In a time when more and more job seekers are willing and able to relocate for their career, video interviews are on the rise: It’s easier and cheaper to talk online than to travel to another city or even country, especially for the first round of interviews. Plus, you can wear your favorite fuzzy slippers while advancing your career.
Even though we’re used to interacting with computers and on chats, conducting a job interview over Skype is not as easy as it sounds: You completely rely on technology and being comfortable and confident in front of a screen takes a little practice – and our guide to acing a Skype job interview, of course.
1. Do the prep work
Choose an appropriate Skype name and profile picture. Make sure your Internet connection is stable, the webcam and microphone are working, and your battery is charged. Small headphones help avoid audio feedback. Know how to troubleshoot in case the connection fails and stay calm in case there are technical glitches – nothing ruins your chances of a job as quickly as cursing at a webcam while your future employer is listening.
2. And do a dry run
If you’re a Skype interview newbie, find a friend who would like to practice all the worst case scenarios and help you with decisions on interior design, lighting and outfit choices. Sit on a chair that is comfortable and high enough so the upper half of your body is visible. You should know how to send and receive files, mute the speakers and put a call on hold. Have a glass of water ready, together with both a printed and an electronic version of all your correspondence, especially your CV and cover letter.
3. Create a controlled environment
Take the call in a quiet environment. Close all the windows, mute your phone, lock out any roommates or non-goldfish pets. Clean up the visible area behind you and adjust your webcam before the call starts, so your interview partner won’t think there’s an earthquake on the other side of the screen. Make sure there is no bright light behind you or your face will appear too dark (and creepy).
4. Dress for success
Don’t slack off in the wardrobe department and get into the interview mindset by dressing from head to toe: As tempting as it is to not wear pants, you never know when you have to get up. The best advice here is to simply pretend that you’re leaving the house to go to a real meeting. Don’t wear screaming colors or small stripes as they will appear blurry and start flickering, and make sure your outfit doesn’t clash or wash out with the background.
5. Make (screen) eye contact
Try to look into the webcam – the Skype equivalent of making eye contact. If you stare at the interviewer’s image on the screen, it will look a little off. If you want to take notes, write on a notepad so the typing will not distract your interview partner. Skype lets you hide the window with your own picture, but I recommend keeping it open – just to keep an eye on the background and your posture.
6. End it right
It’s easier said than done, but try not to wave goodbye. (It’s a Skype thing.) Even more important, however: Do not say anything non-interview related until after you hang up. Turning off the camera and hanging up the phone are two different things on Skype, so be (very) careful!