Interviews are make or break moments for everyone. When they go well they leave you walking with a spring in your step, and when they go badly they make you wish you’d stayed in bed that day.
Because more and more interviews are happening over Skype, and because we want all of your interviews to fall into the spring-in-your-step category, we’ve pulled together some Skype interview tips to set you up for success.
The tips are organized by due date, so you can create a little check list. That way you can keep your mind on more important matters, like what to say on the day!
The week before the interview
A few days before the interview is when you want to be thinking about stuff you’re going to need on the day. You don’t need much, but there are a couple of things that can improve your Skype interviews tremendously.
First up is the microphone that captures your all-important words of wisdom. Using a headset will dramatically improve your call quality compared to using the built-in microphone on your device.
Second, think about your attire. What you wear for your interview will depend on the industry and company you’re applying to, but there are some Skype-specific tips to keep in mind like avoiding clothing with fine patterns, as these can become jumbled by your webcam. Also, make sure that the colors in your outfit contrast with your backdrop to avoid looking like a floating head.
The third thing on your list is light. You don’t want to look like you’re doing your interview from a witness protection program, so make sure you’ve got plenty of soft light illuminating your face when it’s time for you to shine. A desk lamp pointed at you from behind your computer might help.
One day before the interview
The day before your Skype interview is the time to get everything set up.
Start with the area where you’ll be doing your Skype interview. Pick a quiet spot with a neutral background that won’t distract your audience from you. Then tidy up a bit – make sure there’s no clutter in view of the webcam.
You’ll want your webcam to be roughly at eye height, so you might need a box or some books to put under your laptop or screen. Lastly, check that there’s enough distance between your webcam and yourself so that all your enthusiastic hand gestures will be visible on the day.
Once that’s all set up, make sure your hardware is good to go. Download the latest version of Skype, make sure you can sign into it and (especially if you bought a new microphone or headset for your interview) make sure all your peripherals are working. Also check if there are any system updates available – you don’t want those to start installing half way through your interview.
One hour before the interview
Just before your Skype interview, there are a few things to run through just to make absolutely certain your call will go smoothly.
The most important thing to do is a quick test call. One option is to do a test call to our automated service to make sure your audio equipment is working. But it’s even better to do a video call to a friend so they can tell you how you look, as well as how you sound. If you expect to present any documents or images during your interview, this is also a good opportunity to remind yourself how to share your screen and send files during a Skype call.
Speaking of sharing your screen, you should close any unnecessary browser windows or apps on your device before starting your Skype interview. Even if you won’t be sharing your screen, they might use up some of your bandwidth and reduce your Skype call quality.
While you’re on the call with your friend, practice looking into the camera when you’re speaking. It’s natural to watch yourself on your screen when you’re talking, but to the person on the other end it’s like you’re looking away from them. Not good for making an impact!
Lastly, remove any distractions around you. If there are pets, children, or significant others around, ensure that they can’t make an unexpected cameo during your big moment.
If you have a few tricks of your own for acing interviews, there are millions of Skype users in the Skype Community who’d love to hear them.