Mastering the Skype interview

Technological advancements have significantly changed the modern workplace: now, many workers never even travel to their company office. Internet connections and video-chatting devices, such as Skype, have made it so professionals can communicate and work together even when they're stationed in different countries. The workplace has changed – and as a result, so has the interviewing process. 

Video conferencing software is incredibly helpful in regards to the hiring process, for a number of reasons. It allows hiring managers to interview candidates from across the country, without any need for travel costs. It can also help them to interview more efficiently: if a manager plans on conducting three or four rounds of interviews for a given position, it would likely be wise to complete the first couple sessions entirely via video conference, regardless of the applicant's location.

However, one needs to be prepared to manage the differences inherent between in-person interviews and video conference meetings – no matter which side of the interview you'll be sitting on. Whether you're a veteran employee aiding your company's hiring process or an applicant on the hunt for entry level technology jobs, it's integral that you be prepared for all the complications that Skype interviews can cause.

Conducting an interview via Skype
The financial job network has quickly taken to the concept of conducting interviews via Skype. Still, if you're a hiring manager planning on doing this when interviewing applicants for an open position, you can't simply figure the process out as you go – you need to be well-aware of the strategies and techniques that define successful and informative video conference interviews.

First off, it's important that hiring managers make up for what's lost from interviewing individuals in-person. For example, one of the most integral parts of interviewing for a job – whether it's a finance career like operations jobs or an accounting jobs, or something in another sector – is getting a feel for company culture. Applicants always like to visit the office where they may later find themselves working. Yet with a Skype interview, that's not entirely possible.

As a result, hiring managers conducting such meetings would do well to surround themselves with indicators that will help the interviewee to understand the culture of the company where they're applying to work. For example, you need to make an extra effort in these type of interviews to dress as you would during a normal day of work. This is the applicant's only face-to-face encounter with anyone from your firm, so you want to be sure you do your best to represent the exact image of what your company's workers tend to look like.

On that note, you'd also do well to position yourself in front of a team of workers – allowing the interviewee to see an image of the office at work will give a more personable feel to an otherwise impersonal form of interviewing someone. You don't have much space in the frame, so you need to use every corner of the image to help impart information about your company to the applicant.

Being interviewed via Skype
Being interviewed for a job via Skype can be just as challenging as conducting an interview that way. It's harder to create a personal impression of yourself and foster a relationship with the interviewer when you aren't staring at each other in-person. In fact, they can't even see your whole body – so you need to make the most of what you signify with your eye contact, your auditory confidence and the way you dress.

First off, be sure to stare at the camera attached to your computer, and not at the individual interviewing you. It may sound silly, but if you're staring at the screen, then you're looking away from the camera, and that creates the illusion that you're avoiding eye contact. Interviewing for a job is all about fostering a connection with the individual speaking to you, so inadvertently avoiding eye contact would be a terrible mistake.

It's also important that you ensure your internet connection is strong and consistent, and that your voice will be picked up clearly by the microphone transmitting your statements. A Skype interview simply doesn't work if the two parties are having difficulty understanding each other!

In many ways, a Skype interview is like any other meeting – you simply need to display that you're the individual who's right for the job-at-hand. Yet there's a number of other considerations that need to go into such a meeting – everything from where you position your eyes to whether or not your internet connection will cause a lag in the video stream. Be sure to review and iron out all these potential complications well before your interview – and you'll surely be traveling to the office in-person for another meeting with your future employers.