Monday, October 3, 2011

Tips for Video (Skype) Interviewing

Recently there has been a trend toward Video Interviewing.  In the HCIT Industry this can save Hospitals and Consulting Firms big money by eliminating the travel costs of an onsite interview.  Below are some do's and don'ts for video interviews and some tips as well.

1.  Make sure your laptop or desktop is compatible with skype technology  (some companies are using other providers such as AT&T online for video interviews) There will normally be an application that you will have to download to your computer.
2.  Check to make sure you have a camera on your computer or you have a fully functional web cam that you can attach to your computer.
3.  If your computer is not compatible you might be able to use your smart or droid phone instead.

With the technology piece out of the way....

4.  Do a trial call with a family member or friend.
5.  Make sure you are in a well lit room.  NO BACK LIGHTING!  If you have a light source behind you it will cast a shadow over your face and make it very difficult for the viewer to see you and your expressions.  Preferably the light should be in front of you and not so bright that it whites out your face. (an overhead light will cast shadows under your eyes and nose which can cause you to look ill or tired)
6.  The camera should be at or slightly below face level.  Anything else creates an awkward perspective for the viewer. (The camera should be arms length from your face... 3 to 4 ft)
7.  Clear the clutter from behind you.  Locate yourself in front of a blank wall or one with minimal artwork.  DO NOT HAVE A WINDOW BEHIND YOU (see #5)  Having sports memorabilia or family photos in the background is fine but less is more. 
8.  Keep pets and children out of the room.  This is an interview, you should imagine you are in someone else's office.  You wouldn't bring your kids or your cat to an onsite interview.
9.  Focus on the computer screen and the person or people speaking to you.  Looking around, out the window, etc can show disinterest on your part.
10.  Wear something presentable, wear a medium colored professional shirt.  White can wash you out and dark colors can disappear into the background. (you dont want "the floating head" appearance :) ) While you can get away with only looking professional from the waist up... my suggestion would be to dress professionally from head to toe.  God Forbid you have to stand up for any reason during the interview and the potential employer sees you're in sweats or your tighty-whities!
11.  Do your hair... treat this as you would any interview and make yourself presentable.  First impressions last and they can be the make-it or break-it of the job opportunity.  Ladies... if you normally wear make up and you have a light skin-tone, consider wearing slightly darker base.  Remember to do a practice run to see how you appear to the viewer prior to the actual interview.
12.  Be in a quiet place.  You want as little background noise as possible.  If this means you have to go to a hotel room or friends house... do it.  Kids yelling, dogs barking, dryers buzzing etc is a huge distraction. (the bathroom or your car are not good options)
13.  Its always good to have a copy of your resume in front of you as you may have to refer to it to answer specific questions.
14.  TURN OFF YOUR PHONES!  This is obvious but you'd be surprised how many people forget to do this. 
15.  Once you've made introductions, ask the viewer if they can see you clearly, make any necessary camera, lighting or situational adjustments at the beginning of the interview.
16.  Relax and enjoy the interview, but be mindful of your posture, facial expressions and attention span during the call.  Act as if you are sitting in front of the viewer in the same room.
17.  If possible turn the section of the computer screen off that allows you to see yourself.  Many people get so distracted by how they look or how they're presenting themselves that they don't behave naturally. Doing that trial run prior to the interview will help you to become accustomed to how you appear on camera.
See my upcoming blog on General Interview Tips for hints regarding the interview process.

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  1. Thank YOU for the tips regarding video (Skype) Interview - I will use almost ALL! Appreciate your blog... DAS

  2. Excellent post! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Via Linkedin: Cherie: Thank you for the Skype interview tips. I read everything you put on Linked - so useful and helpful. I really appreciate !!! By Xilin George

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