One thing I’ve learnt after a long time in this business is that the interviewer and the interviewee have something in common – both want you to succeed in getting the job. These are some tips to enable you to show your best side when skyping.
The best thing to remember when skyping is it’s still a job interview and you should conduct yourself accordingly – being on time, well presented and ready for a good discussion.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK / DRESS CODE
Research the company’s products & services (their website/social media) and who’s going to interview you (LinkedIn) and this will give you a clue to what their culture is like and thus their dress code. When In doubt it’s always best to overdress than underdress. Smart & tidy but also a good shirt - patterned shirts tends to stand out over a plain shirt on camera I’ve found.
Make sure you have a nice quiet room and a good backdrop (plain wall ideally, with no clutter in the room) as these first impressions are crucial to get off to a good start. The idea of a skype video call is for the interviewer to eyeball you and make sure you don’t have three heads! Also it’s good to set the camera in which your head is not too big on the screen & if you do use a mobile or iPad keep it still – I tend to get motion sickness when candidates move around! Remember to also set your profile photo to be professional.
Go through the Job Description and look at the key points they’re looking for in the role and make some bullet point notes on stickies placed in front of you. These might include some key technical points, languages, technologies or projects to remind you to cover off. These are just a reference so remember stay focused on the interviewer, and don't forget to look at the camera on your device! A pet peeve, don't google it if you're not sure of the answer to something - we can tell. Just be honest.
NEVER BE LATE
You’ve got ONE SHOT to get it right! Or too EARLY for that matter….You can wait on-line until the interviewer connects with you.....
DOUBLE CHECK THE TIME & DATE
Look to connect or accept a skype contact request that will come through before your meeting and this will (hopefully) ensure a smooth connection.
BODY LANGUAGE / COMMUNICATION
Remember to smile and engage with your interviewer keeping eye contact. Also be prepared to deal with any technical skype issues, if your connection is flaky, you might want to ‘drop the camera’ going to just audio or re-connecting the call. You can also use the messaging window to send a text for a link or a particular spelling of a term or if you're having volume issues.
Sometimes you might even have to re-start your machine if it’s a major issue, but deal with it straight away and move on. Also be prepared to be available on mobile it all goes pear shaped have your mobile charged up, on and ready to go to continue on a phone call and finish off the meeting.
Have pen & paper & next to you to make any notes, a glass of water or your coffee as you can get dry with all that talking. Again remember what’s printed on the mug or glass……everything is on display!
PREPARE 8-12 QUESTIONS TO ASK AT THE END
…so you can ask 2-3 killer questions that are different in content to the info you’ve already discussed so you can FINISH STRONGLY…In psychology we have the primacy & recency effect - like your Mother taught you – (first impressions are very important) and last impressions are also important…so remember a friendly welcome to start the skype meeting & have some great questions to finish up with which will show you’re interested in the position, the company & working for them.
May the force (of skype or video for that matter) be with you!
Paul is founder & director of sunstonetalent.com, an IT recruitment consultancy that works with Christchurch & South Island companies and candidates looking for IT jobs in Christchurch & the South Island of New Zealand