Race to the Top: Better the Competition via Skype

Q: How do I handle a video interview?

A: This is a great question. Companies are relying more heavily on video for lots of tasks, including talent recruitment. First, you need to be comfortable with the computer you use. Even small tech issues will take attention away from you – and that’s counter-productive. Also, you have to be comfortable selling yourself and the best way to do that is to be prepared, so, have a 1-page “game plan” in front of you during your online interview, which should include the key points you want to make and your short list (1-3) questions you want to ask, most likely at the end of the interview.

Several people have told me it was harder to stay on-point online and that means it can be harder to stand out among the other applicants. The game plan will help. I have also heard from several people that it is easier to lose track of time during a Skype interview. So, your computer clock might not be enough. Consider putting another clock on a shelf in front of you so you don’t have to look down at your phone or your watch, which keeps the employers from looking at the top of your head.

In addition to these important basics, here are a few thoughts that apply to every type of interview. First, an interview is an important chance for you to show the interviewer how much you know about the company and the people who run it. And while this may become a natural part of the conversation throughout the interview, you can always make this point when the interviewer turns to you to say, “Do you have any more questions?” And if, by chance, he is rushed and signals the end of the conversation is near, you should feel comfortable saying,” Before we finish, I’d like to ask a few questions.” Now, you are set to sell yourself a little bit more and you have sent a clear signal that you have done your homework.

To develop your questions, I’d suggest going to the company’s webpage and reading through the recent press releases. Pay close attention to those that address changes affecting the whole enterprise. Then, look for any announcements that will impact the division or department you would like to work in. Then, Google the CEO and see what he or she has been saying lately about the company’s future. Then, you have a lot to work with. Personally, I have never finished an interview without asking at least three very well-thought questions and I have not hired anyone that has not asked at least one.