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Skype interviews: Is it more tricky to be grilled by video?

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The job interview is an ordeal that most people face at some stage in our career. But as video starts to take the place of the face-to-face interview, is it easier or harder now to land your dream job?

The job interview as we know it may never have existed if it wasn’t for Thomas Edison.

Frustrated with hiring college graduates who lacked the right knowledge, Edison devised the first employment questionnaire to narrow down his applicant pool.

The survey was thought to be so difficult that in 1921 the New York Times nicknamed it a “Tom Foolery test” and claimed only a “walking encyclopaedia” could succeed.

Questions included: “What is the weight of air in a room 20ft x 30ft x 10ft?” and “Where are condors to be found?”*

But today the trick to making a good impression at interview may be less about what you know and more about how you come across on camera.

Jean Luc, a 30-year-old marketing professional from Greenwich, recently had his first video interview for a role at a web start-up company based in Berlin.

“I had the usual nerves before my interview. But I Skype all the time as my parents live in South Africa so it felt like a much more familiar process. What I found quite disconcerting was when I first turned on the video, my interviewer had his camera turned off.

“It would have been awkward if I turned my camera off and on again so I just went through the interview with a black screen. It was a bit like talking to myself.”

Looking in the wrong place is just one of the common pitfalls of video interviews, says New York-based career coach and blogger Megan Broussard.

“It’s tempting to watch yourself in that little box to make sure your hair isn’t in your face or that you’re not making weird facial expressions. But the truth is that it is very distracting to the other party and can come across as shy and even insincere – two qualities both employers and new hires want to avoid.

“It’s OK to watch the speaker on the screen, but respond by looking into the camera to create the illusion of direct eye-contact, always.”

In the US more than six out of 10 HR managers now use video to interview job applicants, according to a survey.

 

How to cruise a video interview

  • Set the stage: Make the room you’re in a reflection of your work -polished
  • plain backdrop can be less distracting
  • Test the lighting: Even if your camera isn’t the highest quality, make sure it flatters your features and the interviewer can see you clearly
  • Dress the part: Be as conservative as the organisation – wear smart bottoms in case you have to get up during the interview
  • Work the camera: Minimise the video image of you so you’re not tempted to watch yourself
  • The employer expects eye contact and anything else will distract him or her
  • Do a test run: Call a friend or family member to make sure speakers and microphone are working and they can hear you clearly

Tips from Megan Broussard – aka Professional – a career coach and blogger from New York

 

Click here to read the original BBC article.

Credit to the original author, Hannah Briggs, over at BBC News.

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Author: Ben Logan

Software Developer & Solution Architect, currently in the Financial Services domain.

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