In this modern age the proportion of virtual interviews is likely equal to those conducted face-to-face, however that doesn’t mean that aspiring employees branching out into the areas of internal audit, compliance, risk and cyber security are properly educated as to the etiquette of Skype interviews. Being prepared for the type of job interview you’re having is just as important for your career as preparing yourself for the role in question. Allow our pointers to guide your way to Skype interview success.
- Research makes Perfect
Understanding a company’s culture is difficult, especially if you’re expected to do it from a distance, and it can mean the difference between getting the job and not. Do your research. Swot up on the company’s website, their Facebook page, Twitter feed, Instagram account where pictures and videos will help you get an idea of the expected dress for employees and executives as well as revealing something of their culture. Plus, the beauty of a job interview via Skype means you can have a few bullet points in front of you to refer to subtly if you need a reminder of questions you want to ask, potential talking points or facts about the company whether its private practice or Big Four. Deloitte’s Twitter feed is rife with topic inspiration, while PwC regularly shares ideas from its CEOs. Follow and take note and it’ll seem like you’re already part of their business family.
- Dress for Success
On that note, use what you learn to inform your chosen interview outfit. Don’t think that just because this interview is happening via your computer or laptop screen that you can turn up in sweats. Treat your Skype interview just the same as you would a face-to-face meeting. Shower and dress smartly from head to toe, not necessarily in a suit, but accordingly with the attire prevalent across the company and smart enough to mentally take you out of the comfort of your home surroundings for the duration of your job interview.
- Location Location Location
It matters. Think about where you’re going to base yourself. If you’re at home you ideally want to be sitting at a table or desk with an uncluttered background behind you and blinds or curtains drawn to avoid the sun getting in your eyes. Keep your interview area clear of personal objects; you don’t want anything to detract from you and what you have to say. Avoid public spaces if you can, your interviewer won’t be impressed if they and you have to compete with busy background noise to be heard or to hear. However, if you don’t have the internet at home and are forced to hold the interview in a coffee shop, be honest about it and acknowledge your location from the start.
- Get your head in the game
Regardless of your location, using a headset will make the quality and sound of your Skype call much cleaner and crisper as well as reducing background noise. Most smart phones come with headphones, so use them.
- No means NO
If a hiring manager or interviewer requests a Skype interview, the first thing to remember is not to make excuses because of poor internet connection or a preference for an alternative ie. a phone interview, or because you don’t have Skype. All your potential employer will hear is “NO”. Bad first impressions are unlikely to count towards securing the job. Second of all, in an age of technology where more jobs than not require at least basic knowledge, understanding and experience of it, revealing any technical deficiency will mean failing before you’ve begun. Whether you’re applying for internal audit jobs or risk jobs, technology is part of the business landscape. Your interviewer doesn’t need to know that you downloaded Skype and created an account minutes before replying yes and emailing over your username.
- Keep it professional
When it comes to usernames, it’s very simple, keep it professional. Be boring, use your name, after all it is the one thing that will withstand throughout your career.
- All Eyes and Ears
Maintain eye contact. This may seem like an obvious one but we’re all guilty of being distracted by the image of ourselves sitting in the bottom right corner of our screen. Try to keep your focus on your webcam so your interviewer and potential future employer can see that you’re engaged and present. Be an active listener, use listening cues like nodding and the occasional “yes” to reassure your interviewer of your active participation. And don’t forget to smile.
- The Show Must Go On
The internet is not without its faults and there is of course the chance that your Skype interview could encounter a technical glitch or two. What is important to remember however is that you will be judged not only on how you answer questions but on your personality and approach to situations. If a technical issue arises see it as an opportunity to demonstrate how well you cope with unexpected problems, it will simply show off one of your strengths and possibly secure you the role. Stay calm, smile, don’t be overly apologetic and keep up a friendly conversation while you troubleshoot the problem. If necessary, don’t be afraid to ask your interviewer if you can hang up and try again once the issue is resolved.
- Testing Testing, 1, 2, 3…
An excellent idea would be to arrange a test call with a friend or your mum or dad an hour before the interview. That way you can check audio, camera and sound quality are all up to par and your test call recipient can give you feedback if there’s anything that needs changing (including your outfit!)
- Silence is Golden
Just as you wouldn’t expect to hear beeps and buzzing during a face-to-face interview, afford your interviewer the same courtesy via Skype and switch off any devices or computer programs liable to interrupt your conversation. The last thing you need is for the automated voice of your anti-virus announcing your need to upgrade in the middle of the interview!