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Video-Skype

Updated 06-25-2016

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Companies are evolving in the "Internet of Things" (IoT) era to increase speed, reduce costs, work smarter:
  1.  Talent they need is not always where the talent is
     needed
  2.  Travel costs in dollars and time are expensive
  3.  Interviews were expensive yet necessary
  4.  Technology is reducing the impact of the above

Video conferencing was popular but not often used due to the $350 per hour plus resource person charge with limited facilities available and there were inherent problems getting a good quality video connection in 5 minutes.  Today, costs, locations, and technology are dramatically better.

The Internet and tools, like Skype, have changed the playing field once again.  Now video conferencing, even when the parties are in town, makes sense due to convenience, east access, low-cost access from home, office or a foreign country.

So how does someone who's never been on camera before come across polished, classy, organized and like "the winner" for the job or anything else?

STEP 1:  Do not panic.  You have some preparation and planning to work on first.
             Consider finding a friend with a laptop who uses the same software.  Invite
             them over and connect to each other so you can see HOW you will look on
             camera in the room and desk or table you plan to use.

             Trial runs like this affords the opportunity to really enhance your image.
             Is that giant wall picture of cartoon characters appropriate for your interview?
             The location may not work well on video so explore but try to ensure you
             keep a wire connection to avoid bandwidth issues or other network gotchas.

STEP 2:  Watch the video on YouTube.  Watch it multiple times if needed.  It's OK.

STEP 3:  Download the Checklist and get busy.


Some additional Tips...
  •  Know Your Technology:
     Technology will have some quirks somewhere.  Research the equipment you have  and test it out.  Know the basic and features such as:
       1.  how do you increase the volume level for your microphone?
       2.  how do you increase the volume on your speakers but not causing feedback?
       3.  what connections are required for the equipment to work: include all the
            cables from the computer to the network router to your network connection
            inside the house and where the power plugs are.  Make a drawing just in case
            someone disconnects them during an electrical storm and your call is set for
            that following morning when everyone else is gone.


  • Make your Personal Notes:
    Keep this out of camera range but well within eye sight.  These will be your key talking points and questions.  This should be used to "jog" your memory and not something you read directly from.

  • Show Energy:
    They can see you.  Energy and personality are important but you're not in the room so take everything a notch higher so they come through in the video and audio.  It is a must to "neutralize" the barrier you have through a remote connection.  Know that being a soft speaker becomes harder to hear.  An introverted person becomes a hermit.

    Smile and speak clearly... ask if they can hear you clearly when you start so YOU know where your volume level needs to be.  It also shows you care.  Use facial and hand gestures BUT DO NOT wave your hands in a rapid manner as the video may not make those quick actions look good or your hands keep being cut off.  BUT ALWAYS FOCUS YOUR ATTENTION ON THEM!


  • Echos:
     Try some pillows around you but out of view of the camera.  Pillows can minimize
     or stop echoes.


  •  Your or Your Neighbors Pets:
     Put pets where they will be happy and quiet.  Pet noises are distracting and that's
     bad for everyone.  Even outside, barking dogs can be heard.


  •  Door Bells:
     If you are expecting a delivery, request a delayed delivery or pick it up from
     somewhere.  
    Nothing like someone ringing the doorbell over and over and over again during your interview.

  •  Shock of Seeing Yourself:
     Spend time getting used to seeing yourself on screen.  For some, it can be very
     uncomfortable or distracting.  You simply need to get over this to perform well.

  •  Telephones:
     The audio may use the connection through your laptop, but confirm this for your
     interview up front.  If so, disconnect telephones that might be heard during your
     interview.  We're all trained to answer a ringing phone so ensure they can't ring.  Cell or land line phones, same problem.  IF YOU NEED YOUR PHONE, use a land
     line connection if at all possible for a better quality sound.  Cell tower reliability is
     not 100% just like landlines but cell towers can fail more often.


  •  Heavy Vehicles: (School Bus, Waste or Recycling Trucks, Delivery Trucks, Ice Cream  Trucks, etc.)
     Heavy trucks with big noisy engines are not good along with emergency vehicles,
     low flying aircraft,  etc.  Try to schedule around these or use a room insulated
     from such unwanted noise sources.


  •  Children:
     A baby crying will compel attention and thus impact your interview.  See if a family
     member or good 
    neighbor can watch the baby during your interview.  Older
     children, post a big note on the door they 
    come in through reminding them of
     your interview time period and to stay outside or stay quietly in a

     a remote part of your residence.  Consider the same for any spouse or fiancee who
     has access but with a softer kinder approach.

  •  Lighting:
     Different bulbs will produce a different color of light due to the different materials
     used today.  Experiment to find which provides the best color for your skin to
     leave a better impression.


  •  Hair, Face, Eyes, Teeth, Ears & Eyebrows, Neck, Clothing
     -  Is your hair all in place looking sharp?
         Keep a brush out of sight should you need it before the interview begins.


     -  Any food left on your face from lunch or some quick snack?
         It will distract your viewers wondering what you have or if it is some medical
         problem.

     -  If you are having "red" eyes from lack of sleep or allergies, address that starting
         24 hours before your interview so extra sleep, eye drops or other aids can
         resolve that.

     -  Brush your teeth before the interview.  Bread or other items stuck to your teeth
         is not professional.

     -  Like the rest of your facial hair, make sure these are problem free, trimmed and
         clean.

     -  Do you have some birthmark on your neck or injury?  Use appropriate clothing
         to help hide that.

     -  Make sure the colors you wear work for you and not against you.  Ensure you
         check the clothing for possible problems (spills, stains, etc.) in advance of the
         interview for time to correct things.  And do not eat in those clothes until after
         the interview
    .

  •  Assume You Are Being Recorded
     -  Plan in advance what you want to say to avoid stuttering or looking stiff or
         awkward.  
    Use your laptop to record yourself answering questions from
         someone else with you for practice.  
    Review your session for potential areas of
         improvement.  And as with every interview, have your questions to ask them.
         Whether in person or via video, asking questions shows interest.

     -  No matter what, never bash or "bad mouth" anyone during an interview.  If you
         will trash someone 
    you will one day potentially trash them or their employer.
         Consider yourself OUT if you do this.


  •  IF THERE ARE PROBLEMS...
     If there is an emergency, if you suddenly fall ill, if there is something that prevents
     you from being focused and well prepared to be at your best, consider requesting
     a reschedule.  If this is not possible but you can still attend the session, restate up
     front during the session of your impact so the others involved will understand any
     loss of focus, delays, other unexplained things they may observe.

     Video conferences are easier to reschedule than having to ensure everyone can be
     in the same room at 
    the same time.  And this may be your best shot so ensure you
     are at your best when you get that shot.

  • WHEN YOU ARE DONE ...
    You can't shake their hand but you can make other gestures thanking them for their time with an interest in continuing the discussions for a position you feel strong about as being a great fit for your passions and interests.