Dear Matt: I've been asked to interview for a job over Skype via webcam, with me at home and the employer in their office. Is this a new trend? Why do companies do this, and what tips do you have for me on how to succeed in this type of interview?
Matt says: Last December, the Deluxe Talent Community --deluxetalentcommunity.com -- surveyed more than 500 participants, asking: Are you ready for webcam job interviews? Of the respondents, 68 percent said they would prefer a phone interview for a job, while 32 percent said they would prefer a webcam interview.
While in-person and phone interviews are still the norm, there is no doubt that the movement towards online interviews using Skype or other webcam services is not just a trend, but the future. As technology -- and these services -- continue to evolve and improve, such interviews are going to become more commonplace, especially for outstate or out-of-country candidates.
"It saves companies on travel expenses as well as precious time," said Diane Steele, president of Steele Recruiting (steelerecruiting.com), a Twin Cities-based direct hire recruiting and executive search placement company. Steele has conducted several interviews with out-of-state prospects using Skype, and said such interviews are "the same as an in person interview. The only difference is you will be seen on a monitor ... instead of being in the same room together."
To prepare and succeed in an online interview, Steele offers these tips:
Make sure the sound is good quality and the camera on your device provides a clear picture. Most laptops have a built-in camera, but the quality may not be the best. There are inexpensive clip-on cameras you could buy.
Make sure the backdrop in the room you will be sitting in during the interview is as basic as possible to avoid distraction. Be certain there will be no interruptions while you are interviewing such as door bells, ringing phones, barking dogs, etc. (Consider a quiet office space away from your home if needed.)
Make sure you know how to use the mute function and understand that you could be observed if there is down time before you begin your interview as soon as you are connected and participants are online. Treat this downtime as you would if you were sitting in a company reception area.
Finally, treat the interview as you would an in-person interview regarding dress and grooming.