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How to Ace a Skype Interview

Technology in the modern age is changing not only the way we work, but also the way we get work. Businesses across multiple industries and sectors are using Skype as a means to interview candidates; whether someone is unable to travel to meet in person as they are based abroad, or simply that a Skype call is more efficient. In 2014 50% more interviews were conducted over Skype than in 2013. With this in mind we have developed the definitive five Skype interview tips to help prospective candidates get in the zone ahead of their video call interviews.

Practice Makes Perfect

They say fail to prepare, prepare to fail, and Skype interviews are no different. While it’s important to do your research about the company you are interviewing with, when technology is involved it is also crucial to check that all your technical components are in order ahead of time. Be sure you are running the latest version of Skype so you’re getting the best performance, check your microphone is in good working order and be sure your internet connection can handle a video call (at least 1.2 Mbps bandwidth). Use an HD webcam if you can and if you don’t have great PC speakers or microphone, get a quality headset.

Use the Skype test call feature (echo123) to ensure all these components are in order; you can also run a test call with a friend to get a feel for how the real thing will go. If you are likely to be asked to do a demonstration during the interview, make sure you are familiar with Skype’s ‘Share Screen’ and ‘Send Files’ functions.

Set The Scene

First impressions are invaluable. Be aware of what is in view behind you and clear away any mess and clutter. It’s also important to be sure your interviewer can properly see you. If you’re lit from behind, it will probably look like you’re in a witness protection programme. Equally, being lit from above can make you look like a horror film extra with ghoulish shadows on your face. Find lighting even Spielberg would approve of by using a lamp aimed straight at your face from behind the camera or computer.

Just as Spielberg wouldn’t allow the public on set, ensure you’re not interrupted during your call by notifying anyone in proximity that your interview is taking place – this includes your great aunt Mabel and her three cats. Choose a quiet location so you are able to give the call your full attention.  Avoid making notes on your computer during the interview – this will be picked up by the laptop microphone and gives the impression you are not focused on the conversation!

Dress The Part

When you know your interviewer is going to have limited view of you, it’s tempting to dress down and attend the interview wearing your pyjamas. Granted not all roles require business attire, but make sure you are making an effort.

Similarly, some clothes look better on camera than others. Avoid stripes or patterned clothing as they may appear messy on the viewer’s screen. A crisp white or black shirt or blouse is your best bet!

Sit Up Straight!

All of those things your mother told you about maintaining eye contact and good posture also hold true for a Skype interview. Eye contact with a screen can be tricky, but try to look at the camera as much as possible. For those who are self-conscious and find themselves checking how they look, why not move the image of yourself to the top of your screen near to your camera.

Your camera’s positioning is crucial too. Ensure your upper body is in the frame as hand gestures are an important part of natural communication. If using a laptop with a built-in camera be sure to place it on a stack of books so the camera is at eye level and minimizing the chance of multiple chins!

Be Enthusiastic and Give It Your All

Skype gives us an amazing opportunity to connect with people even when we can’t be in the same room, and a Skype interview is no different. Treat the interview the same way you would a face-to-face chat and try and avoid slipping into “telephone” voice. Make the most of the opportunity a Skype interview can offer you and (fingers crossed) land your dream job.

By Gavin Russell, Global Programme Manager at Microsoft