Preparing for face-to-face job interviews can be nerve wracking. You’re usually deciding what to wear, what to say, and thinking about how you’ll impress the interview panel. When getting ready for Skype interviews it’s likely you’ll have the same sort of thoughts running around in your head, however there are some major preparation differences you also need to think about. Before coming to China, I had numerous Skype interviews while living in Panama. Most of them went really well (and I got offered several jobs!), so I’d like to share my tips for how to ace a Skype interview.
Before the interview
Before you give out your Skype details, think: Do I have a Skype name and profile that is professional? The interviewer doesn’t want to see some party pic in your profile, nor do they want to know what your cute nickname is (no matter how cute you think it is!).
One of the most important things to do is to check your internet connection well before the interview. There’s nothing worse than having connectivity problems during a Skype interview, where your picture freezes, your sound comes in and out, or the call drops altogether.
Check that the camera and microphone are working. This sounds simple and you might not have had any problems with your camera or microphone before, but this is one less thing you’ll have to worry about. Remember, there’s an option in Skype to do a test call.
Turn the camera on and look at what’s in view of the camera. Make sure that your head and shoulders are centred in the view and make sure there’s something neutral behind you (like a plain wall). You don’t want the interviewer seeing your unmade bed, or laundry in the background!
It’s crucial to check the time difference between where you are and where the interviewer is. There’s nothing worse than agreeing on a time to Skype, then either being way too early, or being late and missing the call!
Make sure you wear an outfit appropriate for an interview (at least on your upper body) and you look well groomed. Sometimes the interview might just be a voice call, but often it’s going to be a video call, so you need to make sure you look professional (and not like you’ve rolled out of bed and you’re still in your pjs!).
Test the lighting in the room and how it looks around you on camera. You should make sure there is enough lighting for the interviewer to clearly see your face, but not too much so that all they see is light!
Have a pen and notepad ready beside you. Before the interview it’s a good idea to write down all the questions you have, and you’ll then be able to take notes during the interview on the main things you need to remember.
Make sure you know who you’re talking to! This sounds strange, but you may have several Skype interviews scheduled over the course of the day or week, and it can be easy to confuse who you’re talking to on which day at which time!
During the interview
Look into the camera. There’s nothing worse than Skyping someone who’s gazing off screen somewhere. On the other hand, too much gazing directly into the camera can also be distracting. Just relax and give your interviewer a measured amount of eye contact, as you would in a normal conversation.
Speak clearly and loud enough for the interviewer to hear you. If you’ve done a test call in Skype before the interview, you’ll know just how loud is loud enough.
It’s easy to become too eager and get closer and closer to the computer screen, but don’t sit too close to the camera. You should’ve checked your camera view before the interview, so make sure to try and maintain that distance throughout.
Don’t have any noise in the background. You don’t need your flatmate blasting his favorite music or tv show, your kids wanting your help grabbing a snack, nor your cat or dog craving a cuddle.
Maybe most importantly of all, be yourself. Even though you’re not face-to-face with the interviewer, be sure to let your personality come across in the interview, and don’t be camera shy. Just relax and nail that interview!
After the interview
Send a follow up email thanking the interviewer for the opportunity, asking them to contact you if they need any more information, and that you look forward to hearing from them again soon. This doesn’t take much of your time and shows that you’re keen and thoughtful.
Some of these tips might seem like common sense for Skype interviews. But, it’s surprising how many of these things people just don’t think about, or don’t realize how the little details can make the difference between landing a kick-ass job, and being passed up for someone who was better prepared. So follow these tips, and hopefully you’ll be on your way to an awesome new job and be experiencing a fascinating part of the world!
What are your tips for acing a Skype interview? Let us know in the comments.