Congratulations! Your résumé has sealed you an interview for your dream job at an exciting startup that has many career growth prospects. However, the job is out of state and instead of flying you in or conducting the interview over the phone, HR has requested that you be available via Skype for a video interview. Having only done traditional interviews, you’re wondering how a Skype interview differs and what you can do to be prepared when the interview date arrives. So, here are four tips to getting ready for a Skype job interview.
Test your microphone and camera
Make sure you check the functionality of your microphone and webcam well ahead of time to avoid an awkward delay in your interview or, worse yet, having it rescheduled. A typical day in the life of a recruiter is hectic. Attending training sessions, booking accommodations for job fairs, researching post-secondary programs, and of course conducting interviews are just a few of the activities that fall into a recruiter's schedule. So be respectful of their time by doing a practice run with a friend or by using the Skype test video tool. That way, you’ll be sure there are no delays on your end caused by mandatory microphone software updates or webcam setting adjustments.
Look the part
Even though the old saying goes “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” few recruiters take that phrase to heart when conducting interviews. Studies show that upon meeting for the first time, it only takes two seconds for individuals to size one another up. And in the limited amount of time available during an interview appointment, interviewers almost always look for cues in your attire and body language to better gauge whether you’re the right fit for the company.
Unless you’re certain that more casual interview-wear is accepted and encouraged, play it safe by dressing business formal. For men, this means a button-up collared shirt paired with a tie and matching pants and jacket. For women, dress pants or skirt with matching jacket and dress-material top or blouse is appropriate. For more pointers on dressing business formal, check out these tips from the University of California.
When it comes to body language, make sure you give off signs of confidence. Make frequent eye contact by looking into the camera lens. Maintain good posture and avoid crossing your arms. "Arms crossed over your chest signal defensiveness and resistance," says international communications expert Karen Friedman. "When they're open at your sides you appear more approachable." For more body language advice, take a look at CareerBuilder’s list of do’s and don’ts.
Consider the background
What’s in view behind you is important as well. Make sure the space is tidy and that no distracting elements are visible. Junk food, pictures from last year’s alcohol-fueled bachelor party, dirty laundry, and leftovers from breakfast are just a few items that should be away from the camera’s line of vision. By setting up your laptop in front of a clutter-free background that contains a few “safe” items like a plant, some family pictures, or some non-controversial books, you’re likely to convey a more corporate-friendly image that recruiters are looking for.
Verify the time zone
If the company you’re interviewing with is located out of state, be sure to double-check the time and time zone for which your appointment is scheduled. That way, you won’t still be in your pajamas enjoying your morning cup of coffee in Seattle while the recruiter in New York City is cursing your name for wasting his time.
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