How to stay focused and productive in your home office
Web-based interviews are on the rise, making it more important than ever for candidates to interview comfortably over the web.
Hiring managers from the world's leading businesses continue to stress how important it is for candidates to perform well during a virtual interview, and share the same key tips to getting it right.
“Over the past few years, we’ve seen not only an increase in the frequency of Skype interviews but a preference from some of our clients to use them,” comments Tiffany Wong, Director of Walters People Division.
“While they can set some limitations, candidates who can prepare well for these types of interviews will increase their chances of impressing their interviewer over someone else in the process.”
Six top tips for successful Skype interviews
- Dress for success - Dressing in the same way as you would a face-to-face interview will put you in the right frame of mind for your interview, plus it will negate any embarrassment if you need to move mid-interview. Dark colours are typically best, and avoid stark white as well as overly busy patterns. High gloss lips and glittery jewellery can also be distracting.
- Remain engaged with your interviewer - Looking into the camera, rather than your image on the screen will help you look as engaged as possible, giving the impression that you are looking into the interviewer’s eyes. While you’ll want to keep your posture straight, leaning forward toward the camera slightly can increase eye contact and allow the interviewer better read your facial expressions.
- Consider the setting for your interview - Make sure your interview space is distraction free and mirrors a business setting, keeping to a blank or neutral background. Before you start, test the angle of your lighting to avoid being shrouded in shadow and to make sure it’s flattering on your skin tone.
- Be careful reading from notes - Notes can be particularly handy in a Skype interview, but if you use them, you’ll need to make sure your reference to them is extremely subtle. Reading notes or sounding too rehearsed will disrupt the natural flow of conversation, making you look under-prepared.
- Anticipate technical issues - If you experience a technical glitch like a weak connection or interference, always ask the interviewer to repeat the question. If the problem continues, politely mention it and reconnect to avoid missing any crucial information. Monitoring the speed and tone of your speech will also prepare you for any delays in communication, while making acknowledgement sounds like ‘hmm’ or ‘yes’ will reassure the interviewer that you can hear them. Remember to test your equipment well in advance as well as immediately before the interview begins.
- Finish on the right note - As with any face-to-face interview, you’ll need to find the opportunity to summarise your main points as well as to thank the interviewer for his or her time, while making sure you confirm any next steps.
Other things to consider:
- Your username – think about what kind of first impression this will create. Does it position you as a professional?
- Body language – centring yourself a medium distance away from the camera, keeping the upper halves of your arms showing as well as allowing for some free space above your head will allow the interviewer to best read your body language.
- Interruptions – inform those around you of the interview so you are not disturbed.
- Documents – have a printed version of your CV handy as well as any other necessary documentation. Keeping your email account open is also a good idea in case you need to share any documents with your interviewer.
- Headphones – can be typically more reliable than speakers and are far less likely to create feedback. If you use them, make sure they are subtle in appearance so as to not distract the interviewer.
To master your next interview, read more of our interview tips.