You know the feeling?! You open the inbox for your usual refresher and there it is, the long awaited email has finally come through. You’ve been selected for an interview! Yesssss. There’s just one hiccup; they want to do it over Skype or Google Hangout. What do you need to do? How do you get prepared? I have 9 simple hints to help you ace the interview like a pro.
Tech or gadget laggards will hate this, but if you are someone who wants to use the interview as an opportunity for the company to get to know you (and be impressed by you) as a person, Skype or Google Hangout is preferable to a phone interview every time. It shows hiring professionals like recruiters or HR managers so much more about who you are and how you will fit into their team.
So, prep for your interview as per usual and then make sure you’ve got all your Skype or Google Hangout bases covered.
#1. No Excuses
If you’re asked to do a Skype or Google Hangout interview, just answer yes and get ready! Excuses such as you’d rather interview over the phone, or that you have a crappy internet connection, or that you don’t have Skype is a total fail. You’ve just killed your first interview question. If you want this job, find a way to make it work, even if it’s not convenient. You wouldn’t be the first person to download Skype, create an account, and immediately email your interviewer back with a yes and your username.
#2. Ensure to Use a Professional Username
Anything that is difficult to read or in any way resembles your Tinder or Instagram screenname is making a bad first impression. Keep it professional and searchable – use your name.
#3. First Impressions Count, Especially on Camera
Just because you’re not meeting “in person” does not mean you should wear your gym gear. I’m not suggesting that you wear a suit, but you should wear whatever you would wear to an in-person interview. And shower. I am not kidding! Be fresh – look fresh! Plus, dressing like you’re going in for an in-person interview will help you feel like you’re at an in-person interview.
#4. Check Your Background – Check Your Location
Location, Location, Location. It really matters. Set up a clean, neutral background with good lighting. Avoid messy rooms or sitting in front of a window (backlighting is bad!), and public spaces like cafes.
#5. Use a Headset that Works with Your Laptop
I conduct approximately 5 – 10 Skype session every week and I love it when clients use a headphone set or even your smartphone headphones with the microphone. Use one. This is particularly important if there if your environment isn’t nice and quiet as your computer microphone will pick up a lot of background noise. By using a headset, your interviewer will be able to hear you more clearly and with less distracting background noises.
#6. Keep Your Eyes on the Webcam
As strange as it might feel, keep your eyes focused on your webcam, not the screen. (a simple helper – place a small sticky note below the webcam and draw a smile on it) It will make you seem all the more present and personable.
My Tip: If using a laptop or tablet, place it on a stand or stack of books to get the camera at eye-level. Check your camera and all the other settings (click here for Skype and here for Google Hangout). Trust me, it’s a more flattering angle.
#7. Keep Calm During Tech Glitches
Stuff happens …. most interviewers understands that. If something goes wrong or plays up, remain calm and professional while you troubleshoot. Don’t be afraid to ask to hang up the call and try again if your Skype is freezing up. It proves that you can deal with tech glitches without losing your calm.
#8. Prepare = Come Prepared
Know your tools and test your tools. Maybe even make a test call with a friend or family member to make sure your audio and camera are working fine. Ask them how you sound, if they can see you clearly, and how the lighting is, etc.
#9. Guarantee Absolutely NO Interruptions
That’s not just telling your flatmate to steer clear. Think about that barking dog or maybe even the crying baby. Manage the things you can control ahead of the event. Turn off any notifications on your computer. Silence your mobile phone. Close your mail client, Facebook and other networking apps. J You know the drill.
It’s a job interview, so come prepared and treat the Skype or Google Hangout interview as you would any in-person interview. Be professional and likeable and ace it.
Give cues that you’re actively listening. Ask well thought out questions. Send a sincere thank you note when the interview is finished. And, most importantly, don’t rush things during the interview. Remember to hunt wisely!