Top tips for Skype interviews
From inappropriate posters in the background to sipping on a beer, Skype interviews can make jobseekers either feel even more nervous than usual or as though they’re off the hook.
And they’re on the rise. 18% of candidates have experienced a video interview in the past year, more than double the amount from a year ago, according to asurvey by Right Management. 82% of hiring managers have used Skype, and 6% have used pre-recorded platforms.
Although people are used to being on video to family and friends, with a potential employer on the other end there are a few things you need to think about:
Preparation is key
You’re in control of what shows on the screen so make sure you set the scene ahead of time, considering the right lighting and surroundings.
Tracy Johnson, founder of Brainbox Consulting, says: “Be aware of what is on the wall behind you. Tatty posters and an unmade bed won’t make the best impression. Check out the alignment of your camera and screen too – you may not actually be making eye contact with the interviewer and this can interfere with developing that all-important connection.”
As for a regular interview, you also need to think about what to wear. You’ll only be seen from the waist up, so you might be tempted to dress down, but this can be a risky strategy.
“Your interviewer will only find out that you’re in your pyjamas if you have to stand up to get something, so strictly speaking you can wear what you like. However, being in business dress might make you feel the part and help with your performance,” says Joanne Keilt, consultant at Futureboard.
You may also want to think about doing a mock interview to see if you need to adapt your style for technology. Mike Higgins, career coach at This is My Path, says: “If you can, do a dry run with a friend or someone who is a regular interviewer. If you are feeling brave, you can even record it and play back later. Pick out two things that you would like to improve for next time.”
Have a plan B
While there’s no worry you’ll be held up by a late train, or get lost finding the right building, there is always the potential for technical issues. Make sure you know who is making the call and sign in early.
Keilt says: “Download Skype well in advance of the interview and make sure you have a practice call to a friend to iron out any issues. Also, where possible, use headphones and a microphone to conduct the interview: this helps prevent feedback. If you can’t hear your interviewer, let them know so they can try to fix the problem.”
Honesty is the best policy if you have issues. If you can’t sort it out, suggest rearranging the call or using a phone for the audio, and skype for the video.
During the interview
Something you may not have thought about is social interaction and how your body language comes across on camera. A Skype interview gives you less time to make a positive impression, says Tracy Johnson.
“You need to develop a rapport with the interviewer as quickly as possible. Think about your non-verbal communication: make lots of eye contact, smile and sit up straight. Roll your shoulders back and down so that you have good posture, open your chest and speak clearly.”
Mike Higgins agrees: “With audio and video channels, less body language information is transmitted, so focus on matching the tone and pace of your voice to the message you are trying to convey. If you say you are excited about a project, sound excited. If there is a mismatch between tone and message, the interviewer will go with the former rather than the latter.”
If you can’t Skype at home
If you don’t have the right technology for the interview at home, you need to think carefully about where to do it.
“If you don’t have Skype at home, then ask your university or college careers service if they have a room that you can use – some will offer you a room for a telephone interview too,” says Tracy Johnson.
“If you have to interview in a public place, let your interviewer know in advance, says Joanne Keilt. “Arranging an interview outside of lunchtime hours should mean that the coffee shop or café is less crowded. Avoid main roads at all costs.”