When was the last time you had to conduct a Skype interview or had a FaceTime meeting? How was your experience?
In today’s global environment with multiple offices across numerous time zones, the virtual office space makes conducting video meetings and interviews a necessary daily activity.
In 2009, we at Artisan Creative decided that the benefits of a successful virtual environment outweighed the stress of the daily commute. We love it and firmly believe in the life/work integration that a virtual setting provides our team. From the business standpoint, we stay connected, have daily meetings, and conduct initial candidate interviews using a multitude of online collaboration tools such as zoom.us, join.me and Skype.
Over the years, we have developed best practices and would like to share some tips on how to conduct the best video meeting/interview.
- Test your equipment beforehand: Nothing can take away from the quality of your meeting or impact the first impression negatively more than being unable to actually connect and have a clear conversation!
Technical issues are commonplace, so check your connection, video and audio quality the day before. Conduct a dry run with a friend or colleague to make sure no issues persist.
Have a back-up plan if on the day of the interview or meeting an unexpected issue arises.
Check the screen placement and height—What do they see? Watch the camera—Are you making eye contact? Are you talking to the person in front of you,or looking to the side? I have had interviews where I could only see the top half of someone’s head, or was looking up their nose…so practice ahead of time!
- Clean up your surroundings: Whether you are conducting the meeting from your home office, or a conference room, check your surroundings to see what will be seen on-screen. Desk clutter, inappropriate wall hangings and artwork, a messy room… keep in mind that a video meeting should be treated the same as an in-person one.
- Dress for Success: You have a precious few seconds to make a good first impression. A video interview is often the first step in the overall process. Dress appropriately as you would an in-person interview or meeting.
I once conducted a Saturday morning interview and my candidate showed up for the video interview in a bathrobe drinking a cup of morning coffee! Needless to say, that wasn’t quite in line with the qualification criteria I was aiming for with my client.
- Smile and Focus!
Smile—You are on camera! Enough said.
Focus—Incoming calls/emails/IMs are all distractions–for both you and your interviewer. Turn everything off and focus on the task at hand. Be present and practice active listening skills.
If you need reference points about the company or a copy of your resume handy, place it at eye level so you do not have to take your eyes off the screen, which can come across as being distracted. If that is not possible, set the stage by letting the other person know you are referencing other material.
Practice as much as you can ahead of time. Call a friend and conduct a brief mock interview/meeting.
- Follow-up: Finally, treat your online interview the same as an in-person one. Follow-up with a thank you note or email. Send any requested back-up documents as soon as possible. The goal here is to move to the next phase of the interview process, and get closer to the job you are looking for!