How to Ace that Skype Interview

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.


Assume anything

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

The Future of Recruiting – A Special Webinar Event

PFM’s very own Partner, Shaun Carpenter, together with Rocky Ozaki of RISE, Barb Agostini of Recruiting Social, and Peter Reek of Smart, Savvy & Associates, will be delivering a special recruiting webinar on Monday, March 7th at 1:00PM Pacific Time.

Are you looking to source top talent, smoke out the pretenders and improve your employer brand?  Perhaps you are tired of talking about the talent war?  If this sounds like you, then this webinar is for you!  Join Shaun Carpenter, Rocky Ozaki, Barb Agostini and Peter Reek to find out the revolution in recruiting.

This webinar event is being hosted by RISE (formely PaySavvy), who’s mission is to create client-focused payroll solutions that offer intuitive software and unparalleled client support.

To register for this FREE webinar, please click here.

Forty minutes to revamp your recruiting practises?  It’s worth the time!

Sunny Leung – Chief Development Officer for the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Foundation

PFM Executive Search would like to congratulate Sunny Leung on his recent appointment as the new Chief Development Officer with the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Foundation.  Sunny brings extensive experience working with diverse communities, and has developed strategies specifically around major gifts and planned giving.

Sunny enjoyed a successful career as the Director, Philanthropy and Sponsorship for the BC Children’s Hospital, before taking up his new position with S.U.C.C.E.S.S.  He played a strong role in the creation of the Chinese Canadian Planned Giving Committee for the BC Children’s Hospital, and having moved from Hong Kong as an immigrant, understands the nature of the mandate as the new Chief Development Officer with S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Foundation.

PFM Executive Search wishes Sunny every success in his role with S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Foundation.

Our search firm, based in Vancouver, along with our Panorama Global Search Partners, provides outstanding facilitation of large and diverse Search & Selection Committees in our work with private, public and not-for-profit organizations.  The hallmark of success for PFM Executive Search over the last 23-years has been our ability to develop a strong working relationship with Boards and Selection Committees in creating a seamless process that nets proven results for our clients.

PFM Welcomes its Newest Recruiting Associate

Many of you may be familiar with Maggie Ow who has been one of our outstanding Project Coordinators since 2012, ensuring our executive search assignments run smoothly and efficiently. When an opportunity arose to add to our Recruiting Associate team, we knew the best candidate was in our ranks, and Maggie officially joined the group this fall.

Maggie brings a very unique background to this role. She holds a BA in Fashion Design and Technology from Kwantlen Polytechnic University and was a designer for five years for the labels Mac & Jac and Kensie. A move to the UK saw her transition her career to the finance industry, where Maggie became Executive Assistant in a large financial services firm.

Upon returning to her hometown of Vancouver, Maggie decided she wanted to stay in the corporate world and we were lucky enough to have her join the PFM team. Maggie proved to be an outstanding Project Coordinator. She was able to build an excellent rapport with our candidates and clients. Her attention to detail was second-to-none, and she was able to push her team members to ensure search projects were managed effectively and efficiently.

The role of Recruiting Associate requires two key factors: tenacity and natural curiosity. Maggie has both of these in spades and she has been a natural fit for the role. We know you will continue to enjoy working with Maggie on various assignments.

Please join us in congratulating Maggie on this well-deserved promotion.

2015 Jack Webster Awards Dinner Participation

CTV Vancouver 6pm News Anchor, Mike Killeen, flanked by PFM Senior Recruiting Associate Brittany Stansfield (L) and Partner Shelina Esmail (R) at the 2015 Jack Webster Awards Dinner.

CTV Vancouver 6pm News Anchor, Mike Killeen, flanked by PFM Senior Recruiting Associate Brittany Stansfield (L) and Partner Shelina Esmail (R) at the 2015 Jack Webster Awards Dinner.


Over 900 guests packed the Hyatt Regency Ballroom for the 2015 Jack Webster Awards Dinner to celebrate the very best in journalism here in British Columbia.  The Jack Webster Foundation honours award recipients from all forms of print and electronic journalism and the annual event draws a who’s who crowd from media outlets around the province and from Toronto as well. 

PFM Executive Search has been an active participant in the Webster Foundation for many years with Partner, George Madden having been on the Board of Trustees for a considerable amount of time and having been a two-term Chair of the Foundation.  PFM Executive Search hosts a table each year at the Awards Dinner and the 2015 event was an evening of celebration and a chance for a number of the firm’s team members to honour journalistic achievements here in British Columbia.  To learn more about the Jack Webster Foundation and see photos of the event and award winners from 2015 please visit

PFM Executive Search is active in a wide-range of community and business events.  The PFM team members constantly give back to the community through involvement in many grass roots organizations and as leaders on a variety of committees and task forces and fundraising activities.