More companies are using Skype and Google Hangout to meet with potential candidates. Remote interviews can take place as the first part of the screening process or when you are about to receive an offer, but need to meet with someone who is out of town.
Below are a few tips to help you put your best foot forward.
Look at the camera, not the screen
It is very tempting to watch yourself or your interviewer during a Skype session, but looking directly at the video camera is the only way to maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
Sit a bit farther back from the screen so that your face and upper shoulders are framed in the camera. You may also want to place the computer slightly higher than you normally would, so that the camera captures your face and keeps you from looking down at the screen.
As with all video conferencing, there is usually a slight transmission delay. It is important to pause before answering a question to make sure that the interviewer is finished speaking.
You want your interviewer to know that your personal brand will represent their company well. Your Skype name is a small thing that can make a big impression if it is inappropriate. Keep it simple. Use just your name and or a combination of your name and a few numbers.
When it comes to what you wear, treat the Skype interview like an in-person interview and dress professionally. Select solid colors over prints and keep in mind that shades of blue look great on video while reds and vibrant colors can be too bright.
Prepare your surroundings
Choose a quiet place to interview without an elaborate backdrop so that you are the focal point of the conversation. Remove anything that may be considered distracting from behind you. Close the door and let housemates know that you are not to be disturbed. Put the dog outside and contain other possible noise interruptions.
Practice makes perfect
Your first few Skype calls may feel awkward, especially if you have to retrain yourself to watch the camera and not the screen. Get a few friends to mock interview you via Skype. Not only is it good practice, it will give you the opportunity to test your onscreen presence, microphone and lighting.
Close non-essential programs on your computer
Getting Facebook or email notifications during your interview is distracting and unprofessional. Before your interview, close extra screens and applications – especially if they make noise.
It’s ok to use post-it notes or have a copy of your resume handy when you interview. It’s one of the benefits of a Skype interview. Just be sure that your notes can be easily scanned. You do not want to look like you are using a script.