Telephone and Video Interviews – Part 2

This is a 2 part post. Part 1 – Telephone Interviews can be found by clicking here. Part 2 – Video Interviews is posted below.

Part 2 – Video Interviews

Video interviews have become an increasingly used method of interviewing when candidate and company are unable to meet face-to-face. It gets around a lot of the pitfalls of telephone interviewing and not being able to see the other person you are speaking to. It is nowhere near as effective as a meeting in person, after all you don’t get to see the office and team for example, but can be enough to secure an offer of employment if done effectively.

The most common method I’ve seen used in recent years is Skype video calling. This has the interviewer at a computer connected to the internet at their location with a web-cam and the candidate in their location with the same set up – a good web-cam is relatively cheap to buy these days – you certainly don’t need to have a set quite as elaborate as that shown in the below photo! The interviewer (or interviewee) simply adds the person they wish to speak to onto their contacts list and they can then call each other by video. And it’s free. For details about how to sign up for a free account on Skype please visit: www.skype.com.

The most expensive webcam of all times?photo © 2004 Jakob Montrasio | more info (via: Wylio)

Similar alternatives include WebEx, a web based interviewing system some large corporations use. They will generally send through (sometimes quite complicated) instructions on how to connect and it requires the same computer/internet set-up as Skype. There is also MSN Messenger, AIM, ICQ and others although these are less commonly used. For any of these internet methods to be prepared for the occasional hiccup and issues with picture quality. Try to make some practice calls to people you know to test equipment before the interview so you know what to expect.

Preparation for a video interview should be the same as for a face-to-face interview. They will generally last a bit longer than a telephone interview at around 45-60 minutes. Some people find it very strange talking to a camera but try to relax, it is no different really to speaking to someone in person. Make sure the place you are speaking from is presentable and that you are also presentable – you certainly don’t need to wear a suit but equally a dressing gown would probably not be recommended! Try to look into the camera (maintain eye contact) when speaking. And smile!

If relevant you may be asked to talk through some work over the camera so if possible try to show some images to the interviewer. More common is they have a PDF slide show to talk through which has been sent over to them prior to the interview. Either way, treat the presentation of your work in the same manner as you would at a face-to-face interview. The same applies for when you are asking the interviewer any questions and when it comes to discussing salary. As always end an interview on a positive note showing your interest in hearing from them about the next steps. Sometimes this will be further video interviews with other people or flying over to meet them in person*. On rare occasions this can lead to an offer.

*A Quick Note on Flying Over for Interview.

Some companies will cover the cost of flights over for a candidate to interview. However, this is rare in the current climate and is generally only for senior appointments. Some companies will look for a level of commitment from a candidate and ask if they will fund a trip over for themselves. This would be regarded as a positive sign to the client. You really need to think carefully here. A flight and accommodation will require an investment from you and you need to remember that by flying over it does not guarantee that you will automatically secure a position. It certainly helps greatly but this is really a decision you need to think about carefully. If you have a few potential meetings lined up then it can be worth it or if you feel that one role is worth the risk then great. However I would only fully commit to a trip if you are guaranteed to be able to meet someone. I would of course always recommend a trip to your potential place of future residence to assess the environment if nothing else. A lot of candidates combine these trips with meeting companies thus killing two birds with one stone.

For some further tips on interviewing in general, please take a look at our other post Interviewing Basics

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Year of the Rabbit (athletic 2 horizontal)photo © 2010 Lena | more info (via: Wylio)

Chinese City Fact: Chongqing

Chongqing has long been highlighted by the Chinese government as a centre for growth in Western China. This is apparent in it’s recent population growth to 32 million inhabitants in the greater urban area with neighbouring provinces and cities making up a population of 300 million in the region! The average growth in GDP has been in excess of 14% since 2000.

Chongqing Skylinephoto © 2006 David Schroeter | more info (via: Wylio)

Chongqing is one of the places that China hopes will become a Silicon Valley in China turning the economy there from a “made in China” to an “invented in China” economy. Software and high-tech business growth was 200% in 2009.

Less known is that Chongqing is called the “Chicago of China” because it acts as a gateway to the Western wilderness. It is a major transportation hub where roads, railways and rivers converge in the many valleys that make up the city. It is also known as the “Furnace of the Yangtze” both for it’s fiery food (most famously it’s hot pot) and for it’s industrial activity and summertime temperatures.

鸳鸯火锅 Spicy and Plain Hotpot - Ba Yu Ren Jia Chongqing Hotpotphoto © 2008 Alpha | more info (via: Wylio)

For more on Chongqing please visit: http://www.chinatoday.com/city/chongqing.htm