Speaking with a client recently they mentioned that they’re going to be called shortly regarding a recent application that they made. They mentioned casually;
‘It will only be a Skype interview’.
Immediately alarm bells rang in my head. Only a Skype call I thought. No, it is your first round interview. Be under no illusion, Skype it’s a full head on interview.
In response to a job application and you get an invitation to a discussion by Skype it doesn’t seem to have the same connotation as being asked to attend in their offices for interview.
‘Lets have a Skype discussion’ smacks of very something very casual, relaxed, no big issue just a little chat. Nothing could be further from the truth. Being invited for such a discussion is an interview that will have been planned, your CV scrutinised, possible background checks made and a list of inquiring questions prepared. Be under no illusion, your Skype call is a short listing exercise.
More often than not Skype interviews provides an opportunity for an employer to meet, greet, view and hear your views from the comfort of corporate HQ especially if you are in a remote location. The fact that this is on line and for you, possibly being conducted from the comfort of your own home, it gives a false sense of security.
In preparation for a Skype interview it’s vitally important that you go through the preparation for the interview process every bit a carefully as if it were face to face.
Part of that preparation is knowing your career history thoroughly, so you can respond to any question, promptly, without hesitation and with confidence. Learn your CV, read every line, recall every situation you may be asked about so you will have instant recall. In other words refresh you memory in advance, don’t wait until you are asked and then have to trawl through distant memories to give an answer. This approach gives for a lot of ‘Ahhhing’, ‘Ehhhhhing’, ‘Oh yesing’ and / or repeating the question while you buy time to recall an event. It just doesn’t work. Just think it through in advance.
In preparing for an important Skype interview there are some important points to bear in mind.
1 – Ensure your Laptop is fully charged, plugged in and ready to receive. Test the picture and sound volume.
2 – Because you’re at home you will be tempted to be casual. This is an interview and the more senior you are the more attention must be given to your attire. At a senior level it’s suit, shirt and tie, if a mid level appointment respectably casual will suffice, below that clean, well groomed and tidy. Women, the same applies in all cases.
If you are male and unless you particularly want to show two day shave stubble, shave. A very slight one day shadow shows quite clearly on a bright screen.
3 – Look over your shoulder and check out the view that the caller will see behind you. Make sure it’s all nice and tidy. Inform others on the premises that you need quiet when the call comes in.
I mention this as I had a recent experience, as innocent as it was; it was unacceptable when presenting yourself for a Skype interview. I was conducting a Skype call with a client and over his shoulder; in my line of sight I could clearly see an open plan living room and staircase in the background. In the middle of our conversation, in the distance a lady went up the stairs, talking on her mobile phone, clearly after taking a shower as she had a big towel wrapped around herself. Needless to say this broke my concentration. She was clearly oblivious to the fact he was on the phone and he oblivious to her behind him. She disappeared out of sight and that was that.
Yes, this situation might have been one in a thousand or even one in a million, but it does highlight the importance of checking for every possible eventuality. In the course of a serious interview a situation of this nature is best avoided.
4 – Never treat a Skype interview as casual. Your interviewer’s boss and their boss may well be watching your whole performance, but just out of sight. You will never know, nor be ever told.
Your Skype conversation must be focused, professional and demonstrate you total knowledge and/or skills in a particular area of business.
5 – You may want to have your CV and some salient notes on your desk for quick reference. Avoid this as you will find yourself glancing at them more than is necessary, it will be a distraction to yourself. Your eye will be continuously moving up and down and it will be quite obvious to the viewer. Post your notes for reference immediately behind and above the Camera. This will allow a small eye movement or quick glance at notes that won’t be noticed.
6 – You will probably have been told in advance the names of your interviewers. You will have read them over and not given it another thought. Write down their names. Stick their names beside your CV and notes. Interviews are stressful and you will forget many details that you presumed you knew. It’s unforgiveable not to know or be able to refer to your interviewer by name.
7 – Research information about the company. Look at their products, their sales and their accounts if available and write down a number of intelligent questions one of which will NOT be ‘what is the salary’.
Treat your Skype interview with the respect it demands. It may sound like a casual chat but nothing could further from the truth. This is not going to be like a chat with your pals. This will be a well prepared and well recorded interview so please be equally well prepared for any topic you may be asked about.
Further information about the author, Colm Cavey can be seen below and also at: www.jobdoctor.ie
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