The interview process has evolved in recent years and you may find that you’re asked to do a Skype interview, at least in the early stages. A virtual interview is quite different from a face-to-face meeting, so you need to be prepared if you want to make the most of the opportunity.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Dress well. You may feel that a Skype interview is less formal than a traditional interview, but you should dress just a smartly. Pretend you’re visiting the company in person and stick on the suit or dress that makes you feel a million dollars. It will really help you get in the zone and will demonstrate to the interviewer that you are committed to the process. Don’t be tempted to dress well only from the waist up in case you have to stand for any reason!
- Choose your backdrop carefully. Decide where you’re going to sit well in advance. Assume that your surroundings will say as much about you as you say yourself. Make sure the interviewer can see from your upper torso to the top of your head, but don’t position yourself too close to the camera. Practise with a friend so they can tell you if your setting looks professional. Make sure you don’t have any dirty pots and pans or clutter on display or the overall impression will be poor.
- Check out the technology. Perhaps you haven’t used Skype before, or aren’t a regular user. If so, make sure you have the latest version of the software and that it works on your laptop (not your phone or tablet). Check that the microphone works, that your voice can be heard clearly and that the picture is good. Try to secure a strong internet connection, but if the call cuts off unexpectedly during the interview, don’t panic. Simply call back, regain the connection and apologise.
- Be punctual. If you were going for a face-to-face interview, you would do everything you could to be on time. You may feel that Skype is a more relaxed way of doing things, but it’s just as important that you are punctual for your virtual interview. Not having the technology ready is a poor excuse, so set up early to avoid any problems. Have your notes close to hand and pour yourself a glass of water in case you get a dry throat.
- Focus on body language. Skype interviews can feel quite intense, with eye contact posing a major issue for some candidates. Remember to look at the camera rather than the screen so the interviewer feels you are maintaining eye contact. You may need to practise this as it can be hard to focus on anything other than the interviewer’s face. Don’t forget to smile and use positive gestures. Finally, remember to sit up straight so you don’t look like a slob!
It may help to imagine that the interviewer is in the room with you so that you behave as you would in a more formal setting.