Skype: friend or foe? It's up to you

Google it for yourself: every candidate advice column and blog site on the web includes tips for interviewing with Video Chat (genericized term: “Skype”). It’s a great technology that is seeing increased integration with the hiring process by HR and hiring managers around the world for good reason; it’s cheaper than a flight, easier than an on-site interview, and just plain cool {{Citation needed}}. 

As with any interview, the focus is on the candidate. However, the facilitator has their job cut out as well. There is more to it than printing out the resume and job description while scribbling a few questions on a notepad. Technology is involved now, and for some people that is already reason to panic. But even the most tech savvy manager should take the time to do a little prep and make sure all systems are go before jumping on the interview. The question is no longer “should I be using Skype to interview?” but rather “how can I use Skype to interview?” Here’s 3 tips to use Skype with maximum ease and efficiency:

 

1. Treat it like the real thing

As an interviewer, it can be nice to conduct the interview wherever, whenever. However, the same level of professionalism should be maintained as would be expected in any interview. Candidates will be making judgments and decisions based on their impressions, and little things go a long way. Repress the impulse to bring anything less than the best attitude and attention to the chat. The same techniques that are used to direct and command the flow of the traditional vis-à-vis interview are just as effective here. Also: personal grooming, appropriate dress, and professional setting standards still apply.

 

2. Check the tech

Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong (especially when technology is involved). Murphy ’s Law (with addendum) are another rule to consider before the Skype interview. It's the facilitator’s job to be familiar with the tools, just as prospective candidates need to be prepared and use proper interviewing etiquette. 
The best way to avoid embarrassing technical issues is to be familiar with the application, whether Skype, FaceTime, Hangouts, or any of the countless business-focused systems out there. Do a trial run right before the actual interview and a basic systems check. Connection is also key; consider using an Ethernet cable instead of Wi-Fi for enhanced signal strength. Any complications due to the facilitators’ negligence (or technical ignorance), reflects negatively on the company itself. Don’t let it happen when simple steps and a little time can prevent it.

 

 3. Visualize

It may not be “in person”, but the major benefit of Video chat interviews is the visual aspect. Use it! Little things that could never be noticed in a phone screen can become glaring red flags via Skype. Body posture, eye contact, and other non-verbal communication might be hard to accurately judge over a computer screen, but things like dress, preparedness, and overall attentiveness are easy to read. Is the candidate in a formal (or at least clean) setting, or does the background feature dirty laundry on the floor and a Grateful Dead poster on the wall? (nothing against Deadheads) The candidate is likely at home and their taste in décor (or Classic Rock) is absolutely their private business, but how they chose to present themselves to a potential employer is something to consider before moving to the next step.

 

Bringing it all together

Skype is only as valuable as the HR reps, hiring managers, and recruiters who facilitate the interview. Be sure to bring the A-game to the interview, double check the tech, and make the most of the many benefits a video-based interview offers. Technology can be a terrifying enemy or a powerful ally to businesses that are updating old processes with new methods. Just make sure you know what you’re doing.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Robert Gallagher is an Executive Recruiter and Career Coach at The Denzel Group. He received his Bachelors in Corporate Communications from Penn State University. He has published works in Lehigh Valley Business, Tradition Magazine, ERE Media, The Pottstown-Mercury, State of the Valley and is a LinkedIn contributor. Follow him on The Denzel Group’s LinkedIn site:www.goo.gl/IWRpqh

THE DENZEL GROUP:

The Denzel Group conducts Contingent, Retained and Staff Augmentation Information Technology searches for a wide variety of clients. Using our tried and proven 17-step search process, we are able to provide our clients with critically talented Information Technology professionals in a timely and cost efficient manner. Visit us at http://www.thedenzelgroup.com

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