After registering with 80 job boards who all have a different password format to ensure that you will never be able to log-in again, you have applied for 3,000 jobs and finally a response. Youare moved almost to tears at the sheer ecstasy of securing an interview, until you are told that it will be a video interview using skype. Panic sets in. Sweat runs down your brow, you are not very photogenic, you are the kind of person who gets nervous watching other people have photos taken, your nose looks big on video, what if they don’t like your wallpaper….
Relax and follow this guide to help smooth the whole thing out:
Avoid the fatal error, avoid complacency!
The first mistake many people make is the assumption that well at least I’m in a comfortable and familiar environment, so I can relax. No you cannot. I know people who have undertaken video interviews with a shirt and tie on their top half and pyjamas on the bottom. It doesn’t work, it is a psychological thing, it is a mind thing. You have to treat this exactly the same way you would a face to face formal interview. There is no room for complacency.
When you accept and confirm your telephone interview time, ensure if possible that they are calling you on a landline and ideally whilst you are at home, or at the very least where you have absolute privacy and peace and quiet with no distractions. Cell phones can be unreliable and you can guarantee that just when the interview is going really well, the network will crash.
Treat the telephone or video interview just as you would a face to face in their office, sorry I know I’m repeating myself, but it is critical. Research the company, their culture, their successes, their history. Visit social media sites such as Linkedin and Facebook to see who works there, what they are saying, what their professional backgrounds are. It is a great feeling when you notice that their staff retention is well above average, that all the feedback, all the chatter is really positive and especially when you realise that many of them seem to be like you. Visit websites such as Glassdoor and see if anyone has posted a review about the organisation and the culture.
Read the job spec, understand it. If you haven’t got one then find one from a similar type of firm. If the one you have is limited in terms of detail then get on facebook or Linkedin and check out what people in that company are doing in that type of job, what have they got on their profiles.
Check Twitter to see what other noise or chatter is coming out of that organisation.
Really important is to check news and press releases. If the organisation has just announced a huge acquisition or an expansion plan, maybe an IPO you need to know and you need to show in the interview that you know.
Set the Stage
Okay so you have all the information, you have done the preparation and you are raring to go. If it is a video interview check your PC and make sure that your webcam works, get someone to skype test you and tell you how the setting looks. Move your desk or PC if you have to, you only have one chance to get this absolutely right.
If it is a telephone interview, choose somewhere to sit or stand where you are going to be comfortable. My preference is to stand, it prevents you from slouching, makes you more alert and in my case I always walk around when I am on the phone (it may be nervous energy or maybe it is just energy). It is very common for telephone interviews to run well over their allocated time, especially if they are going well, providing of course that you aren’t the one doing all the talking. So make sure you have some water available.
You equipment works, you have set up the location, you have notes to hand,there is a jug of water to one side. What next?
You and your personal appearance. Yes, regardless of whether it is a telephone or a video interview you need to prepare yourself. Have an early night the evening before, look good and feel sharp. Have a shower, dress appropriately, if you work in a suit and tie or a less formal environment then dress accordingly. It has a psychological impact, it works. If you are a guy, have a shave, comb your hair.
Finally do some facial and oral stretching execises. Sing a song, hum a tune, pull faces, stretch those muscles, laugh out loud and relaaaaaaaaax… People always look at me strangely when I recommend they pull faces at themselves in the mirror. It is however virtually impossible to do so without laughing, laughter releases hormones and peptides which relax you, make you feel better, look better and respond more better.
Here we go, you are all set….
More information on this subject can be found here: BBC – Skype Interviews
Please feel free to share any ideas or suggestions that may improve this post and help people get the best results out of their interviews.