Skype interviews are becoming increasingly popular with employers. Like any interview, it is important to prepare for your Skype interview and the nuances that come with them. Here are my top 10 tips on preparing for your Skype interview:
- Test your Audio and Video Equipment – it is vital that your video and audio equipment work during your Skype interview. You can test this through the Skype system, or better yet, test your equipment with a friend or family member to ensure that everything is in fine working order. Also, be sure to test your equipment well in advance so that you have ample time to borrow or purchase new equipment for your skype interview.
- Background – while testing your video equipment, take note of the background. Be sure that there isn’t any mess or distasteful art on the walls behind you. Remember: the interviewer will be able to see it, so be sure your space is neat and tidy.
- Lighting – good lighting could mean the difference of you being visible to the interviewers or not. As with the previous point, be sure that you do not have a window behind you with a lot of light pouring in towards your back. This will cause you to appear too dark and difficult to see. Instead, make sure that your face is well lit, either from the natural light from a window or by using a lamp. In addition, recently, I was speaking with a friend of mine, Tao Liu, on Skype. He was wearing eye glasses and I could see the reflection of his computer screen in his glasses. So be sure that your lighting minimizes this reflection.
- Frame – make sure you are in the frame of the camera. This will be especially important if you are using a laptop computer. Having your laptop computer or webcam at eye level is optimal. Otherwise, you could be at an awkward and unflattering angle.
- Dress & Groom – my recommendation is that you wear a suit for your Skype interview as this will help you get your head into the interview mind space. Since the interviewer will only see you from about the shoulders up, some people may choose to wear jeans or other comfortable bottoms. This choice is entirely up to you. Just be sure that you wear an interview appropriate top and/or blazer and be sure to be well groomed.
- Look into Camera – this may feel awkward for most people, but by looking into the camera or webcam, you will be creating “eye contact” with the interviewers.
- Cheat Sheet Notes – an advantage of the Skype interview is that you can have your research notes at the ready. You can either have your notes on your computer screen and access them by simply minimizing your Skype window. Alternately, you can have them prepared on sticky notes placed around the outside of your monitor. Either way, I recommend that you keep your notes in bullet form so that you are able to quickly access them without breaking your virtual “eye contact” as mentioned in the previous point. As a final thought on this, if you are using a laptop computer, it may be worthwhile to invest in an external mouse and keyboard so that as you access your notes on your computer, your movements will be less obvious.
- Taking Notes – it is a best practice to take notes during an interview – noting any interesting insights or questions the interviewer shares. The interviewer won’t necessarily be able to see that you are taking notes, and as such, you might appear to be restless, distracted, or uninterested. When taking notes during a Skype interview, be sure to let the interviewer know that you are taking notes and ask if they are ok with you taking your notes.
- Distractions – typically Skype interviews will be scheduled in advance. Make sure that during your scheduled interview time, especially if you are interviewing from your home, that you remove any potential distractions and set aside a quiet space for your interview. Be sure to turn off your mobile and/or home telephone ringer(s) and to turn off your computer’s email alerts.
- Relax – the key advantage of a Skype interview is that you are likely able to participate from your home. You can think of this as having a “home court advantage.” This should help you to remain calm during your interview so that you can put your best foot forward, and hopefully, bag the job!
If you have any tips on preparing for a Skype interview, I invite you to leave them in the comments below. If you would like personalized advice, check out the services section here.
Until next time, happy hunting!