Love it or loathe it, Skype and video is becoming a regular part of the recruitment process. Market research found that 42% of companies were using video interviews to recruit senior executives, management and entry-level positions, compared to just 10% 4 years ago.
Despite the increasingly widespread use of Skype in the recruitment process, the techniques of mastering a Skype interview are only just beginning to be recognised. It is not uncommon for candidates to regard the Skype round of the interview as a bit of a synch and that the second round will be in the bag.
With this almost flippant attitude, making a Skype interview blunder can happen more often than you might think.
The trick is to be aware of the potential pitfalls. Here are the five main blunders and advice on how to avoid them:
No internet connectivity
You’re about to whittle on about your past experience and qualifications and the internet connection is abruptly lost. And so is your chance to shine. The likelihood of this potential mishap occurring can be reduced by ensuring your connection is stable ahead of the interview.
While this can happen at any time, if you know your connection can be flaky then make arrangements to be in a place where you’re not worrying about it. The less stress before an interview the better.
Spend several minutes chatting to a friend on Skype beforehand and making sure nobody else in the household is downloading or streaming from the internet will give you the confidence that the video meeting will occur without any connection hiccups.
Also make sure that your equipment is set up correctly and that any interviewer can clearly hear and see you. And don’t forget to check you have a professional looking set up.
An unprofessional Skype name
Handing your potential boss a Skype ID that reads “GangsterGordon” or “SallyisSexy” will not paint in you a very professional manner. Small things can make a big difference and cause you to lose your potential dream job – bosses could remember that you don’t portray a professional image, or don’t take things seriously.
Instead choose a username that is professional. It is generally advised that your Skype ID comprises of your first initial and surname. If such an ID is already taken, use a variation that includes your middle name or middle name’s initial.
Neglecting your appearance
Just because the interview is being conducted from the convenience of your own home doesn’t mean you should make a mockery of it by wearing your pyjamas, not brushing your hair, having tomato ketchup smeared across your face or having the cat sat on your knee.
Treat a Skype interview as you would a face-to-face interview. Look smart and wear the appropriate clothes. If you wear a suit/smart clothing, then make sure it’s complete and not just where the camera is pointing – you never know what may happen. Plus don’t have anything untoward or distracting in the vicinity of the camera.
Avoiding eye contact
The golden rule of practicing confident eye contact in an interview still needs to be applied in Skype meetings. Granted, avoiding eye contact on a Skype video call is not always deliberate, as many users tend to look at the screen instead of the camera or look to notes and a CV.
Maintain direct eye contact with the employer by looking at your webcam and not at the screen or, worse still, gazing out the window. As in the case of a face-to-face interview, you’ll be giving the impression that you’re not interested, going through the motions, or lacking in confidence.
Your phone goes off every other minute
It stands to reason we turn off our mobile phones before we go into an interview room. The same level of caution – and respect – should be applied with Skype interviews. Though as these types of meetings are conducted at home, you may have more than just your mobile phone to switch off.
As well as putting your mobile on silent, or switching it off altogether, take the landline phone off the hook, put a note on the door saying you are occupied for the next 30 minutes and turn off any potential distractions. Make sure you let any other members of the household know beforehand as well, so they can minimise any noise as well.
Now, and only now, you are ready to ace that all important Skype interview.
Adam Marsh is a digital marketing consultant for Adria Solutions.