Skype Interview? Clean your room, and other tips to succeed

messy roomNormally, you don’t need to think about cleaning your room before a job interview.   But with the increase of online live and recorded interviews, you just may want to tidy up a bit

If you are seeking a job or internship in 2014 and beyond, then it’s likely that at some point you will be asked to conduct an interview via Skype or another online tool.  Online interviews are growing at a rapid pace.   A story in the Wall Street Journal  reported that in 2011, companies increased usage of online videos by as much as 42%.  There are two types of online videos- those that are recorded, a one-way approach in which the interviewee records answers to taped questions, and sends the completed interview to the employer.  Also common are two-way interviews that are live, and are largely used in lieu of phone interviews. Skype interviews also offer a great alternative to in-person interviews when a candidate is geographically far from a perspective job.

So, how do you prepare for an online or video interview?   Much preparation is the same as for traditional interview formats—do your research, dress appropriately, be on time, etc.  But the video interview offers some unique challenges that you must consider:26611

  • Lighting- the room you choose should be well lit, you should not be in shadow nor having distracting lighting behind you.
  • Sound—find a quiet, private space where you won’t be interrupted
  • Keep your kitty or puppy in another room
  • If you have small children or pets that might suddenly bark or cry, find another space- a friend’s place, a quiet office.   AU students and alumni can call to reserve one of our interview rooms.  If you’re really in a bind, in major cities you can rent professional office space on an hourly basis
  • IMPORTANT—do a test call with a friend. Have them assess the lighting, sound, and camera angle.  That ceiling fan over your head can look like a halo or crown!
  • Clutter and beer posters- what’s behind you?  A messy stack of papers or that poster of Adam Levine may not be considered professional by your interviewer.
  • Connection—make sure your internet connection is strong and reliable.
  • Power- plug in your laptop so it doesn’t power off mid-interview!

For more tips, check out this great, quick video from our friends at Career Spots.  American University students and alumni can get great practice by using our online mock interview tool, available via AU CareerWeb.  And good luck on that interview!