Using Skype for Your Job Interview: Jeff Garber of 360 Job Interview On What You Need To Know
An increasing number of employers are leveraging Skype video to conduct face-to-face job interviews. This is often a first step to screen out candidates who seemed “good on paper” but didn’t have what the employer really needed. Employers feel that a Skype job video interview provides a cost-effective way to see the candidate interact with new technology, express themselves on video (an increasingly important task today) and deal with a complex situation.
Recently I had the opportunity to talk with Jeff Garber, the CEO of 360JobInterview about this powerful use of Skype. His company specializes in coaching job seekers on how to present their “best foot forward” in that all-important job interview. They use Skype extensively to connect job seekers with highly-trainer coaches and counselors through Skype video. This gives the job seeker a place to get assistance and improve their video presentation skills.
Here are two versions of the video interview. First, a shorter version for the “time-pressed with a hectic schedule but need to see this” and a longer, “rich information-packed version.” Both are provided here for your convenience.
First, here’s the time-compressed version (4:47):
And here is the full, rich-detail version for maximum benefit (13:29):
In the interview Garber shared with me some pointers that can help you the next time you’re looking for a job — or just presenting yourself on Skype. In the spirit of “dig your well before you’re thirsty” it is good to know about these tips, and keep them handy, before you have that next important Skype video interview or presentation.
Tips To Improve Your Skype Video Job Interview
- Be familiar with the technology of Skype. Today many companies around the world are using Skype as a tool to connect. Video is the preferred tool of many employers. Garber says it it critical that the potential candidate shows a comfort level with what Skype can do and how to deal with the technology.
- Spend time with Skype prior to the interview. Don’t begin your practice with your first job interview. Practice with Skype before the interview. Play with it. Learn how it works and what it can do. This way you will increase your familiarity with Skype and how to make it work best for you. Your job interview is one time you can’t afford to wing it. Practice diligently.
- Be prepared — this is a real interview. Just because the interview is done over Skype doesn’t mean it isn’t serious business. You need to approach it with all the seriousness and preparation you would give to a live, in-person meeting.
- Convey that you are comfortable. As you practice you’ll be more comfortable with the medium and how to present yourself best over video. Showing comfort while on camera comes across well and employers often assume you would do the same on the job.
- Dress appropriately. Dress according to the culture and how a job candidate should appear. This is not the time for tank tops or beachwear. Also, Garber makes an interesting comment to dress from head to toe. Many think that since they’ll be on camera they don’t have to dress up top and bottom. He cautions that you never know when you might have to stand up during the interview. If that happens, you don’t want the potential employer to see that you’re wearing cut-offs with business attire on top!
- Make sure the lighting is good. One of the most important features of video is lighting. If necessary, get a lamp that can be in front of you (halogen lamps often work well for this). You might also want to consider a trip to a photo store to get a small lighting kit if you will be presenting in a particularly dark environment.
- For women, make-up should be appropriate. Yes, you’re on video and you want to look your best. Often some tips from image or make-up experts can assist in this area. Let them know you’ve got a video interview and you want to look your best.
- Consider a back-up computer. Sometimes computers don’t work as they should. If yours crashes, it would be very good to have a second computer standing by “just in case.” This also shows your perspective employer that you plan ahead and can handle emergencies.
- Plan for ethernet connection, not Wi-Fi. We often use Wi-Fi for connections but when it comes to video, ethernet is usually a more reliable source. For your important interview, take the steps beforehand to make an ethernet connection work. Test it and note your speed (go to speedtest.net to check). You’ll be glad you did.
- Take steps to eliminate potential noise. Garber suggests letting your dog visit next door if you have a dog who tends to bark often and loudly. This is business. It is not the time to have your dog hurt your chances at the ideal job. Turn off cell phones and don’t answer during the interview! Take the time before the job interview to think about potential “noise bombs” which could portray you in a bad way.
- Create a clear, uncluttered environment. You don’t want stacks of books or messy paper visible in the video. A clear, uncluttered environment shows organization and the ability to get work done. This conveys a good impression to employers.
- If an emergency happens, be comfortable and deal with it comfortably. Sometimes an ambulance or jet can make a loud noise. There is nothing you can do to stop that but you can do everything to convey control and composure to recover and move on from the disruption. Remember to focus on your video interview and don’t let distractions detour you from a successful job interview.
These tips can help you to present yourself in the best light possible for that big job interview. Skype is being used more and more and it provides the ability to connect job candidates with their potential employers.
Since Skype has become an essential part of the process of the job interview, it is wise to add these skills and others to your repertoire of essential job skills for today.