Interviews can be stressful, but throw unreliable technology into the mix and it can become awkward.
With the rise of remote jobs and technical capabilities, you will likely be faced with a Skype interview at some point in your job search. It’s important to be prepared and understand how the experience will differ from traditional in-person and phone interviews.
1. Confirm Skype is the program you’ll be using. Skype made video chat mainstream, so to Skype someone can be shorthand for any kind of video call. Ask your contact at the company which program you’ll be using—Skype, Google Hangouts or Google Hangouts Meet (yep, those two are different programs), Zoom, GoToMeeting, etc.
2. Install Skype ahead of time. Avoid a stressful last-minute scramble and download Skype to your device a day or two before the interview. Do a test run with a friend to ensure your camera and audio work correctly and find the optimal volume and screen angle.
3. Review Skype tools. The platform provides many handy features including live subtitles, screen-sharing, and the ability to record the conversation. Though, if you plan to record the conversation, get permission from the people you're talking to first. Play around with these resources to get the most out of your interview.
4. Check your profile. Once you’re all set up, double-check your Skype name and profile picture are professional. Don’t risk being written off because you accidentally interviewed as “Ballislife21.”
5. Add your interviewer. If you know the interviewer you will be connecting with, find their Skype name to add as a contact ahead of time. You can confirm the Skype identity (it may be a company account) with your recruiter or company contact.
Prep yourself and your space
6. Find a clean and quiet location. Pick a spot at home or another quiet workspace where you can block yourself off from other people and distracting noises. Also, check that the space behind you is fairly simple and free of clutter. If necessary, use Skype’s background blur feature.
7. Clothing counts. Even though the interviewer will see only your top half, dress how you would if the interview were held in-person. This includes pants!
8. Use a cheat sheet. The ability to have notes in front of you is a great advantage of Skype interviews. Keep a copy of the job description, your resume, and a list of important talking points handy just in case you draw blank during the interview. You can be extra sly and add the information to a Word Doc opened on the side of your computer screen so you don’t have to look away from the camera.
9. Research the company. Okay, this one applies to all interviews, and depending on your stage in the interview process, you may be prepped already. However, it’s always beneficial to have fresh background information on the company’s mission, current projects, and of course, your interviewer.
During the Skype interview
10. Sign on early. Get Skype up and running 10–15 minutes before interview time to avoid last minute sign-in issues and be ready to go with a smile when you get the call request.
11. Focus on the camera. It’s really easy to stare solely at yourself while video chatting, but really try to focus your gaze on your computer camera during the interview. Try not to glance around the room or stare at your notes either.
12. Be aware of body language. You don’t want to appear frozen, so head nods and subtle hand gestures are even more important on Skype than in person to show your interviewer you’re engaged. Sit up straight and refrain from crossing your arms.
13. Address tech issues immediately. If you notice the chat becoming buggy or the audio cutting in and out, mention it immediately and request to redial into the call to avoid wasting any of your allotted time.
After your Skype interview
14. Review your recording and/or notes. Take some time to read through any notes you took during your interview, or if you recorded the video chat (with their permission), review the recording. If there is anything you forgot to mention, wanted to clarify, or a question you forgot to ask, mention it in a follow-up to the interviewer.
15. Send a thank-you letter…always. Just like you should after any other interview, follow up a day or two later with a quick thank-you letter. Remember to reiterate your interest in the position and why you would be the perfect fit, or let them know it's not the right job for you.