How to approach a Skype interview

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By Sophie Mackenzie.

Congratulations – you have been invited to an interview! But hang on, the interview is to take place via Skype (or Facetime)…so how should you approach it?

This is becoming a regular phenomenon in the recruitment world, so if you managed to avoid it thus far, chances are it won’t be long before you have to go through it. As with all interviews, preparation is everything so here are a few tips to ensure that you give the best account of yourself, albeit via the wonders of modern technology!

Setting up

Firstly you need to be able to accept an invitation to a Skype interview in the first place so get an account set up and ready to go. Also ensure that your user name is professional.

Ideally, you will be given a date and time with plenty of notice. If you are asked to conduct a Skype interview at short notice, try to make sure you allow some time to prepare.

Prepare your surroundings

  • Choose the venue for your interview carefully – ideally at home, in a quiet room with a door.
  • Get the lighting right and do a test Skype call in advance to check this.
  • Think about what your interviewer will see behind you – a neutral background is ideal with minimal personal belongings in view.
  • Ensure that pets/children/flatmates are being taken care of and know not to interrupt you!
  • Turn any phones to silent.
  • Position your laptop so that the camera is at eye level – a much more flattering angle.

Appearance

You could go for the ‘business up top and party below’ approach (shirt and tie from the waist up and boxer shorts from the waist down?!) However, I can envisage issues with this if you have to stand up to deal with a technical issue for instance. Err on the side of caution and dress as you would for a face to face interview. This doesn’t necessarily mean a corporate suit if this is not in keeping with the culture of the company. You should do your research in advance to get this right and if a recruitment consultant is representing you, they should be able to guide you.

In short, you should be immaculately groomed, just as you would for a normal interview

Do a test run

  • Test your equipment in advance (a good opportunity to Skype your Mum).
  • Ensure you have a strong Broadband connection.
  • Practice looking at the lens rather than looking at yourself in the corner of the screen!

During the interview

  • Remember to smile
  • Practice active listening (nod, “hmm” etc.) so that your interviewer knows that you are listening and that there is no delay.
  • NEVER type on the keyboard during the interview
  • Keep notes of key points or a copy of your CV to hand (just be subtle if you refer to it during the interview)
  • If there are any technical problems, address it with the interviewer and if necessary call them back – don’t try to persevere if you can’t hear them properly.
  • After the interview, you should email your thanks – just as you would for any other interview.

Ultimately, an interview is an interview, irrespective of the medium in which it is conducted and the rest of your preparation should be thorough as for any other interview situation – read some advice here.

By employing some of the techniques above, you will hopefully be able to behave naturally and concentrate on getting across your skills, experience and suitability for the role.

Good luck!

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