You’ve spent hours reading sample interview questions on Glassdoor, practicing your handshake, and mapping routes so that you arrive everywhere five minutes early. You’re totally ready for your first job interview until… you realize it’s going to be over Skype.
This changes things. What are different techniques you need for a video interview versus an in-person interview?
We’ve talked to a few people who have been there (or know someone who has) about how to prep for your Skype interview.
Bri Kapellas: University Relations Engagement Manager at AfterCollege Inc.
Prepare Early and Discard Distractions
I’ve done several Skype interviews. I noticed in my last job search, about two years ago, more companies are preferring a first interview either on the phone, Skype, or another video chat platform.
I think that three out of the eight interviews I had with LinkedIn were video chats because the teams involved were in Ireland and Oklahoma. The person who ended up in that role would have regular video meetings, so besides the logistics of interviewing, it was important for them to know we could communicate effectively remotely.
Here’s what I learned in the process:
It’s important to log on early and make sure that you have all of the proper plugins, updates, etc. installed so that you’re ready to go right on time.
Get yourself framed on the screen before you connect to the interviewer(s) so there’s not a lot of adjusting time at the start.
Practice looking at the camera on your computer when you speak rather than the video image to emulate eye contact. If you’re looking down at the screen it can diminish the impact of what you’re saying or make it seem like you’re less interested in what the interviewer is saying.
Close all other applications and programs. Even if you are super professional and excited about the opportunity, we have a habit of multi-tasking on computers and it just takes one absentminded second to get distracted. The interviewer will be able to see your eyes darting off to the corner of your screen.
Wear pants (or a skirt/dress). Even if you only need to be business from the chest up, getting ready completely helps you feel ready and that confidence (or lack thereof) will project through the screen.
Matt Kong: Campus Events Coordinator at the University of Redlands
Make Sure Your Connection is Good
I was interviewing with Lutheran Volunteer Corps for my first post-grad job. University of Redlands’s internet does not have the fastest connection… so I knew that Skype might not be the best course. I warned my interviewers in advance that we might have to resort to a phone interview, but that we could give Skype a whirl.
I ran through alternate internet sources, but ruled out my folks’ house because of its slow connection, and coffee shops aren’t the best place to interview at because of the distracting ambiance.
The day of the interview came, and sure enough, the connection was super spotty. We could see each other, but with the worst delay and no audio. So, I ended up calling in and while we did have a delayed visual via Skype, I looked like an idiot with this phone next to my face while on Skype.
Long story short, I got the job, but my advice is to be sure your connection is good to create a better impression (especially if you’re interviewing with a more tech-savvy / oriented company).
Melissa Suzuno: Content Marketing Manager at AfterCollege Inc.
Do a Background Check
A former coworker was doing her interview via Skype from her bedroom in Boston (where she was currently still a student). One of the interviewers (in San Francisco) noticed that her curtains were black and orange, so he asked her if she was a Giants fan. She thought it was just kind of funny and random, but it’s just a good reminder that whatever is visible in the camera is open game for conversation, so make sure that you don’t have anything that you don’t want to talk about in line of sight of the camera.
Lights, Camera, Action! Have a Skype interview coming up? Make sure you’re in a quiet environment with a strong internet connection, plain background, and good lighting. Remember, it’s still an interview and even though you’re on a computer, that doesn’t mean you should ignore in-person interview etiquette. Yep, that means doing your research beforehand. Like Bri says, it’s noticeable when your eyes dart from the camera, so just because you’re on a computer doesn’t mean you can get away with visiting the company’s website during the interview.
P.S. Have any other Skype interview tips? Leave us a comment!