If you’re conducting a long distance job search, you could be asked to interview via Skype. If you are, here’s what to do:
- Don’t panic. A Skype interview can save precious time in the hiring process if you live far away from the interview site or an initial face-to-face meeting isn’t possible for whatever reason. It also gives you a chance to show your adaptability and comfort level with technology. So rejoice–if you interview well in this format, you could score points.
- Create a professional Skype profile. Setting up an account is free so if you have a Skype username that might raise eyebrows, create a new one with a variation of your first or last name. The photo should be of your face and you should be carefully groomed. Women might also want to consider wearing simple make-up and jewelry. Think bio photo. In fact, if you don’t already have a professional-looking photo and you have the time and money, consider investing in a professional photo shoot and select the best one to be your profile photo.
- Make sure you know who will initiate the call. Typically the company will initiate the call so plan to simply log in to Skype and wait for the call.
- Dress rehearsal! Hopefully you’re already accustomed to practicing interview questions with a friend. This time try it via Skype. Dress just as you would for an in-person interview. If there’s any step in the process of connecting that you’re not completely comfortable with after a few tries, write a cheat sheet and put it next to your computer so that on the day of the interview you won’t miss any steps. Focus on the camera, not the computer screen. Imagine that the camera is the interviewer’s eye and maintain direct eye contact. Ask your friend to give you feedback not only on the content of your answers but also on your appearance and presentation. Is the image clear? Do you look professional? Do you sound polished? Is the sound quality okay? Did you maintain good eye contact?
- Mic check. Make sure the device you’ll be Skyping on is completely charged and / or connected to a power source in advance of the interview. If you have a mic that you can connect externally to the device, use it. Your voice will sound stronger and, as a result, you’ll sound more confident. Set up in a room that you know will be quiet and private during the interview. If there’s a chance that someone will be cutting your lawn or any other distractions could occur, alert the necessary people so that you’ll have no such interruptions. If you have children, make arrangements for childcare. The location should be as professional as possible. The interviewer wants to see your face….not your bed, not your TV, not your barking dog or even your cell phone sitting on the counter. Think no distractions. You want them focused on you.
- Have a link to your resume ready. You may be asked to send this to the interviewer during the call.
- If you don’t hear from the interviewer after 10 minutes of the designated appointment time, send an email to check on the status of the call. It’s bad netiquette to call the interviewer via Skype unless asked to.
- After the call has been initiated, (unless you’re Skyping on a smart phone) silence and put away your cell phone, look into the camera, and never prompt your interviewer to turn on his or her camera (they may or may not).
- After the call, thank the interviewer and ask about next steps then follow up immediately with a handwritten and emailed thank you note. A thank you note with typos could be worse for you than sending no thank you note at all so edit it–or have someone else edit it–very closely before sending.
Congratulations! You’re now prepared to master the Skype interview!