Developing Your Career

Seven Tips for Conquering the Skype Interview

By Greg Simpson on October 15, 2012

Are you ready for your close-up? With applications like Skype, video interviews are rapidly gaining in popularity as a cost-effective and easy-to-use screening tool in the hiring process. The natural next step up from telephone screenings, conducting a screening interview using video conferencing technology can reveal much more about the candidate. However, mastering the use of this new medium requires some preparation.

Here are a few tips to prepare you for the Skype interview:

  1. Consider the background. Position yourself in front of a plain (but not white) wall or a neatly organized bookshelf. Give yourself some privacy so errant children and animals aren’t drifting in and out of view. You should be the focus of the interview, not clutter in the background.
  2. Light from the front. Your interview room should have plenty of natural light and/or warm artificial lighting from the front. Avoid light in the background or your face may be shrouded in shadow.
  3. Create a professional user name. Just like your job search email, your Skype user name should be professional.
  4. Dress for success. Just because you’re being interviewed from an off-site location, your attire shouldn’t be casual. Wear what you would for a traditional interview – from head to toe. If you have to stand up for some reason, you don’t want to reveal a suit coat paired with sweatpants. Darker suits with pattern-free shirts are best on camera. For women, a pop of color under a dark jacket adds warmth.
  5. Establish eye contact. Look into the camera and not at the computer screen. This is not easy the first time around, so practice with friends until you master talking eye to eye. Try propping up your monitor or laptop on a few books until you have a level position.
  6. Use body language to your advantage. Sit up straight, smile often, and make sure your head, shoulders and hands are in view. All are important components of your nonverbal communication.
  7. Test for technical difficulties. Ask your practice partner for feedback on the visual and audio quality and make the necessary adjustments.

Video interviewing is becoming increasingly popular as a tool to screen candidates. And as with in-person interviews, practice makes perfect for Skype interviews, too.

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