“So, what are your biggest weaknesses?”
“Well, I...Hello? What?? I can’t hear you! Huh? The video just froze! Should I call you back?? Hello? HELLO?!”
Video chats are problematic to begin with, but when you’re giving an all-important interview over Skype, Google Hangouts, Facetime etc, they’re just pure unadulterated evil.
Even if you do manage to get the video working properly right up till the end, let’s just admit that online interviews are a little weird. I, personally, get more self-conscious. I just can’t help looking at the little window on the bottom right.
But friends, having given many interviews, good and terrible, over a laptop screen, I can tell you that there is, in fact, a way to have a decent interview over the internet.
No Internet, No Job
I’m sorry, but this is just something that bears repeating. Multiple times.
Check the quality of your Skype or Hangouts calls at least twice before an important interview. Check the quality of sound, whether the video is shaky, lagging or just plain terrible to look at, and whether your connection is able to sustain the call (video calls have a nasty habit of dropping out for no reason).
This is THE main problem with video calls over the internet- if the video is interrupted for some reason, so is your flow of thought, and the conversation. If you know your internet connection at home sucks, don’t try to convince itself it’ll work on your important day. It won’t.
Instead, try a quiet booth at a cyber cafe.
Location, Location, Location
Hey look, your laptop camera highlights every (questionable) stain on that wall behind you! Also, did you know your bra is lying on the floor, where you mercilessly chucked it last night?
Yep, this is a scenario I’m a little too familiar with. So, learn from my mistakes, and find a suitable place for your Skype interview.
For example, your bed is not ideal. Neither is a crowded coffee shop. A couch or dining table in a quiet and empty setting is.
My friend Prashanth, a fellow Skype-interviewee-extraordinaire, has this to add— “I work for a German firm. My interview with the German head was arranged in a hurry and ended up taking place in a dingy room with awful lighting. The connection was bad, the video all grainy, and the call kept dropping out. It was pretty annoying for them and me.”
All Top, No Bottom
I know, why wear real pants when all they can see is your face and chest. Right?
You’ll forget you’re wearing your comfiest (read: ugliest) jammies, get up to get a glass of water, or make a demonstration and…
Niyati can gravely attest to this.
“I was interviewing with the sales head of an organic health food chain once. The call went on for a while. At the end, I got up to go and get the samples I’d been working on, totally forgetting I was wearing my rattiest tracks with a hole in the butt. I tried to laugh it off. She looked scandalised. I didn’t get the job.
I feel you, Niyati.
Use earphones. Just do it. Your laptop’s sound quality over a voice is pretty shit, so do yourself a favour and plug-in those noise-cancellation babies.
Not only will the audio become clearer, you’ll also be able to block out your roommates/friends/family members who’ve chosen that exact moment to start bitching about the Game of Thrones finale.
With pretty much everything going digital these days, it’s not surprising that employers have started conducting interviews over the internet. So I think we can agree that getting your Skype game up to speed is essential.