How to Ace a Skype Interview Like a Complete Winner
A Skype or Google Hangout interview is a beast like no other, but it’s a style becoming more common among hiring managers looking to efficiently vet the first round of applicants. If you’re faced with one, there are a few insider tricks that will increase your chances of making a good first impression, aside from the usual interview preparation. We spoke with career coach Jane Jackson to find out everything you need to know to ace a virtual interview.
Don’t wear anything distracting.
Wearing prints, fussy details, and blingy jewelry will only make it more difficult for the interviewer to focus on what you’re saying on-screen. Wear what you would for a normal interview (and, for the love of God wear pants), and be hyperaware of any distracting details. “Look professional, exactly as you would in a face to face interview,” Jackson said.
Choose a professional background.
Now is not the time to let your potential boss know that your flatmate collects empty Absolut bottles and displays them on a bookshelf in your living room. Play it safe and set yourself up in front of a plain white wall--it will instantly look more professional than a busy background filled with personal details. "Take the call in your study or somewhere with a plain background so the interviewer can focus on you, not any clutter behind you,” Jackson told us, also suggesting that you place the camera at an angle where there is natural light illuminating your face and avoiding any shadow.
Ace the digital handshake.
You’re not going to be able to actually look the interviewer in the eye and give them a strong, confident, short handshake, but you still need to make a good first impression in the first five seconds. A slow, firm nod, a confident smile, and good eye contact are all gestures that show you’re professional, engaged, and enthusiastic. "Look into the camera when speaking so the interviewer can see that you can hold a confident gaze.” Jackson said. Throughout the interview make sure you continue to use appropriate body language like smiling and nodding to show the interviewer that you continue to be engaged in what they are saying.
Consider nonverbal cues.
A big downside of Skype interviews is that it’s harder to pickup subtle nonverbal cues and adjust your interview responses accordingly when you’re not physically in the same room as someone. “Eye contact, slight shifts in posture, and hand gestures often give you an indication of how well you are doing,” Jackson explained.
Test your technology first.
OK folks, this is an obvious one, but spend some time a few hours before your interview to ensure your internet connection is strong, your volume is set at the right level, you have the interviewer’s contact added to Skype, and your microphone and headphone are both working. Place a practice call with a friend, and then be waiting and ready at the computer to make your call a few minutes before the pre-arranged interview time. Remember you don’t have to deal with traffic, weather, parking, or public transport, so there’s no excuse to be late for your Skype interview.
Photo: Lorna Jane