I was trying to coordinate an interview with a candidate and it was getting difficult because she was travelling and I was up to my eyeballs in meetings. We gave up on finding time to meet in person and decided to get together on Skype instead.
It was terrific – really a very good substitute. True, I could not tell if she had sweaty palms or had bad breath. I could, however, see that she was prepared and professional. I could hear the enthusiasm in her voice and got a good idea of her presentation style.
I have to admit that I am pretty comfortable with the whole video thing. Since my sister moved away, we use Google Video Hangouts to “visit” pretty regularly.
I don’t think Skype interviews are a trend. I think they are here to stay. Sure, there might be techno glitches and hardware malfunctions but they are, on the whole, easier to schedule and way cheaper to get to.
- Do exactly the same preparation as you would for a face to face conversation. Research, iron your shirt and get a haircut. Don’t skimp on this.
- Take a selfie the day before. Sit where you will be sitting, stare at the camera and then take a picture. Look at the background. Make sure there is no distracting stuff. You don’t want to find out that you did not get the job because your fine delicates were hanging in the corner of your image.
- Slow down your talking and your listening. Unless there are blazingly fast connections at both ends, there can be delays. Wait for the other person to finish speaking, pause for a moment, and then launch into your witty response.
- Don’t just stare at the image on the screen. Sometimes look into the actual camera. It feels a bit like you are making eye contact on the other end.
- Find some friends to practice with. Start with casual conversations to get used to the medium and then move into asking each other questions. This will help it to become more familiar and less intimidating.
- One final tip: you can tuck some notes down by your keyboard. It’s easy to glace down to remind yourself about a bit of your experience or a question that you wanted to ask.
When you start to feel pretty comfortable with Skype, you can work it into your cover letters/emails. Include your Skype address and let people know you are available to talk on Skype at their convenience.
You will look pretty contemporary, maybe even hip. Skype on, my friend, Skype on.