Skype/Video Interviewing Tips

Not surprisingly, I’ve had more and more people ask me in recent years “Matt, I understand some of the pointers you share about succeeding in a normal interview — but do you have any special tips to offer in regard to acing a video interview or Skype interview?”

To date, my answer has been pretty uninspiring.  It’s basically been: “No.  You prepare for video interviews pretty much the exact same way you would for a typical interview.  Research the company.  Know your stuff.  Anticipate questions from the job description.  Have examples ready.  And so forth.  Just make sure you speak a little more slowly and clearly than you would for a normal meeting, given the potential time lag…

Thanks to a recent article sent along to me by a recruiter colleague, however, I recognize (and fully admit) that I missed a few other particularly good points about gearing up for these kinds of technology-enabled discussions.  As you’ll note in the article by Barbara Kiviat in Time Magazine, linked below, there are also some important considerations to make regarding room lighting, camera framing, and dress code when it comes to webcam-based meetings.

How Skype is Changing the Job Interview

Just wanted to set the record straight and make sure you all had these additional pointers at your disposal, in addition to my other interviewing tips, given the large number of hiring conversations that now take place in cyberspace — versus a traditional interviewing environment!


4 Responses to “Skype/Video Interviewing Tips”

  1. The first and most obvious step is to set up a Skype name. This is very easy to do and literally takes a couple of minutes. Before you go ahead and decide upon a name and for those too who have already established an account, think carefully about the name you use.

  2. Andrea & Richard: Great points! Thanks for taking the time to share them…

  3. Having conducted several recent Skype interviews with technical difficulties, I’d like to add one more tip. In the beginning of the Skype call, discuss the course of action should the Skype connection drop. Are you going to try and re-join on Skype? Who will initiate? Or will you switch to phone only? if so, what are the numbers, and who will make the call? Having a backup plan in place saves a lot of time and confusion and shows the hiring manager you’re good at contingency planning.

  4. Research indicates that video with poor sound and lighting detracts from the effectiveness of the message. So make sure your Skype video looks and sounds good. Here are a few pointers:
    1 – Wear solid neutral colors; not prints, dark or white
    2 – Never have a window in the background. A bookcase looks great and professional. Just make sure there are no books that can embarrass you.
    3 – Avoid a mix of daylight and incandescent lighting
    4 – Place a lighting source; lamp or window just out of the picture frame so as to add a bit of “modeling” to your face. But never have harsh sunlight anywhere in frame
    5 – Have the camera at eye level, not higher or lower
    6 – Make sure microphone is not too far away from your mouth
    7 – Frame picture for a “head & shoulder” shot and in center of frame with just a bit of space between top of head and frame.
    8 – Practice…practice…practice. Rehearse with a friend on Skype so you can see how it will look and sound

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