Video chat type job interview is on the rise across many sectors. According to figures released by The Aberdeen Group, a market research firm, over 10% of US based companies used real time two-way video software to interview candidates. If you are about to attend this type of interview, you will do well to read and follow up on the following tips to reduce stress and increase your chances of success.
Software – Most interviews are conducted using the free software Skype or GoToMeeting. Both are not only free, but also cross-platform, meaning that you install the software on your desktop, laptop or tablet devices. Skype also works well on smartphones, but this device isn’t recommended for jobs interviews. Smartphones are prone for interruptions (in-coming call, text message etc) and battery life is often insufficient. Whichever software you use, install, configure and get to know it well before the interview starts.
Configure With Some Thought – Popular video chat software such as Google Hangouts, Viber and Skype require a mandatory username and optional profile picture. Whichever username you pick, be sure it is suitable for the occasion. It will be visible to the interviewer so using a combination of your name is preferable over nickname for example. Similarly, the profile picture is visible to the other party. Once you have signed up and configured the software, send your username to the recruiter.
Pick The Right Settings – The interview should take place in a well-lit noiseless area where background noise is muted and the backdrop won’t distract you or the interviewer. A meeting room is the optimal location if you have access to one. If you are conducting the interview at home, be sure to check and if necessary tidy-up the background behind you. Use the software ‘picture-in-picture’ feature to see how the other party sees you and your surroundings. If possible, disconnect your landline phone, leave a note on the doorbell asking to knock instead of ringing the bell and close the door behind you.
Practice – For most candidates, video chat job interview is new. You will improve your chances tremendously by taking a dry run at it in the form of mock interview. Ask a family member, friend, even an agency recruiter to interview you over video.
Dress The Part – Perhaps one of the most common mistakes that can negatively affect your chances is not dressing professionally head to toe. Beyond studies that clearly demonstrate that dressing accordingly helps you get into the right mindset, there is a chance that the interviewer will see your entire stature. Dressing code tips which are designed for normal face-to-face interviews apply here as well. You should aim to wear solid colour suit with white long sleeve shirt and tie. Dark socks with black shoes can complete your look. Pay attention to your hairstyle and avoid wearing too much jewellery.
During The Interview – Just before the interview starts, switch off all non-essential software to reduce interruption. Look at the camera, not the screen. This is the nearest you will get to make eye contact with the interviewer, a recommended job interview technique to establish rapport. If you look at the screen, you will lose eye contact and you risk coming across disinterested to the other party. If you require notes (even a copy of your CV) for the interview, prepare these before hand. The noise that searching for papers makes isn’t pleasant to the other party.
Troubleshooting – Technology can at time let you down. However, this is actually your chance to shine. Recruiters often look for ‘problem solvers’ and overcoming an obstacle during an interview will demonstrate just that. If video connection was lost, wait for the initiator to call you back. During which time, you should try and setup a backup device in case your main device is at fault. Other actions to consider:
Check your Internet connection
Check the software on your backup device
Connect your homepage or switch on your mobile phone in case the interviewer is trying to get a hold of you
Check your email for the same reason
If all fails, ask the interviewer to continue the interview over phone.
Ending – After the interview is over, email the interviewer thanking them for the opportunity, their time and advising that you are prepared to answer any further questions they might have.
Written by The Carling Partnership Ltd (CPL) an international search and selection company working exclusively within the brewing, distilling, cider and soft drinks industries.