SKYPE interviews are becoming increasingly popular reflecting the fact organisations and managers are trying to streamline the recruitment process and as SKYPE calls are becoming more and more common in the workplace rather than face to face meetings, it is a convenient way of assessing how potential employees come across on screen.
For some, who are not used to this way of working, SKYPE interviews can be daunting so, we have listed some tips and guidance on how to avoid a SKYPE interview going awry.
You may have seen this clip but do watch it again as it’s a good reminder on how quickly things can go wrong!
- Dress the part & prepare your surroundings
When it comes to what you wear, treat your Skype interview like an in-person interview and dress professionally. Don't give into the temptation to dress up only above the waist! Pick a quiet place to interview without an elaborate backdrop so that you can be the focal point on the screen. Remove anything distracting behind you and keep it neutral.
- Keep your Skype profile professional.
The first thing your interviewer will see is your Skype username and picture, so double check that they are both interview appropriate (or create a professional Skype account — It’s free)
- Avoid a "Can you hear me now?" situation
Nothing is more frustrating than only catching every other word a person is saying, so be sure to tweak the Skype audio ahead of time to make sure you can both hear and be heard without difficulty.
- Practice makes perfect.
Doing a run through interview with a friend beforehand is helpful because your first few Skype calls are likely to feel awkward, especially if you have to retrain yourself to watch the camera and not the screen. Play around with everything beforehand so that when it's interview time, you can shine without being distracted by the program.
- Close other programs on your computer and put your mobile on silent mode.
Getting notifications during your interview is distracting and unprofessional. Before your interview, make sure all other windows on your computer are closed (especially if they create an alert).
- Be charged and connected. If possible, connect your laptop directly into the Ethernet port for flawless connection or, if you can’t be confident of connectivity in your own home, consider finding somewhere else more suitable to do the interview from. Make sure your device is either fully charged and/or connected to mains to avoid an embarrassing power loss shut down.
- Look at the camera, not the screen.
It is very tempting to watch yourself or your interviewer during a Skype session, but looking directly at the video camera is the only way to maintain direct eye contact with your interviewer. Stop occasionally, to make sure your interviewer is engaged in what you are saying. Being aware of the interest level of your interviewer is crucial in a Skype interview.
- Use notes.
Don't be afraid to have notes to hand or a copy of your CV when you interview. A benefit of having a Skype interview is that you can have a cheat sheet in front of you so that you don't have to memorize everything you want to mention. However, don't rely too much on your notes. Use them as quick reminders, not a script. Relying too heavily on them can cause awkward pauses during your interview so be sure to use them sparingly. Use bullet points as prompts rather than long paragraphs of text.
- Avoid interruptions
If you are interviewing at home with the possibility of others being there or, if you have pets, be sure to let everyone in the house know ahead of time that you will be in an interview whilst securing any animals away from your interview space. Nothing is less professional than having to tell your potential employer to hang on while you shoo your dog away from the camera.
- Watch your body language.
Not all physical cues translate from in-person interviews to Skype interviews, which make the ones that do even more important. Be sure to have good posture and relax your shoulders to avoid stiffness. Don’t overuse hand gestures or move around too much. While gesturing is normal body language and indicates enthusiasm on a face-to-face basis, on the small screen of a laptop it can be distracting and obscure your words.
Of course, if your interview has been arranged by Palmer McCarthy we will be able to give you guidance regarding the style, tone and potential content of the interview to allow you to be as prepared and relaxed as possible. We are keen to hear about any experience you may have had of SKYPE interviews that seemed to go terribly wrong and any tips you may have. Feel free to respond with your comments and we will publish next week anonymously of course.