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Skype Interview Etiquette

No matter where you are, the power of Skype can now bring your future employer into your living room, office or bedroom (!?) to speed up the job hunting process and to save you the trouble of travelling to meet them. It’s great news in saving you travel costs and potentially moving interview processes along more quickly but Skype interviews bring their own set of perils.

What to wear? What about technical problems? Here are our FreshMinds top tips to Skype interview success.

Set the scene
This is a real interview so good interview practice still applies (apart from a strong handshake!).

  • If you’ve not used Skype before, make sure you’ve had a Skype conversation before your first interview. It may take a while to get used to and can be strange seeing your own face as you interview. (You can minimise your face if it distracts you – practice doing this beforehand)
  • Make sure your Skype name is not “sexylady4u” or “borisjohnsonismydreamman”. If it is, change it now. Right now.
  • Make sure you have a suitable background behind you. Something plain normally works best as it’s less distracting for your interviewer. If you’re in your bedroom, please avoid posters of Nirvana or half-naked women. It may just make you seem a bit less commercial...
  • Test the lighting beforehand – it’s important that the interviewer can see you clearly and a bright screen will give your interviewer more of a positive  impression
  • Check the microphone and speakers on your computer beforehand to make sure you can hear them properly and they have a good chance of hearing you without static (if the microphone is set too high)

First impressions still count

  • Keep up eye contact throughout the interview (make sure your webcam is positioned at eye level so you’re not looking up or down at your interviewer). Remember that you need to be speaking to the webcam, not to the image of your interviewer.
  • Let your personality shine through, despite the fact that it may feel like more of a stilted interview. Relax and smile, it’s going to be ok.
  • Dress for success – wear whatever you would if you were meeting your interviewer face to face. Beware of white shirts in front of a white background – it’s easy to look like a disembodied head. Similarly, beware of stripes or very jazzy patterns. You might blind your interviewer with the psychedelic glare.
  • Sit up straight, keep a strong posture and show that you’re engaged with your interviewer and listening intently.
  • Check that your interviewer can hear you properly. Speak slowly especially at first so the interviewer can adjust to your voice through the speakers.

Give it your all

  • Keep up your energy. Skype interviews are tough as you lose a bit of the personal contact of meeting face to face. As such, you need to work even harder at communicating with energy, with hand gestures, lots of smiling and active listening.
  • Keep your interviewer engaged. Bear in mind they be on their work computer with plenty of other distractions. It is your job to show how great you are and keep their attention.
  • Make sure you really do the hard work beforehand. There is nothing worse than a lazy candidate interview, where they have the perfect profile but seriously underperform at interview. It’s not enough to look at the Wikipedia entry for the company you’re applying to. You need to understand their market, their competitors, their USPs, their business model, as well as the role and your own skill-set. Don’t be lazy.

Best of luck!