Imagine this scenario: after applying for a million jobs and refreshing your mail box more times that you can count, the email finally comes through – you are the lucky one selected for an interview!
You are filled with joy and enthusiasm but, hold up, they want to do it over Skype.
Skype haters gonna hate, but in a world were remote interviews are becoming a commonplace, due to the convenience and flexibility that they provide, saying no is not an option and you will need to adapt.
So prepare for your interview as you would if you have a regular one and make sure that you’ve got all your Skype bases covered.
Here’s how to ace that Skype interview you’ve been dreading:
Step 1. Practice, practice and.. practice
Your first few video calls are bound to feel awkward as you figure out where to look, what to do with your hands, or how loudly to speak. Of course, that you don’t have to look and act like a professional TV host, but you do need to be able to show your confidence in unusual and difficult situations.
It all boils down to feeling comfortable in front of a camera. A good idea is to film yourself answering questions from a list you prepared earlier, and then play it back. Doing this will help you perfect not only your mannerisms, but also your speech.
Also, ask a friend if he can be your interviewer so you can get some different perspectives of your performance.
Step 2: Check your tech and avoid “avoidable” check glitches
Make a test call some time before your interview to make sure you have an adequate broadband connection and that your audio and camera are working properly.
Remember to only use a computer or laptop for the interview – never do it on your mobile phone or tablet because it can look very unprofessional and a bit sloppy.
However, since we are dealing with technologies, things can always go wrong. Don’t worry, your interviewer understands that (it also happens to him/her a lot).
If something does happen, breath in and out, remain calm and friendly while you troubleshoot. Don’t be afraid to ask to hang up the call and try again if your Skype freezes up (keep it cool).
If anything, it’ll demonstrate can handle a stressful situation and I’m sure that will give some extra points.
Step 3: Set the Stage and prepare your surroundings
The room you’re conducting your interview should appear as professional as possible. This means it should have good natural lighting and be free from clutter and distractions (lock pets out of the room, turn off any notifications on your computer and silence your phone. Yes, even your Facebook and Instagram)
You should aim to keep the focus on you, so a neutral background is essential!
Step 4: Dress for success and also to impress
Make sure you dress professionally from head to toe. Don’t assume you’ll only be seen from the chest up and decide to dress professionally on the top and casually on the bottom. Trust me, you don’t want to find yourself in the awkward position of standing up to reveal you’re wearing your pajama bottoms.
Plus, dressing like you’re going in for a in-person interview will help you feel like you’re really there. Face-to-face with the interviewer.
Step 5: Make eye contact
Simply look directly at the camera – not at the screen or yourself – to reproduce making eye contact with the caller.
It may feel uncomfortable and a little weird at first, but maintaining ‘eye contact’ shows that you’re interested in the job and appreciative of the interviewer’s time.
Step 6: Speak clearly
There’s nothing worse than having your interviewer ask you to repeat everything and still not have a clue of what you say. In other words, don’t mumble. It shows a lack of interest and a lack of self-confidence, both of which are necessary qualities for hiring success. Don’t speak too fast, either; you don’t want to appear that you’re in a rush or that you’re nervous.
Speak out, speak clearly and speak effectively. This is the time to put your communication skills in the spotlight!
Step 7: Ask (Relevant) Questions
Remember, interviews are a two-way street: you’re interviewing the company as much as they’re interviewing you. After all, you both want to know whether you’re a good fit for each other (as you know, it takes two to tango).
Make a list of questions you’d like to ask, but keep in mind that the best questions are focused, open-ended ones.
Although it’s generally advised to wait until towards the end of the interview to ask questions, it’s perfectly alright to ask something whenever you feel it fits in with the flow of the conversation.
Step 8: Last but not the least, say “Thank you”
After the interview is finished just take some minutes to right down a small thank you note to the interviewer. You can thank him for his time, for his sympathy (if that is the case) and for the opportunity he gave you. After all, if it wasn’t for him you would still be waiting for that email.
After all, the bottom line is: Treat a Skype interview as you would any in-person interview. Be friendly, empathetic. Give cues that you’re actively listening. Ask well thought out questions, show enthusiasm.
And most importantly, bring it on!!!
The Red Head