Social Media Spotlight on Skype: How to Master the Video Interview

In this day and age of technological advancements, the use of video interviewing is becoming more prevalent. Resources such as Skype allow recruiters the convenience of a phone interview with the advantage of a face-to-face interview. Skype interviews save time and money and can be much more beneficial than a standard phone interview for not much more cost or commitment.

Recruitment consulting firm JCSI expands upon what recruiters should be thinking about as they venture into the video recruitment territory. Avoiding these “snags” can help make a video interview run smoothly:

Exploit the Technology: Although not complex, there are technical issues that must be addressed, such as making sure you have secure Internet access, a quiet environment where your face is well lit, a decent Webcam and microphone system, and a Skype user ID. Although the service is free, candidates and employers must register to participate. Manage these details before the interview. Technical difficulties on your end will reflect poorly on you and the company you represent.

Present Yourself Well: An interview is a two-way interaction. While you’re deciding whether the candidate is the right fit, you are also selling the role and your company. The “best foot forward” approach is important for every interview, especially with passive candidates, but video is different: You must speak clearly and quickly (slow talking is more pronounced), you look 20 pounds heavier (avoid loud prints), and you make eye contact by looking directly at the camera, NOT your computer screen! Also, without forcing it, be extra enthusiastic to counteract the media’s flatness. To perfect your online interviewing persona, practice by doing at least one taped, dry run with a colleague–and then review it to improve your delivery!

Ask Good Questions: More than ever, be familiar with the candidate’s credentials because unprepared doesn’t play well on-screen. Also, ask a mix of factual, general, and behavioral questions that will prompt candidates to give examples of demonstrated skills and relevant strengths.

Record the Interview: You can record Skype interviews by using compatible plugins, such as Vodburner. This enables you to review details, compare candidates easily, share with colleagues, and most importantly, be totally present during the actual interview.

Also consider these minor details that will aid in giving the presentation of you and your company:

  • Be sure to dress as you would for a face-to-face interview.
  • Prepare follow-up questions and everything in front of you so that you aren’t fumbling to transition from one topic to the next.
  • Look behind you before you begin. What will the candidate see in the background? A messy office? Personal pictures? Make sure the focus is on you and what you are saying, not your distracting surroundings.
  • Make sure you have an office door to close or that your colleagues understand to keep the background noise to a minimum. You want to be as professional as possible even when it is not an in-person interview.
  • Test your Skype connection prior to the interview so that you ensure a timely start and no hiccups when making the connection.

When deciding whether video interviewing is an option you would like to pursue, keep in mind that although this option has been around for a while, many organizations have yet to fully embrace it. Candidates may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable and not present themselves in the same way they would in-person, especially if you are recording the interview. Keep an open mind and be patient with the process of introducing a new concept.

 

Traci Kingery, PHR is an HR Professional and freelance writer based in the Midwest, specializing in immigration and talent management. When she’s not improving unemployment, she keeps busy with her husband and four children.

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