Digital Interviewing: The Introduction of Tomorrow
By Alex Roberts
If you plan on entering any faculty of the world’s burgeoning economy, then you’ll definitely be asked to do an interview.
I know. Seeing the “I” word makes most people tense up in fear, and for good reason. Interviews are probably the most awkward conversations you’ll ever have, and at this point, you’re probably wondering why you should read such a disillusioning blog.
Here’s why: the medium of interviewing is going through a massive overhaul.
In 2016, it’s less than likely that your first interview will be face-to-face. Rather, it’ll probably be on one of the many types of digital media that now inhabit the technology sphere. Digital technology provides you with the ability to turn a high-pressure event into a more casual, conversational meeting.
I bet you’re still nervous, though, especially considering that digital interviews are new and something you’ve probably never experienced before.
Never fear! I’m here to help quell your angst and make you a pro in digital interviewing. (Or, at least, you’ll feel very confident with some advice.)
First off, there are many methods that companies use to interview prospective job candidates. One of the most prevalent methods utilizes the live web-based application Skype. Skype has many useful features that go beyond the scope of this article, so if you want to check them out or simply familiarize yourself with the program, feel free to go to this link: https://support.skype.com/en/skype/mac/ Here, you’ll find a wealth of information all about the program — all written by the people who created Skype. In my later blogs, I’ll address another similar program called Google Hangouts. To use Google Hangouts, simply create a Google+ account and type: https://hangouts.google.com. More on the different components of Google Hangouts will be introduced later.
Many aspects of the analog interview complement the digital. There are, however, a few special circumstances that will boost your image if you know the best practices for those situations. Here’s how to excel at the Skype interview.
1. Allow an hour’s worth of set-up time
“Woah, woah, an HOUR? I thought this was supposed to be quick,” is what you’re probably screaming at your screen right now. But as with everything in this world, technology has its weak spots. If you begin preparing for your interview five minutes before, you may very well accept the Skype call, have a fantastic experience, and ace the interview. Or, your internet can cut out, rendering the interview impossible and causing your interviewer to receive a negative first impression about you. Your best practice here would be to begin preparing an hour ahead of time so as to assure that you have a stable internet connection and are capable of avoiding a negative impression.
2. Dress professionally
Again, you might find this a bit much for such a lax-style of interview, but wearing your best clothing sends the message that you care about the job. Wearing a T-shirt and jeans may be your most comfortable outfit to have a conversation in, but anything pertaining to acquiring a job should be treated as an important affair. I’m not saying wear a tuxedo or your best ball gown. Just dress up business casual or business professional. The interviewer will immediately realize your intent to get the job if you dress appropriately.
3. Check your background
While this might seem an odd parameter, take a look at the walls in your room. Do they have posters or bright colors? Perhaps they have art on them that suggests a wonderfully cultural side of your personality. That is, indeed, impressive, and may be the only thing your interviewer will be focusing on. Therefore, your stellar presentation might go over your interviewer’s head because the interviewer is spending more time addressing your background than you. Just like in presentations, images and backgrounds should only be used to support your case. In most interviews, the images and artifacts in your background will not pertain to the job description. In addition, check to see how visually busy your interview space is. Having people walk behind you is both distracting to you and the interviewer. Your best practice here is to go to a quiet, neutral area. On campus, there are many places that will allow you to do a digital interview. The New Media Writing Studio and the Neeley Professional Development Center welcome you to do a digital interview. (Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about securing the Studio for interviews.)
4. Maintain eye contact with your webcam
This one is even stranger than the last one. Why wouldn’t you be looking at your webcam while doing an interview?! Instead, try to look at their face. Human conversation typically involves two people looking at each other’s faces and talking. The subtle expressions of another person’s face tell us a lot about how the other member of the conversation is feeling about what you are saying. Therefore, it’s only natural to look at the person’s face on the other side of the screen. A key piece of advice: don’t. When you look at a person’s face on Skype, you have ceased all eye contact with that person. Doing this will cause you to appear disorganized and scattered. Most interviewers are searching for talent that is just the opposite – organized and systematic. Here’s a suggestion on how to combat loss of eye contact. Isn’t looking at the interviewer the reason you lose concentration in an interview and become anxious? When you look at the camera, you are forced to avoid actually looking at the person’s face. This turns something frustrating into something useful that’ll actually make you appear more organized.
5. Be confident
This tip will be on all of my blogs because it is the most important aspect of interviewing. Simply professing your skills and remaining enthusiastic is half of the battle in each and every interviewing case. Practice. Practice. Practice. The more you practice, the more confident you’ll feel, and the better off you’ll be.
And there you have it. Combined, these skills will allow you to position yourself above other candidates and show you are capable of handling 21st-century technology.
Stay tuned for more posts about the many other forms of digital interviewing, and with that, I bid you adieu.