Originally authored by Hannah Rogers at Ms. Career Girl
Are you looking for a new job? Considering relocating to a new city or country? Then you may be asked to complete a Skype interview for your new position.
If you are not used to Skype, sitting in front of a webcam for an interview can be an intimidating experience. Follow the steps below to prepare yourself for your interview and make the most of the opportunity.
Setting up Your Profile
Your Skype profile will be the first thing your potential employers see during an interview so make sure it looks professional. Your profile name should be simple – stick to your full name and birth year if possible. Humorous handles or names which include emoticons may not give the best impression to your interviewers – the same goes for the email address your Skype account is registered too.
For Skype interviews, your profile picture should be a simple image of yourself, ideally a headshot against a plain background. Do not use group images or a photo of you out socializing – these don’t match the formality of a job interview and you may come across as unprofessional.
These adjustments may seem minor, but they will give a good first impression to your potential employers.
As with any interview, practice makes perfect. Prepare answers to possible questions well ahead of time and consider practicing on Skype in a mock interview with family or friends. This should help you get used to talking to your computer, so it feels more natural on the day.
With Skype interviews normally taking place in your own home, you can use this to your advantage. Set up your computer, tablet or laptop on a big flat surface (either a desk or table) and lay out all the documents you will need for your interview in front of you. These documents can include your practice answers, all the documents you submitted with your application (so you have them for reference if the interviewer asks anything specific about them) and little post-it notes for prompts.
One of the biggest downfalls of the Skype interview is the wide variety of things that can go wrong.
Wi-Fi failure can be a major problem for Skype interviews. Unexpected dips or cuts to your internet access will disrupt your interview and make for an anxious time. If you are able, invest in an ethernet cable to connect your device to an ethernet port, which is subject to fewer fluctuations than Wi-Fi connections.
Check to make sure that your microphone and speakers are all on and not obstructed by anything on your desk or table. Consider using a headset for the call. You’ll be able to hear the people on the other end much more clearly and it will prevent disruption from any unexpected noises on your end.
Also, if the device you are using for the interview is portable, plug it into a power source. Even if it is fully charged, the last thing you want to be doing in an interview is searching around for a charger so play it safe and be prepared.
The last bit of technical advice we have is test, test and test again. Check that everything is working, that you are visible and audible to someone on Skype and that your internet connection is good enough to maintain an hour’s conversation without failing.
Just because a Skype interview is not taking place in an office or boardroom, don’t get tricked into thinking that you don’t need to make an effort with how you look. Usual rules for interview-wear should still apply for Skype equivalents. Formal office outfits, such as pantsuits, are best.
Have a look round the room you plan to have the interview in – interviewers will not want to see a mess, dirty dishes, or pets running about. Tidy up everywhere your interviewer will see on camera and make sure you are alone in the interview room, with no pets, children or TVs making noise in the background.
Making the Call
As with any interview, good time-keeping is essential. Double check the interview time and make sure you aren’t caught out by any time zone differences. Be at your computer waiting for the call around ten minutes before the interview time.
The Skype platform offers a range of privacy settings which prevent people you don’t know from contacting you. Make sure that these are altered when you are expecting the interview call so that your interviewers can find and contact your profile. It is also worthwhile checking with the interviewer who is calling who. If there is confusion on this point it can mean your interview is late, or that you get stuck in a cycle of missed or blocked calls.
Last but not least – have a backup option! Even the best-laid plans sometimes go awry so exchange email addresses and numbers with the interviewers, so you can get hold of each other if something goes wrong and rearrange for another time.