The first step towards the new job is done: you are invited to a first job interview via Skype. Congratulations! In order to convince your counterpart that you are the right candidate, we present you 10 tips to excel in your Skype interview:
Make sure you have a strong and reliable internet connection. You should check it with a Speed Test showing you exactly your download and upload speed. For a high-quality video call you should have at least a download and upload speed of 400-500 kbps.
If you live with other people ask them to pause their soccer live stream or Netflix movie for the time of your interview. Close other applications that use the internet.
If your speed test results are lower than 400 kbps or you know about connection instabilities you should consider changing location. Ask a friend to do the Skype interview at his place or find an empty room in your university. But make sure to check the speed in the new location as well. Ethernet or LAN cable connections should be preferred as they provide a stable, often high-speed connection. Most modern laptops do not have an ethernet port anymore, but luckily there are USB-adaptors.
Make your profile look professional, especially your profile picture and your username. The head of HR will probably not be convinced by your professionalism if he finds you under the username sexy_babe_1995 with a profile picture that shows you escalating at a party with a beer in your hand. Think about your Skype profile like an application portfolio – it will give your counterpart a first impression.
Make sure to exchange usernames and to add/be added by your interview partner in advance to avoid impunctuality and last-minute hassle.
Make sure to have an appropriate background behind you. Your interview partner does not need to see your untidy bed or dirty dishes on the table. Make the background look neat, professional and clean – like the impression you want to give.
Please invest in a decent headset. Built-in microphones in your laptop are not ideal as they do not cancel surrounding noise and might cause you to get really close to it and thus the webcam – you can imagine what that looks like in the video. A decent headset makes you understand your interview partner better and vice versa leaving a more professional impression.
Make sure your partner takes care of your baby in another room. Close the door and leave your dog or cat outside. Tell your roommates to not disturb you or put a note on your closed door. The latter is very useful in case you occupied an empty university room.
Turn off applications, notifications, cell phones and other devices. And if someone storms into your room nevertheless, don’t panic! Ask the intruder in a friendly way to leave the room and apologize to your interview partner. In the end, we are all human-beings and mishaps can happen. Try to avoid them and stay cool in case they do.
Just because you meet your interview partner in your own house it does not mean that you can wear your pyjamas. Treat this interview like a face-to-face meeting and wear what you would wear in a traditional interview. By the way, the wide-spread practice of not wearing pants is not recommendable. Just imagine you have to get up in order to get some documents – you definitely do not want your future boss seeing you in your newest Disney underwear.
Just like in a normal interview, be prepared. Do your research about the company and the job you are applying to. Do not take it lightly because you do not have to leave your house.
The same goes for punctuality. If the Skype interview is at 10 am make sure you are online at 10 am sharp or even 5-10 minutes earlier. Prepare and set up your equipment on time. Test everything before and give yourself time to fix upcoming technical issues.
Look into the camera every now and then. Take care of your body language. Smile. Do not overdo your gestures. You should be aware that your interview partner only sees your upper body, your face will be even more in the focus of his attention. Try to “look him in the eye” while speaking. Be self-confident, friendly and likeable.
Take your time to test your internet connection and your equipment a few days and 30 minutes before the interview. Test if your microphone works by calling Skype’s “Echo / Sound Test Service”. See if your surroundings are sufficiently illuminated by taking a video or photo of yourself with your webcam.
Overall, you should treat a Skype interview like a traditional job interview, including appropriate clothes, behavior and politeness. In addition, the technical issues often present additional hurdles an applicant has to overcome. Hopefully, these 10 tips will help you. Good luck in your job hunting!