In today’s environment, your next job opportunity may be downtown or around the world. The market is rich with candidates and employers have the luxury of interviewing a variety of candidates before making a decision. The barriers to identifying dozens of candidates from Peoria to Punjab have been torn down via distance interviewing campaigns. In this situation, employers will line up dozens of candidates for back-to-back Skype interviews. In a Skype or video conference interview, you will be the technician, the set designer, the writer, director, and the star! I reached out to media consultant and former CNN anchor, Bella Shaw, to share some tips for this portion of the Master the Interview series.
Review the tutorial to learn the operations of video conferencing. Perform sound and video checks. At least 24 hours prior to your interview, perform a mock interview to be sure you can connect and that the test party can communicate with you. You don’t want the pressure of having to run out to buy a new headset 2 hours before the interview. When using Skype close other applications and mute any alarms.
Set the Stage
Create the background that supports your brand image. Remove any inappropriate artwork or clutter. If you have a relevant trophy or plaque, place it in the background. Avoid being back-lit. Lighting should be shining toward you rather than from behind. On a video conference operated with your PC or laptop, back-lit lighting can darken your image. Take care to eliminate the chance of doorbells, barking dogs, ringing phones, and gardeners with lawn mowers. Arrange your desk with your résumé, talking points, pen, and paper.
Be Yourself, Only Better
While video conferencing, sweeping hand and head movements will have a dragging effect, so try to keep your head and hands still. Don’t fidget or cause any distracting noises. Wear a solid color, but avoid white or black. Patterns can cause a moray effect (not good). Another tip from Bella is to pull the back of your jacket downward and sit on it. This will keep it from opening and creating an unsightly gap. It worked for Ron Burgundy; it will work for you. Face the camera, not the image on your screen. This is how you simulate eye contact via Skype.
Even though you may be on a phone interview or video conference, you want to project your passion. Pay attention to your grammar, clarity of speech, and facial expressions. Even by telephone, a smile will be reflected in the tone of your voice. Bella had a great tip. Oftentimes, the interviewer will initiate “small talk” at the beginning of the conference. Remember that you are always “on the record” and small talk says a lot about who you are. Stay on your toes from the time you sign on until the time that you are SURE that they are signed off.
The takeaway from this segment in our series is to prepare, test, and rehearse. A distance interview is sometimes the hurdle you must leap to get to the face-to-face meeting and on to the final round. Don’t underestimate the importance of these steps. Remember the interviewer wants to get to know you and hear about the value that you offer. Follow these steps to avoid any distractions from your message. You will be confident, prepared, and able to deliver a clear and concise value proposition – just the thing to help you make it to the next round!
Drink plenty of water and have a light meal before you interview so your stomach does not rumble.
While at CNN and other media outlets, Bella has interviewed hundreds of people during her career. Bella enjoys sharing her experience to help others succeed. She provides media training, coaching and consulting services. For more information, visit BellaShaw.com.