As with any interview, the key to a successful Skype interview is planning. The main difference with Skype interviews is that not only are you planning for what you are going to say and how you will respond to key questions, you are also having to consider camera angles, lighting and trying to keep the dog quiet for 90 minutes.
With the rise in videoconferencing globally, being prepared for a Skype or video interview is a must. As a Project Coordinator with PFM, I schedule and arrange Skype interviews and test Skype calls daily, and understand how unpredictable technology can be. Being prepared for such an interview will put your mind at rest and allow you to bring nothing but your “A” game to the meeting. With the help of my colleagues at PFM, I have assembled a compilation of DOs and DON’Ts to help you ace that all important Skype interview!
Look the part
Be as professional as you would if you were going into an office interview.
Dress professionally from top to bottom. You may be tempted to wear your favourite sweatpants, which is fine until you accidentally stand up! You might need to adjust your webcam, or turn off the phone that you forgot to switch to silent. Shedding the loungewear will also help switch your mind to professional mode too.
Check your settings
Have the camera at the right angle so it is level with your face and avoid the camera pointing up at you. Have the camera a distance back so you are framed from the shoulders up, and ensure you are centred.
Make sure the microphone is on and check that the audio works properly, as nothing is worse for a selection committee than listening to a person who sounds like they are talking in a barrel.
Do a screen preview of yourself first before making the Skype call so you can see how you will appear on the screen to the other caller.
Prepare your surroundings
Make sure nothing distracting is happening in your background. Consider conducting your interview in a quiet room with a blank wall behind you to ensure the focus is on you and not your background. If you don’t have sufficient privacy at your office, do it from home. A public place can be noisy and unreliable in terms of the internet connection.
If at home, close the door and try to keep pets and children at bay. Also try to turn off the ringer on the home phone line or remove the phone from the room altogether.
Request a test
If you’re unfamiliar with Skype, play around with a few test calls to ensure you know how to place a call, receive a call, turn on your video, etc. Conduct a practise interview with a friend, or request a skype call with the company, and consider recording it so you’ll have an accurate idea of how you come across on video. You want to feel comfortable with the technology so that you can focus on putting your best foot forward – most companies will respect this and offer to assist.
Have a Plan B
While there’s no worry you’ll be held up by traffic, or get lost finding the right building, there is always the potential for technical issues. Sign in early and make sure you know who is calling you.
Honesty is the best policy if you experience technical problems. If you can’t sort it out, suggest rearranging the call, or using a phone for the audio, and skype for the video.
Don’t assume that you won’t come across as natural or you won’t be able to put your best foot forward because the technology might get in the way. PFM Executive Search has interviewed thousands of people in person, through skype/videoconferences and on the phone. The person who is best for the job will shine through regardless of the medium.
Snack (yes this happens)
Don’t eat or drink anything other than water during your interview, and don’t try to hide it away from the camera because you may accidentally forget and reach for that glass of, yes you’ve guessed it, wine!
Forget about eye contact
Don’t look at yourself on the screen. Look straight ahead, and ensure that you are making eye contact with the interviewer.
I hope that these tips will help you with whatever online meeting you find yourself in. Feel free to contact us if you too have come across some useful ideas, as we would be pleased to pass them along!
PFM Executive Search