The technology may be more advanced in a Skype interview, but the principles of interview etiquette remain unchanged. Read our job interview tips to brush up on the basics, and then note these tips to nail an interview on Skype.
Check the technology
Is your PC running well? Is your internet connection strong? Check everything is working well – the last thing you want is to have a signal failure mid-interview with the company of your dreams. It’s worth plugging your PC in via Ethernet to minimise the risk of signal dropping out. If you’re on a laptop, plug in a power cable or make sure it’s fully charged. How about your phone? Is it on silent? A ringing phone mid-interview is a distraction that’s easy to avoid.
Wait for your turn to speak
Have you ever noticed the slight lag on some Skype calls? That’s usually caused by low signal strength on either end, and can lead to awkward moments as each person tries to speak over the other. To help the conversation flow smoothly, wait a beat longer than you usually would before you speak – otherwise your interviewer might not have finished their sentence.
Look at the camera
It may feel strange staring at the little dot of your webcam, however you will come across as more engaged with the interviewer. Looking into the camera ensures the person conducting the interview feels like you’re making eye contact. On the flipside, it’s easy to get caught up staring at your own reflection on the screen which can make you seem aloof. If seeing yourself is going to be a distraction, try covering up your image with a sticky note.
Think about your surroundings
The key is to make your home, or wherever you’re conducting the interview, appear as professional as possible. That means setting yourself up in a room free of clutter. You don’t want a bunch of family photos or your favourite artwork distracting the interviewer – keep a clear background to keep the focus on you. Additionally, test out different lighting options until you find the one that works best. It looks better when you’re facing a light source – if the light is behind you, you’ll be hidden in shadow.
Turning your phone on silent is just the beginning – think about anything else that could distract you during your interview. Shut down any internet tabs that might grab your attention and turn off email alerts. If you live with other people, make sure they know not to disturb you, and to be quiet. If you have a noisy pet, move it to another room.
Update your Skype profile
If your Skype username is unprofessional your interview could be off to a bad start from the beginning. Bear in mind that everything you say and do in an interview is being used to build up a picture of who you are, so if you must keep your badboi88 Skype handle, then set up a separate account for professional use. Also ensure your profile photo is a professional headshot.
Have a backup
Do you have contact details for your interviewer? These are essential in case of any technological mishaps. An added bonus is that you have an email address to send a polite follow up and thank you message a few days after your interview. Following the initial interview, ensure all communication with your interviewer is via email and phone – don’t send a follow up message via an instant message on Skype.
Technology can be a great advantage for candidates and interviewers separated by distance, but bear in mind that interview etiquette still applies and technology can provide its own unique challenges. Remember to always be patient – the interviewer faces the same challenges and a weak signal may cause lag, and maintain a professional demeanour. Create an environment with as few distractions as possible, double check the internet connection and power supply, and have the contact details of the interviewer as a backup.