Skype interviewing is gaining popularity with employers as an effective method for screening candidates when location prohibits a face to face interview. Like the phone interview, Skype or other online video interviewing services require different preparation.
At Mizzou Law, the Tech Suite (room 111) is set up for both Skype interviews and Point to Point Video Conferencing. Students can reserve the room through the Career Development Office in room 103. Some students also opt to conduct the interview using their own computer. Regardless of where you select to do your Skype interview, here are a few tips for preparation.
- Visuals Matter – In the Tech Room, you will be sitting at the conference table with a blank wall behind you. If you choose to do the interview from home, sitting at a desk that has a plain, neutral background is best. Eliminate any clutter on the desk. Make sure that the lighting is complimentary. Setting up two lamps on either side and a little in front of you will be helpful. Make sure they will not show in the camera view.
- Dress the Part - Dress in traditionally conservative interview attire but since it will be in front of a camera, avoid striped shirts or tightly woven hounds tooth. They tend to have a movement of their own in the camera. Sticking with solids is best. You might want to have a little color in the shirt or the tie, which will keep you from looking washed out. Don’t be tempted to wear a suit jacket with shorts or pajama bottoms. You may need to get up to adjust the camera or computer!
- Do a Trial Run - Dress professionally and do a mock Skype interview with a friend or someone from the Career Development Office. Have everything set up like it will be for the real interview. In the Tech Suite, you can save the interview on a thumb drive and review it afterwards. Practice is always wise, but in this case it is imperative to make sure everything functions and looks correct.
- Positioning Yourself - Make sure that the camera view shows your head, shoulders and hands. So much of communication is non-verbal; having your hands visible is helpful. Sit up straight and lean forward slightly to show you are engaged. Look straight into the camera rather than at your image in the upper right-hand corner. This will give the impression of strong eye contact. For some, it might be helpful to put a sticky note over your image on the computer screen to keep from being distracted. In the Tech Suite you will need to put an 81/2″ x 11″ sheet of paper over the image. Don’t forget to smile and show enthusiasm even if you are talking to a camera lens!
- Sound Strong - Talk clearly and fluidly. It is easy to talk over people on Skype; there is often a very slight delay. Pause and be sure to wait for the interviewer to stop speaking before you answer. This will also give you a few seconds to compose your answer.
- Plan for Technological Difficulties – If using the Tech Suite, ask to have someone from the Help Desk available for set up when you schedule the room. If Skyping from home, have your computer plugged in rather than relying on a battery. Plug into an internet connection instead of depending on wireless. Have your cell phone with the interviewer’s phone number near, just in case you have connection issues you will be able to continue by phone.