8 Essential Tips for Skype Interview
A Skype interview was once something that only a few companies would ever consider. Most firms preferred to meet with the candidates in person. However, Research by Korn Ferry shows that more than 24% of all interviews are now video interviews – a figure which is expected to grow exponentially over the coming years. Here are 8 tips for your next Skype interview:
1. Know Your Equipment
Ensure that you know what tools you will be using, and that your internet is reliable. Some companies will ask you to download a more specialised programme – familiarise yourself with it in advance. You don’t want to be looking for the ‘call’ button when it’s your allocated time.
It takes a few steps to use Skype. Make sure you have downloaded the software, signed up, and activated your account beforehand.
Personalise your profile, especially if you use Skype socially. Change your profile to match your professional profile: use a neat headshot for your photo, update your biography, and remove anything you wouldn’t want your employer to see.
2. Practice Beforehand
Perhaps the most useful way to improve is to practice. Ask a friend or family member that you trust to add you on skype and do a test. Ask for their honest feedback and adjust accordingly.
If you can bear it, it is also a good idea to record yourself. Try introducing yourself, and answering a few key questions. Watching it back will show you where your weaknesses are, and show you the things you’re doing without realising.
3. Wear What You Would For Any Interview
First impressions matter. That means not only the way you look, but your surroundings too. It might seem tempting to wear pyjama bottoms under the table (!) but you should dress how you would for a face-to-face interview – not only will this save you if you need to stand to adjust your surroundings, but it will also make you feel more confident and professional.
4. Clean Your Background
It is easy to feel that a Skype interview is less formal than a face-to-face meeting, but you shouldn’t have dirty laundry, unclean dishes, or childish posters in the background for your first meeting. You wouldn’t bring these into an offline interview!
To make sure you are making a good impression, put the video camera on before your interview and check what is visible. In general, the plainer the background the better, so that it won’t distract.
5. Position Your Laptop
Practicing with the video camera, check how you will look on their screen. Position your chair so that you will start the actual interview in the right place. Your face and upper torso should be central. Not too far, and not too close – they should be able to see your expression clearly, but not your every pore.
Ensure that you are well lit. The light should be coming from behind the screen, not from behind you. Have as much natural light as possible, but turn on desk lamps if necessary – position these out of the camera’s sight.
6. Look at the Camera
This may feel unnatural, but you must remember to look at the camera during a video interview – not at their faces on the screen, and definitely not at your own face! It will then look like you are making eye contact with them. One way you can remind yourself to look at the camera is actually by sticking pieces of paper (or even googly eyes) on either side of your camera.
If you have notes, write them in note form, large letters, and place them at eye height not on the desk. This means you can refer to them with more ease and not showing them the top of your head.
7. Prevent Distractions During the Skype Interview
An interrupted interview on the BBC may have been charming, but you do not want energetic children coming in during your session! Warn housemates and family, and lock your door if you can. The same goes for computer distractions. It would not be ideal if a notification sound for Candy Crush played during your interview. Close other windows and change your settings to turn off background notifications such as Email and Calendar. Put your phone on aeroplane mode.
8. Adjust Voice and Body Language
It is more difficult to express yourself through body language on video. Instead, ensure that you express yourself in your voice. Speak clearly and slowly, looking at the camera and varying your tone. Be careful of hand gestures – some but not too much. Flamboyance will be excessive on a small screen. As you would with any interview, remember to smile, nod, and make ‘eye contact’ as often as possible.
Generally, the same rules apply as at a face-to-face interview (at least you don’t have to worry about how hard you shake hands!) Be courteous, interested, and attentive, just as you would be if the panel were in the room with you. Good luck with your next Skype Interview!