As any current job seeker knows, searching for employment in today’s job market is an entirely different experience than in past years. With the emergence and refinement of technology, employers have the ability to interview potential employees in more ways than ever, including Skype and other video conferencing software. To ensure your online interview goes as smoothly as possible, follow these simple tips:
1) Prepare your computer, webcam, and other required equipment. As great as technology is, it’s not always reliable, and getting all of your equipment prepared and tested prior to your online interview is a smart idea.
A) First, ensure you are the only person in your household that is utilizing the internet. Sharing your connection with someone else (perhaps someone is streaming Netflix or playing games online) can use all of your bandwidth and cause your interview to be choppy and/or lose your connection entirely.
B) Second, launch your video conferencing software. Make sure your camera is aimed properly and your video/volume levels are where they need to be. Additionally, close any non-essential programs so your computer has plenty of available memory and processing power. Consider keeping a copy of your resume open in case it is referenced during the interview.
2) Prepare yourself and your environment. After your equipment is tested and running, make sure you and your environment are also prepared properly.
A) Preparing yourself is quite straightforward. Wear what you would normally wear to an in-person interview (including pants!). There are rumors floating around that some employers have seen half-dressed people during interviews before – don’t be that person!
B) Prepare the room that you are in. Make sure the lighting is appropriate. Clean up. Choose a professional-looking room (no bathrooms or kitchens!). If you have any pets, secure them in another room (which is hopefully far away) so there will be no barking in the background.
3) Be ready to adapt. In-person interviews are quite straightforward; they ask questions and you answer. The worst that can happen is that they ask an unexpected question. Online interviews, however, can present unexpected challenges rather quickly.
A) You may have technical difficulties, such as laggy or delayed communication. Depending on where you are located, where the employer is located, and what type of internet access you both have, you may experience a slight delay. Or maybe not. Or maybe it will be variable during the entire conversation. Be aware that this may happen, and be ready to adapt your response time as needed so you aren’t talking over each other.
B) You may need to adjust the tone and/or volume of your voice. Your voice sounds different over internet/phone connections than in person, so keep that in mind and adjust as necessary.
These are the three main factors to consider that are specific to online interviews. Naturally, follow all of the other interview guidelines as well, such as being punctual and professional.
By Drew Roark