While establishing your accountancy career, you will normally gain plenty of experience with face-to-face interviews and meetings, but video interviews can be less common, so it is even more important to prepare and rehearse to increase your chances in this type of interview.
Trainees shouldn’t ignore the common courtesies of an in-person meeting when videoconferencing via Skype or other software tools, as there are some best practices that should be observed.
There are a number of dos and don’ts to consider before such meetings.
Phil Sheridan, managing director, Robert Half UK, says: ‘Make sure your system works. Whether you are leading the meeting or just participating, take the time to test your systems. Make sure you have the link to the meeting, have the right pass codes or sign-in details and a working internet connection. You don’t want to be the one coming in late or holding up the start time.
‘Also consider your environment. Make sure that you are projecting a professional image with a neutral backdrop and an uncluttered foreground. If you are taking the meeting at your desk, make sure your desk is tidy and no confidential information visible. Also, consider your lighting. Natural lighting is best but avoid sitting with your back to a bright window or light as it can make your face appear too dark on camera.’
Karen Young, director at Hays Accountancy and Finance, says: ‘Dress formally. You may be at home while the Skype interview is taking place, but that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to wear casual clothes. Remember the person on the other end can still see you, so dress as you would if you were going into their head office.
‘Remember body language too. It can be more difficult to show the usual body language that demonstrates you are listening when having a Skype interview. You want to show you are interested and enthusiastic, so be sure to convey this in what you say and how you respond and remember to smile.’
Lorraine Twist, Michael Page Finance, adds: ‘Treat the Skype interview or meeting in exactly the same way as you would in a normal interview/meeting. You need to look professional and well turned out as if you were going in face-to-face.
‘Choose a quiet room away from all distractions and ensure the camera is set in line with your eyes.’
‘Don’t panic. A problem with your technology can throw you off if it happens during the middle of an interview, but always try to remain professional,’ says Young. ‘The interviewer will be aware that some things are out of your control... should anything happen, start the call again to regain a connection, and quickly make contact to update the interviewer so you can continue as soon as possible.
‘Also, don’t talk over others. Sometimes there can be delays in the conversation when using video software like Skype. Ensure that you allow others to finish speaking before responding to avoid any confusion and keep the interview on track.’