19 November 2014
The dramatic advances in technology over the last few decades have made it possible to converse with people on the other side of the world at the touch of a button. Skype has become a key component in an employer’s arsenal; it conveniently allows interviewers to view potential candidates no matter where in the world either party are located (broadband/Wi-Fi dependent). With the jobs market becoming increasingly international, and more graduates than ever heading to far flung destinations after graduating, it is unsurprising that Skype Interviews are on the rise. A step up from the informality of a telephone interview, and not as intense as a face to face meeting, video based interviews reside in a perplexing middle ground that can make them difficult to prepare for. Here are our top tips to ensure your Skype interview runs as smoothly as possible:
Look the part
You’re appearance will be on display in a video interview. So, much like a formal face to face meeting with a potential employer, you should ensure you are dressed neatly and professionally as this will demonstrate you are serious about the role you are interviewing for. It is tempting to only don your suit/ formal interview attire from the waist up – after all you’re sitting in front of a computer screen. However, this poses risks; it is impossible to say what eventualities may arise during the interview, and if for any reason you have to rise from your computer chair to retrieve something, or adjust the computer, you will look lazy and unprofessional if you are sporting a pair of pyjama or tracksuit bottoms.
Create a pleasing, neutral environment
Skype interviews are unique in the fact that your surroundings are open to as much judgment as your appearance. It is vital that you create an environment which is appropriate to the formality of an interview. This means removing any tatty or offensive posters that will be in shot, tidying the room you will be using to conduct your interview (no unmade beds, or dirty laundry scattering the floor) and remove any incriminating evidence of your University lifestyle – it will give off an extremely bad impression if alcohol bottles or takeaway cartons are scattered in the background.
Check your Skype username and profile photo
Interviews are all about giving off the right impression; you want your interviewer to come away thinking you are competent and reliable. Much like your email address, it’s important to ensure your Skype username is professional and employer friendly. Likewise, it is wise to have a demure head shot as your profile picture.
Remember ‘eye contact’
Eye contact is essential in an interview as it shows you’re engaged and interested in what the interviewer is saying. This interview etiquette still applies for Skype interviews, as does smiling where appropriate and conveying the appropriate body language. Many make the mistake of staring at the persons face on the screen, thinking this will generate ‘eye contact’ with the other person. However, to your recipient, you look as though you are staring downwards, which can make you appear unconfident. A great way to ensure you maintain eye contact with your potential employer is to stare straight into the webcam’s lens instead of at the screen.
Do a practise run
To put your mind at ease, and ensure that there are no avoidable glitches during your interview, it’s a wise idea to undertake a mock video interview. Get a friend or family member to Skype you so you can ascertain what position your webcam should be in, that your broadband connection is strong enough and that the video and volume are both working well. A test run is also a fantastic chance to tailor your interview style. Your mock interviewer can give you feedback on how you come across, whether your body language needs to be more animated and if you need to speak louder – meaning these issues will be ironed out before the real event.