Technology is playing an increasing role in many aspects of our lives, and job interviews are no different. A recent trend is the Skype job interview. The Skype interview makes great sense for both companies and job seekers: The applicants can interview with a company anywhere in the world without the inconvenience of travel days, and companies have access to a larger pool of candidates because they can interview out-of-town candidates without incurring travel costs. If you are currently in the job market, don’t be surprised if you are asked to participate in a Skype interview. Here are some tips to help you make it a success.
Before the Interview:
• Check the audio quality of your equipment before the interview to avoid embarrassing “can you hear me” moments. Make sure you have a pair of comfortable headphones; headphones will eliminate speaker playback.
• Don’t rely on wireless Internet; plug directly into an Ethernet port. You don’t want to lose connectivity during your interview.
• Make sure your Skype profile and photograph are professional. You may have a fantastic resume, but if you sign in to your interview session as with an unprofessional username, you have already given a bad impression. Choose something with your first and last name as opposed to a nickname.
• Choose your clothing carefully. Wear dark solid-color clothing and avoid bright colors and busy prints. This is especially important for a Skype interview because certain plaids and prints can give a strobe-type effect on camera. Look at what news anchors wear and take your cues from their outfits.
• Select the location for your computer to minimize background distractions.
• Ask a friend to conduct a practice interview with you on Skype to help you get comfortable with the format and make sure your equipment is working properly. Pay special attention to whether or not you are distracted by the small screen in the corner that shows what the other person is seeing. If you find yourself looking at that image instead of the camera, change the settings to eliminate that window, or cover it with a sticky note.
During the Interview
• Close all of the programs on your computer that might be an interruption or distraction during the interview. Look directly into the camera and not at the screen. Looking into the camera is the Skype equivalent of making eye contact, and it will help keep you focused.
• Make sure your camera angle includes a good view of your head and shoulders. Lean in toward your computer so your facial expressions are more easily seen. Video interviews can lose some of the subtle body language cues that are visible in an in-person interview, so you want to make sure your interviewers can see enthusiasm, friendliness and interest in your facial expressions.
• Keep your hands on the table and include them in the camera view. People use their hands a great deal to communicate; don’t deprive your interviewers of getting the full effect of your answers by hiding your hands.
• Eliminate interruptions. Turn off the ringer on your house phone and cell phone. Make sure children and pets are kept out of the room during your interview.
• Talk in a louder voice than you would in a face-to-face interview and speak more slowly to make sure you are heard and understood. Make sure not to get ahead of yourself and answer before the interviewer has completed their question or ask a question of your own before they are finished speaking, as a time-delay can cause you to want to fill in the gaps.
A Skype interview can be an intimidating process the first time you go through one, but if you follow these tips, you’ll feel more confident, and chances are, the interview will go off without a hitch. Skype provides a worthwhile alternative to conducting in-person interviews as well as business conferencing in the workplace, as long as proper etiquette is practiced and preparation steps are taken.
Alex Faubel enjoys writing about topics related to business and technology in career-focused education programs.