking, this advent has led both to enriched conversational interactions via electronic interfacing and to a burgeoning of amateur video content creation. From a professional standpoint, sophisticated video capabilities have allowed for companies to conduct internal meetings, sales pitches, and public-facing presentations, once requiring a physical presence in shared space, via digital medium.
Personal Vetting from Afar
Such capabilities have also seen things change for human resources departments and hiring managers, as one of the most crucial applicant screening measures—the interview—no longer necessitates in-person meetings. Companies are able to remotely interface with candidates via video conferencing software such as Skype, which is a logistical godsend for those doing the hiring while being more convenient in most cases for the interviewee as well. But while the concept of video interviewing is appealing from a strictly practical standpoint, there are certain Skype interview tips an applicant should keep in mind, even those with some experience using the technology.
Rehearsal and Presentation
One of the more important tips for a Skype interview is that of presentation. This is equally applicable for face-to-face interviews but is frequently marginalized by those new to the video alternative. Speaking with a recruiter or hiring manager from the comfort of one’s home office can lead to a casual mentality regarding the format. In fact, Skype is merely the medium, which should not diminish the interview’s significance. Dressing professionally is a given, as is making certain the surrounding the setting is acceptable. Unlike with a traditional interview, you must give thought to the staging of your background.
Make certain to scrutinize both your appearance and your setting by viewing yourself via the same lens you will use when being interviewed. This will provide you with a sense of what the other party will be seeing, and how it all comes together. Even experienced video interviewers should periodically perform this exercise to ensure their technology is properly conveying video footage.
Sound dilemmas have been the undoing of many otherwise technically stable video interviews, which makes this tip crucial. If possible, subject your speakers and microphone to testing by conducting a video conference with a friend or colleague whose own system is largely reliable, thereby allowing you to gauge sound quality on both your side of the equation and the other. Audio hardware tends to be reliable these days, but there is no harm in confirming both that you will be able to hear and that you will be heard.
Filming under ideal lighting is a consistent priority (and a common challenge) for all filmmakers. Cameras are sensitive to changes in illumination and keeping a person or object visible in the frame requires a conscientiousness generally associated with skilled cinematographers. Which brings us to this tip for a Skype interview: You are your own cinematographer. Just as checking your sound equipment is highly important, so too is assessing how you will appear under the lighting conditions of your chosen interviewing location. No need to get too inventive on this front, just so long as you are not concealed from view or utterly washed out.
Remember: You Are Interviewing
With a modicum of preparation and close attention to the technical details, your Skype interview will probably come to pass without encountering any major setbacks. Properly evaluate your hardware (and software, for that matter) and give yourself a close look in the Skype “mirror” well before establishing a video connection. Once you have done so, bear in mind that you are, in fact, interviewing. Set aside the familiar environment, the absence of a car ride, the signing in with a receptionist – once the Skype meeting is underway, you are interviewing precisely as you would in person. Speak clearly, maintain eye contact (this you should practice), and behave with pronounced professionalism. Skype is merely the means, it does not negate the need for proper interview conduct. It can doubtless prove challenging to bear that much in mind but doing so will reflect well on you. Not to mention, demonstrating a command of the technology might serve as a reflection on your overall competence.
And, please, check the lighting.