Some people love them. Some people hate them, but video interviews are becoming more common. According to PR Newswire (Newswire Survey), more than 63% of US human resource (HR) managers surveyed now use video to interview job applicants and the number is growing every year. For candidates, they can mean being interviewed in a familiar setting without the time and hassle involved in traveling to a company. Here are some tips for a successful Skype interview:
- Clear all clutter from your desk and in sight of the camera. You want the area to look clean and professional. A plain wall behind you is least distracting.
- If you are considering ‘dressing for success’ only from the waist up, think about the effect if you have to stand up for any reason. Wear non-patterned, darker colors.
- Bright overhead or flourescent lights can make you look pale with dark shadows. Natural light from a window or a desk lamp on each side of you is better.
- Call a friend or family member to check that lighting, microphone and speakers are working so you can be seen and heard clearly. Use a headset if they can’t hear you.
- Remember to look into the camera and not at the screen to maintain ‘eye contact’ with the interviewer when you are speaking.
- Keep your chin up a bit. Raising your computer on books and sitting back a little so they can see more of you will generally give you a better look. Don’t lean your elbows on the desk and hunch over the screen. Again, have a friend guide you for the best angle.
- Nervous gestures are particularly noticeable on camera so ask friends and family for feedback on those as well.
- Keep pets out of the room. Nothing says ‘professional’ like a barking dog or a cat walking across the keyboard.
- Don’t forget to smile and show enthusiasm. We’re often more subdued on video.
According to the BBC, another growing trend is giving video "questionnaires" for candidates to record. Some companies also use professional services where you go to their studio and answer questions to a video camera. This is not easy so practice by speaking to a video camera if you have one or any other object in your home.