by Cori Henderson
Have you done an interview on Zoom or Skype and felt like it could have gone better?
Or are you getting ready to be interviewed using video call conference call technology and want to know how to prepare?
If you answered yes, then keep reading this list of tips for a great Skype or Zoom interview!
Working from home I use my webcam and virtual video technology much more often than I did in a traditional office environment.
There are work at home job interviews, virtual client meetings and virtual networking opportunities. Not to mention virtual co-working and Facebook Lives.
The first Skype interview I did a couple of years ago was awful! It felt like one of the worst interviews I’ve ever had.
After my disastrous Skype interview, I knew I needed to master video conference call based interviews.
I had the opportunity to talk with a head hunter about his advice for successful interviews using webcams and his secrets have been very helpful.
I’ve put together the following list of tips for a great Zoom or Skype interview so you will be more prepared to win that work at home job or contract! (Pro Tip: These tips work WebEx too!)
5 Tips for a Great Skype Interview
Wrap up your video conference call interview feeling successful using the following five tips for a great Skype interview.
1. Know Where to Look
One of the most difficult things about a Zoom or Skype video conference call interview is knowing where to look.
If you look at the person you are talking to then the camera doesn’t capture your eye contact for them.
If you look into the camera then you don’t get to see the body language or facial reactions of the interviewer.
The headhunter I spoke with recommends the second option. Look into the camera when you are talking. He said to pretend that it’s a phone interview while you are speaking.
He advises his clients to look at the screen for cues about how the interview is going while the interviewer is speaking.
2. Set up a Professional Background
The goal of all interviewers is to find a reason to cut you from consideration. Don’t let what the interviewer sees in the background cause them to not see your skills and talents.
If you will be doing the interview from your home office make sure the wall or bookshelf they will see behind you is decorated appropriately.
If you don’t have a home office, set up an area in your home with a professional background for video conference calls or Skype interviews.
To create a professional background find a blank wall in your home that you can put a chair and a small table in front of.
Buy a few affordable downloadable prints on Etsy. Frame the prints in frames from Michael’s or Hobby Lobby (those always seem to be on sale!)
Then hang the prints with command strips so you don’t have to worry about holes in your walls.
3. Dress for Success
The old adage dress for the job you want applies to video and Skype interviews too.
Sure, no one will know if you are wearing pajama or yoga pants on the bottom.
But I strongly encourage you to dress professionally during Zoom interviews the same as you would if you were meeting at someone’s office.
Set yourself up for success by dressing in clothes that make you feel like an adult.
Present yourself professionally.
Wash and style your hair, put on a little makeup and earrings. If you are totally unsure about what to wear you can check out my recommendations about what to wear when you work at home.
4. Ask the Interviewer These Questions
Just because you are the one being interviewed doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions too.
Ask relevant questions to show the person conducting the interview that you took the time to do your pre-interview research.
Part of an interview is to determine how well you would be able to work with each other and their existing team. Show the person on the other side of the camera your virtual conversation skills.
One of my favorite questions to ask is what skills or previous experience do you think are most important for the person that is selected for this contract or position.
This question allows you to tailor your follow-up answer to show that YOU are that person.
Or, if what they value most is something you do not enjoy doing it gives you an opportunity to decide if this is a contract or job that you really want to accept.
The same as it can get awkward during an in-person interview if a personal connection is missing, that can happen during a Skype or Zoom interview too.
Prepare questions that highlight your skills. Give the interviewer an opportunity to want to continue to get to know you and why you are the right candidate.
5. Practice Practice Practice
And finally, practice using your webcam and make sure the video conference call app is working.
To practice talking to your webcam. An easy way to do this is to make a secret Facebook Group and do some Facebook Lives as practice. Or sign-up for a free video account with a site like Loom.
Practice asking some of the questions you prepared while looking into the camera.
Before you interview you should also practice logging into your Skype or Zoom app. Skype a friend or even your spouse from another room in your house.
Of it it’s a Zoom interview and you don’t have your own account try setting up a virtual facebook chat with a friend to practice with.
While the video connection is live, ask what they can see in the background and make sure it’s not a pile of laundry or dirty kitchen dishes!
If your interview is on Zoom, WebEx or another video conference call provider make sure you have downloaded their app or any updates to their apps prior to your interview.
The great thing about virtual interviews is that you can have a cheat sheet of notes and questions to refer to during the call that your interviewer can’t see.
Practice your interview ahead of time so you can make yourself a list of any necessary reminders.
Using the five tips for a great Zoom interview above you can set yourself up for a successful virtual interview.
Look into the video camera so that the interviewer has eye contact with you and prepare questions for great back and forth conversation.
Make sure that when the webcam is tuned on both you and the background it sees look professional.
Most importantly practice using your webcam and the Skype, Zoom or interview app before your interview.
And don’t forget to send a thank you note or email after your interview!