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How to: Ace your Skype job interview
Utilising Skype for a job interview introduces technology as an added element but the principles of interview etiquette remain unchanged. So before your interview date, ensure you’re across how to best prepare yourself for your interview, run through 18 common interview questions, how to calm those interview nerves and even run through some common questions asked in a second interview.
As more businesses and employers use Skype interviews to uncover the best talent, you should familiarise yourself with the software and have a practice or test run.
Below is a list of key considerations to help you prepare and have a successful Skype interview.
Check your tech
- Is your computer or laptop running without those annoying update or restart prompts, or have you experienced any technology issues recently?
- Is your internet connection strong in the room or area where you’ll be set up?
- Does your computer have a video camera and does it work on Skype? (You can check this in your Skype settings.)
- Does your computer have a microphone for sound or will you need earphones with a mic?
The last thing you want is to have a signal failure or drop out mid-interview with the company of your dreams, even worse, have the entire interview rescheduled when you’ve done so much preparation for this moment. Where you can, run a test call with a friend or colleague using Skype so you’re already used to the process and can identify any tech issues there and then.
It’s also worth plugging your computer in via an ethernet internet connection to minimise the risk of the signal dropping out. If you’re on a laptop, plug in the power cable or make sure it’s fully charged.
How about your phone? Is it on silent? A ringing or vibrating phone mid-interview is a slip-up that’s easily avoidable.
Consider your surroundings for the Skype interview
Assuming your Skype interview is a video call, the key is to make sure the room or space in your home, or wherever you’re conducting the interview, appears as professional as possible. That means setting yourself up in a room free of clutter. You don’t want your interviewer to be distracted by mess or belongings in the background as they will distract the interviewer’s focus from you.
Another aspect to video interviews that is still massively overlooked is not being aware of different lighting settings and how this makes you appear on screen. It’s best when you are facing a light source – if the light is behind you, you’ll be hidden in shadow, as well as potential sun glare coming from windows or bright lights.
Turning your phone to silent is just the beginning. Think about anything else that could distract you or interrupt your interview. Shut down any internet tabs that might make you or your interviewer lose attention, and turn off your email alerts and pop-ups – even better, close your email altogether.
If you live with other people make sure they don’t disturb you and ask they keep noise levels to an absolute minimum. If you have a noisy pet, move it to another room.
Are you near a window where you can hear the traffic? If so, background noise will affect your Skype interview.
Wait for your turn to speak
Have you ever noticed the slight lag on some Skype calls? That’s usually caused by low signal strength on either end or buffering from a slow internet connection, which can lead to awkward moments where you end up speaking over the top of one another. To help the conversation flow smoothly, gauge whether there is a lag and wait a couple of seconds longer than you normally would before you speak – otherwise, your interviewer might not have finished their sentence and there’s nothing worse than an incoherent and inconsistent conversation. On the topic of speaking, also avoid speaking too quickly – ensure you speak in a clear voice and at a steady pace.
Look at the camera
It may feel strange staring at the little dot of your webcam, however you will come across as more engaged with the interviewer. Looking into the camera ensures the person conducting the interview feels like you’re making eye contact. On the flipside, it’s easy to get caught up staring at your own reflection on the screen, which can make you seem preoccupied. If seeing yourself is going to be a distraction, try covering up your image with a sticky note so that you are presenting yourself in the best way possible.
Hang up and log off
Once the interview has ended, ensure you have properly hung up the call, logged off from the video camera and turned your sound off – there’s nothing worse than your interviewer overhearing you or seeing you without your knowledge. Plus, you may have already reacted in some way that could impact your chances.
Update your Skype profile
If your Skype username is unprofessional, your interview will already be off to a bad start. Bear in mind that everything you say and do in an interview is being used to build up a picture of who you are, so if you must keep your sugababie89 Skype handle, then set up a separate account for professional use. Also ensure your Skype profile photo is a professional headshot.
Have a backup
Do you have direct contact details for your interviewer? These are essential in case of any technology mishaps. An added bonus is that you have an email address to send a polite follow up and thank you message a few days after your interview.
Following the initial Skype job interview, ensure all communication with your interviewer is via email and phone – don’t send a follow up message via the instant messaging window, as they may have already left the call and will not have seen it.
For more interview advice, explore our latest articles for helpful tips and suggestions.
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