With our global economy and advancing technology, it has now become commonplace for interviews to occur over Skype. The online video and audio chatting service is a cheaper and faster option than having a candidate travel to the job location, something that 42% of companies has realized according to the Aberdeen Group, a marketing research firm. That number has gone up from 10% of companies in 2010. As Forbes reported, the number of people using Skype for work situations increases when you include people who telecommute from home; the 2012 Census Bureau report found that 13.4 million employees in the U.S. work from home. These numbers point to the same conclusion: learning how to conduct an interview or contribute to a meeting over Skype has become a necessary skill for any professional.
- Dress for the occasion! Some people view the Skype interview as a lazier, easier form of the regular interview. In fact, just the opposite is true: because you aren’t there in person, it takes even more work to make a good impression. Dressing in your interview best will make a good impression on your interviewers, but it will also help take you out of the comfort of your home and into the zone of professionalism. Don’t skimp either – it might be tempting to wear sweats on your lower half, but if you have to get up for any reason, you’re screwed.
- Dress your home for the occasion. Part of the impression you are making will be your surroundings. No matter how you dress for your interview, your home needs to look clean and neat. Put clutter in another room. Be aware of what your interviewer will see when they look behind you and plan accordingly.
- Make your Skype profile professional. If you downloaded Skype in college, your profile might be less than professional. Take a new photo and change your screen name. This is one of the first impressions your interviewer will get of you, so make it a good one!
- Take care of technical difficulties ahead of time. Practice by calling your parents or someone distant on Skype the day before. If you get bad service in your home, try booking a room at a library instead of having the interview in your house. Make sure your microphone and camera work too.
- If you do have technical issues during the interview, fix them immediately. Don’t ignore them and hope they go away. This will be less obnoxious for you and your interviewers, but it will also show that you are a problem-solver. Try hanging up and calling them back if all else fails.
- Have notes available. The best part of a Skype interview is that you can cheat! Have your resume, information about the company, and questions for your interviewer ready in front of you. You don’t want to read your notes word for word though, so make sure they only serve as reminders. It’s also better to have them printed than on your computer. The person on the other end of Skype can absolutely see when you are clicking on other links or not looking at the screen; that action looks like you aren’t paying attention to them. Instead, write down a few pointers on notecards and place them next to you. This also helps you look extra prepared.
- Don’t stare at yourself the entire time! When you Skype someone, there is a little box on the corner of the screen that will show what you look like. It’s easy to focus on yourself and get self-conscious. It’s imperative that you maintain eye contact with your interviewers, so either ignore the box or try to change your functions so it doesn’t appear.
- Go somewhere where you won’t be interrupted. Tell your roommates not to be home or find that private library room. Interruptions will throw you off your groove and look unprofessional to your interviewer.
- Don’t look at the screen! Reflexively, Skype users look at the image of the interviewer when trying to make eye contact. However, your eyeline is well below the camera. When you look at the image on your screen, you aren’t making eye contact. Instead, do your best to look into the camera.
- Be aware of your body. Sometimes interviewees tend to forget to smile when they interview on Skype. They also tend to gesture too much, a move that is very distracting. A great way to figure out if your body language is sending the right messages is to practice with a friend first. Then try to work on your problem areas.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given on nailing Skype interviews?
Chen, Ming. “7 Deadly Skype Interview Sins.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ming-chen/7-deadly-skype-interview-_b_1274107.html. (4 March 2014).
“7 Tips To Nail A Skype Interview.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/04/09/7-tips-to-nail-a-skype-interview/. (4 March 2014).