Many employers are choosing to conduct some of their interviews either by video or via Skype (or similar software). This can be a great time-saver, especially when the candidates do not live close to the organization.
What’s the difference between a skype interview and a video interview?
- Video interviews are typically done via specific software which is uploaded from the employer’s site. Sometimes, these interviews are live (e.g., you are interacting with the interviewer) and sometimes you are being recorded for the organization to review later.
- Skype Interviews are live interactions that you schedule with the employer usually using your computer and webcam.
How do you prepare?
- Meet the Technology Requirements
- Prepare Like Any Other Interview
- Interview Performance (day of) tips
- After the Interview
Meet the Technology Requirements and Test How it Looks and Sounds
- Download and Test the software in advance. If the interview is on Skype, double-check your log-in and password in advance. For Skype, you and the employer will need to exchange contact information, if possible do this in advance of the interview date.
- Make sure that you are using reliable internet. Where possible, use a wired connection or a very stable WIFI connection (if you have no other option). Try to avoid going to a coffee shop as the internet can be spotty and there will likely be background disruptions.
- Where possible, use an external camera (not the built-in one on your laptop) as the video quality on the built in camera will not be as good
- Keep your device at eye level; check the view to make sure that the interviewer’s angle is straight (e.g., looking in your eyes).
- Keep the background professional (e.g., when testing the video, avoid having anything seen that doesn’t look like something you would have in an office)
- Check the lighting. In most cases, the light should face you (not be behind you). Check for shadows or faint pictures.
- Eliminate background noise or visual distractions. Find a place where you will not be interrupted; ask others not to enter the room/space and set your phone to silent/airplane mode.
Prepare Like Any Other Interview
Regardless of which technology is used, the interviewer is looking for quality responses. This includes being prepared with knowledge about the organization, your related strengths and having STAR stories ready. Click here or more information about interview preparation. We also recommend that you dress for the interview the same way you would in-person.
Interviewing is a skill that we learn and develop throughout our careers. It’s helpful to practice what you are going to say in advance. You can set-up a practice interview with the Career Centre, including practice Skype interviews.
Tips for During the Interview
Scenario One: Live Interviews (e.g., you can interact with the employer)
- Speak clearly and make eye contact with the camera
- Smile! Video interviews can make it difficult to show your friendly and confident side and a genuine smile goes a long way.
- If you are unsure of the question (e.g., if they speak too quickly or it’s complicated), feel free to ask them to repeat the question.
- Avoid making distracting noises (don’t type on your computer or shuffle papers).
- You can have notes in front of you, as long as you keep them out of the view of the interviewer and glance at them periodically (not regularly) – maintaining solid eye contact is important.
- Speak slowly as the employer will likely be taking notes and you want it to be easy for them to record all of the great things you are saying.
- Have a few questions prepared to ask the employer.
Scenario Two: Recorded Interviews
These are interviews where you are going online to answer a set of questions that are being recorded. Typically, you will not be able to stop the interview mid-stream (e.g., you will be answering all of the questions in one sitting). Usually, you will have about 30 seconds to prepare your answer to any question.
In addition to the tips listed in scenario one:
- Read the question carefully to make sure that you are answering the correct question.
- Glance at the countdown clock (if there is one) periodically to make sure that you are staying on track but don’t be too focused on it. Your goal is to provide quality answers to each question.
- Take small breaks in between each question (most software allows you to click “ready” when you want the next question).
After the Interview
- Thank the interviewer for their time at the end of the interview.
- Write down all of the questions and answers and think about how you did and if there is anything you’d like to work on.
- Send a detailed and genuine follow-up thank you to the interviewer within 24 hours.
This resource was created in collaboration with the Rotman Career Centre and in consultation with the University of Toronto Mississauga MMI Program and the University of Toronto Mississauga Master’s of Sustainability Program.