Technology has transformed the working world as we know it and one huge advantage to employers is the revolution of Skype. The video chat tool is now being used to replace face-to-face interviews in many instances as, for companies, it not only saves time and money, but is far more convenient for narrowing down the applicants. Although it may be slightly more daunting for those in the running, it’s an ideal opportunity to make a great first impression.
But like any interview, preparation is just as important. So here’s our top tips for success:
1. Set up ahead of time
As mentioned, this process is all about technology so you must use it to your advantage. Getting the camera set up to frame you at the perfect angle is our first tip. Make sure you’re happy with how you look so you’re comfortable during the conversation.
Test your microphone
Your interviewer wants to hear what you have to say so it’s vital you test your microphone works beforehand. Test your built in mic for any hissing, buzzing or echoing so to minimise distractions and if in doubt, a headset is a trusty backup.
It’s important the interviewer sees who they’re talking to, so try to get the lighting as natural as possible. If you’re using artificial lights or changing the camera settings, be aware of any glaring reflections from glasses or mirrors or any shadows that may be distracting.
If you’re relying on natural light, remember the weather’s unpredictable – the lighting might change throughout so keep an eye on the sky!
Prepare the room
Professionalism is key in any interview, so make sure your surrounds aren’t distracting for either party. Tidy up beforehand and take down anything that’s too personal.
Also, be aware of any background noise – if you have to use a friend’s office or warn your housemates or book a babysitter for the kids, do so.
Probably the best part about a Skype interview is the interviewer can’t see what’s in front of you. So you can afford to cheat a little! Prepare some handy notes so you can have a prompt if necessary.
These can be on any points you want to discuss, anything about the company you want to focus on or even any questions you may have. But don’t let them distract you – you want to seem as natural as possible.
Practice makes perfect
Get a friend or family member to have a practice Skype call with you to test your surroundings and to see how you come across.
It is a good way to get yourself into the zone. Practice looking into the camera, listening to what is said and focusing on them, rather than looking at yourself on the screen. This is also a good time to get comfortable – you may be sat their for a long time so get a cushion if needs be!
3. Look the part
Dressing smart and grooming to perfection is what many assume to be the way to impress, but knowing the company is far more important when it comes to dressing appropriately.
Depending on the company’s ethos and values it’s important to dress to fit in with the team. If it’s a corporate company with uniform standards, suit up, but if they’re about creativity and expressing yourself you might want to dress down slightly – research is key.
You may be separated by a screen, but body language is still important in any interview. Smile where appropriate to show you’re approachable as well as friendly. Don’t be afraid to laugh where they make a joke and most of all remain relaxed to show you’re open and good under pressure.
4. Have a back up
Things to do beforehand
The internet is not always a reliable commodity, so try to prevent the inevitable – use an ethernet cable for a more dependable connection if possible or ask anyone in the house to stay offline to speed things up.
What to do if it goes wrong
But you should still have a back up plan incase your connection fails. So have a phone number ready and be prepared to restart the call if the call starts to drop. Not only will it stop you from panicking, but it will show you are a problem solver to a prospective employee.
As the saying goes ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’, but if you get to know the useful tool and follow these handy tips, we think you’ll have the best chance of success in your upcoming Skype interview and, hopefully, get the job you’ve prepared so well for.
Written by Sophia Franklin