According to research conducted by the Aberdeen Group, a market research company, 32 percent of companies used video interviews for recruiting last year. Given their increased use by employers, your chances of having a video interview are greater than ever before. While this technology has provided the expected convenience and cost savings for companies, video conferencing for job interviews has been shown to have negative consequences for both the candidate and employer. A study from McMaster University De Groote School of Business reported that job applicants are viewed as less likeable by interviewers, and interviewers are seen as less competent by candidates, when this technology is used .
Willie Weisener, associate professor, Human Resources, at DeGroote, and co-author of the study says, "These findings suggest that using video conferencing can adversely affect both applicant reactions and interviewer judgments. Video conferencing places technological barriers between applicants and interviewers." Consequently, the researchers recommend that video conferencing be used only for preliminary screening interviews.
So what do you do if you have a Skype interview with a potential employer? How can you minimize the negative effect of that technological barrier?
First, remember that a Skype interview is still an interview. Prepare for a Skype interview the same way you would prepare for an interview conducted in-person:
- Research the organization, the job and the interviewer.
- Prepare to answer typical interview questions and prepare questions to ask.
- Analyze the job description so you can speak to how your skills and experience are a good match. For example, if the job requirements mention criteria like "organizational skills" or "collaboration with team members", be ready to give examples of how you have demonstrated these behaviors in the past.
- Practice aloud the answers to interview questions as you would for any interview.
Then review these ten additional tips to help you prepare and overcome the technological barrier that the Skype interview presents:
Create a professional Skype profile. The first thing the interviewer will see is your Skype username and picture.
Be sure your technology is working perfectly. Check the audio to be sure you can hear and be heard. Close other windows and programs on your computer.
Secure a quiet private space where you'll have no interruptions and be sure your surroundings are neutral. Remove anything distracting behind you so you will be the focal point.
Test the lightening in the room to ensure it doesn't appear harsh or cast a shadow on your face.
Do a Skype run through with a friend who will be able to give you feedback about both technical and presentation issues.
Dress professionally as you would for an in-person interview. It's expected, even if you feel awkward all dressed up and talking to a computer.
Look at the camera not at the screen image or you will be looking away from your interviewer.
Position yourself correctly so that your screen image is of your face and upper shoulders.
If you find the small image of yourself on screen distracting, cover it with a post-it note.
Watch your body language: sit up straight and remember to smile appropriately to demonstrate your enthusiasm and interest.
For more information about interviewing and a list of typical questions, check out the CEC's Prepare to Interview webpage. Then get ready for your close up by viewing this TIME video, How to Ace a Job Interview on Skype
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