In this article we give you 9 Skype Interview tips to help you ace your next video interview.
A Skype interview will often precede a face-to-face meeting to help pick the very best candidates and if you’re looking for a new job in 2020, it’s something you need to be prepared for. In some cases, an employer may choose to use this as the only method of interviewing when hiring. In any case, the importance of a video call interview is the same, no matter what the format.
You need to be prepared and act accordingly at all times. Your professionalism is going to be judged the same – even over a Skype call. Here are 9 Skype interview tips to help you succeed:
1. Dress appropriately
Skyping from the comfort of your own living room doesn’t mean you can stay in your pyjamas. You need to get suited and booted as you would a normal face to face interview. First impressions count and the interviewer would expect you to dress smartly – even if it is just from the waist up!
“Strictly speaking you can wear what you like (from the waist down). However, being in business dress might make you feel the part and help with your performance”, says Joanna Keilt, consultant at Futureboard.
Here’s a video from on how to look good in a Skype interview:
2. Always look at the camera
If you are using a laptop you will see that the camera sits above the screen in the centre. A common habit when using Skype is to look at the person on the screen or the image of yourself in the corner, which means your eyes appear to look slightly up instead of at the person on the other end.
To ensure you are looking at the employer you need to try and look at the camera. It can be quite hard to do as this means you aren’t looking at the actual person on the screen. Our advice would be to take this into consideration and practice beforehand. Keeping eye contact will help you to build up a rapport with the manager.
3. Practice with a friend
Skype interviews are very different from the standard ‘in person’ meetings. Talking to a computer screen (or camera) is a lot harder than it seems. The connection you get when meeting someone in person is quite easy and natural. But over a video call it is much harder to build up that chemistry and engage in a friendly manner.
Video calls make everything seem very official and formal, but don’t let that affect the way you speak. Practice with a friend over Skype and get them to ask you a few common interview questions. Also practice the questions that you intend to ask the employer. Record the video call and then review it back later, and also ask your friend to take notes and provide feedback. You may be surprised at how stiff you come across, so you may need to loosen up a little and practice some more!
It’s important to test your equipment just before the interview, too. “Always do a test run at least 24 hours ahead of time so you’ve got an opportunity to fix any issues that might arise…and that means making sure the person on the other end of the call can hear and see you,” says Mike Simpson of The Interview Guys.
4. Check your surroundings
Don’t conduct the Skype interview on your phone and on the move. This will look very unprofessional! You need to sit in a quiet room and ensure your surroundings are appropriate. Use your laptop on a desk or table and check what’s behind you. A window with the sun shining through will make it hard for both you and the employer to see.
If you have an office with a few books on a shelf, you may decide to Skype from there. It would look professional if you have a few items like this in the background.
5. Take notes
Be armed with a pen and paper ready to take notes during the Skype interview. This type of interview is often quite short and may only last a few minutes, so you need to be ready to take notes very quickly.
You also may have some questions of your own you’d like to ask. Write them down on your notepad so you don’t forget. This will look professional and show the employer that you are interested in the role. An interview is not just about answering questions, and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask your own and show how passionate you are.
6. Let everyone know
You cannot risk being disturbed during the Skype interview, so it’s important you clear the house or let everyone know what’s happening. There needs to be zero background noise and no interruptions. It will look very unprofessional if someone happens to wander into the room – and embarrassing!
Close all the windows so there is no noise from a busy main road, and don’t play music. Turn off your radio, TV and anything else that might make even the smallest of noises. You want complete serenity so both you and the employer can hear every word.
7. Use an appropriate profile
Your Skype username and profile picture needs to be appropriate. If you have a funny name and picture then consider changing it or creating a new business profile for the interview.
The employer wants to know that you are taking the interview seriously, as they will come across quite a few people that don’t! Unfortunately it’s quite common for job seekers to relax too much during video calls as they fail to recognise the importance and comparison with a face to face job interview. Don’t make the same mistake and remain professional at all times – from the email address you give, your Skype profile, your Facebook profile, your Twitter account, and even your voice message on your answering machine.
8. Build up a rapport
Don’t forget that building up a rapport and getting to know the interviewer is just as important over Skype – as it’s even harder. Video calls can sometimes be awkward and difficult to use, so try even harder to connect with the manager.
Be positive and friendly at all times, and don’t panic when faced with a difficult question. Keep smiling throughout and don’t be afraid to bring out your personality. Make a joke if it’s appropriate, and talk about the weather. Make that initial connection when you first start the call to put both you and the employer at ease. This may also be a little tricky for them and they could be new to video calls. Build up a rapport so you both leave the call smiling and happy that you’ve had a productive yet friendly interview.
9. Thank them
Contact the employer after the Skype interview to thank them for their time. Make it clear that you are interested in the role by staying in touch shortly after. You could send them a quick email about an hour later to let them know that you enjoyed the conversation and you look forward to hearing from them soon.
You could also let them know that you are open to another Skype conversation and even a face to face meeting if they want. Don’t be pushy, and remain friendly and positive throughout all your communications.