Skype is increasingly being used by employers to conduct interviews but unless you’re Ryan Gosling or Jennifer Lawrence you might not feel confident talking into a camera. Performing well in front of the camera doesn’t come easy to everyone but there are simple steps you can take to make the experience stress-free and natural.
'How do I look?'
Candidates who relish face-to-face meetings can be thrown by Skype-style interviews and left thinking “Where do I look?”, “What should I do with my hands?”, “What’s the best framing?”, “What should I wear?”.
The golden rule is that nothing should detract from what you’re saying. A pleasant, neutral background is best - no objects that will possibly intrigue the interviewer more than your message. Do yourself justice by working to get the best lighting on your face.
The same goes for your style of dress. Keep it appropriate and don’t assume your lower half will never be revealed – it could lead to an embarrassing moment if you have to stand to make last minute technical adjustments!
It’s also important to remember the remote interview is a technical exercise as well so don’t forget our top tips on interview preparation.
Heads and shoulders in shot
You don’t have to be Steven Spielberg to get three technical aspects right - sound level, picture framing and background. We’ve already mentioned having a neutral background so moving onto framing, the top of your head and at least the top of your shoulders should be in shot. You may be able to include more of your upper body, say to your mid- torso. One idea is to look at how guest interviewees are framed for television news.
Eyes on the screen
If you feel more comfortable being expressive with your hands, do so, but within reason. The trick is to make and hold eye-contact with your interviewer. Don’t look down constantly at notes. If you need them, a few reminders out of shot can be useful. Again, rehearse with them to make sure you’re not losing too much eye-contact.
If it's broken, fix it
When the moment comes, if the line isn’t working properly, say so. There’s no point struggling with bad audio and picture and not giving your best. Be personable, smile at appropriate moments and establish a rapport, sometimes difficult if there’s a delay – another good reason for rehearsals.
Run through with a friend or colleague brings about an immediate improvement in performance. Record your efforts and play them back. Look for areas where you could make improvements, then do the interview again. By using this method, it’s guaranteed that by the third attempt, your performance will have improved significantly.
Give yourself plenty of time to set up and sort out any glitches. Sit up straight, but not stiff and bolt upright. If you can, don’t use a swivel chair because the temptation is to twist about during the interview.
Once you’ve got all this right, it’s time to concentrate on your answers.