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Activate Your Interviews: How to do a Virtual Interview

Posted by on Apr 8, 2013 in Interview Skills

There are two types of video interviews — live interviews (using Skype or FaceTime) and recorded Question-and-Answer interviews, also called “time-shifted” video interviews.

In a recorded interview, the jobseeker is directed to a website to answer questions on video, using their computer’s webcam. Video interviews provide an apples-to-apples approach to assessing candidates. All applicants are asked the same questions, and the hiring manager can review and rate the responses. These interviews can be easily set up by the company’s HR staff and the recording forwarded to the hiring manager for selection for the next round of interviews.

More common, however, are live video interviews.

A recent survey by OfficeTeam found that 63 percent of HR managers use video technology to conduct job interviews. This was a significant increase from 14 percent who conducted Skype interviews in 2011.

Skype usage has increased dramatically in recent years: more than 300 million minutes of video calls are logged every day. An increasing number of those calls are job interviews.

Video Interview Preparation

You can conduct a video interview on a laptop with a webcam, a traditional computer with a webcam, or using the Skype app on your iPad.

Even though the interview is being conducted by webcam, this is a “real” live interview, and you should be as prepared as if you were sitting across the desk from the interviewer. In fact, you may have to prepare more! After all, you do not have to clean your room before going off to an in-person job interview, but you do need to clear a space for your Skype interview.

Be mindful of where you set up for your video interview. Be sure the area is free of visual distractions (clutter). Carefully consider what is in the background of your Skype interview. Make the background interesting, but not distracting. Plain white walls are fine, but boring. Can you frame a desk or bookshelves behind you instead?

Check out your technology well in advance of the interview. Make sure you have Internet connectivity and that your webcam and microphone are working. You may also have to download the software if it is the first time you are using the application.

One of the best things you can do to prepare for a live video interview is practice. Practice doing a couple of Skype interviews with friends or family members before your job interview. Check the lighting and your volume.

Clarify with the interviewer who will initiate the Skype call and double-check the username. Also be sure to account for any time zone differences.

At The End of the Interview

As with an in-person interview, be sure to inquire about what the next step will be. And write a handwritten thank you note or email as soon as you are off the call.

Follow-up is key after a phone or video interview. Research indicates that employers are less likely to keep jobseekers up-to-date about their prospects with the company after a phone interview than with an in-person interview.

Checklist for a Virtual Interview

  • Print out a hard copy of your résumé (make sure it is the same version the interviewer has), cover letter, and the job posting/job description.
  • Prepare your list of questions you want to ask in the interview.
  • Assemble your talking points and company research.
  • Record a professional voice mail message on your phone.
  • Have a glass of water nearby in case your throat gets too dry.
  • If using a cell phone, have your phone charger and an outlet nearby.
  • If using a laptop, make sure it is plugged in and is charging.
  • Eliminate any distractions and put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign.
  • Have your calendar or schedule handy in case you are asked to schedule your next interview.
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A big dreamer as well as a big do-er, Madelyn draws on her experience of successfully navigating three high-profile careers to provide the expert advice, encouragement, and step-by-step action plans you need to activate your career dreams.