If you’re broadening your job search and open to relocation, you may be applying to places hundreds (or thousands!) of miles away. In these cases, it is not always financially possible to meet and have an in-person interview. Skype interviews are becoming more common for long distance candidates. If you have yet to participate in one, here are a few tips to consider-
1. Have a professional username– Just like an email address and voice mail greeting; keep your username simple and professional. If you are embarrassed to share your Skype ID with an employer, create a new registration and change your username.
2. Ensure your equipment is functioning – Skype has many test features for you to see if your microphone’s quality will be effective during the interview. Check to see if you can transmit both audio and images. Test this at least a few days ahead of time with a colleague in case you find out your microphone needs to be replaced, or any various other technical glitches. You can expect technical glitches during the interview, but preparation and practice ahead of time will save you some of the hassle.
If you are new to Skype, I recommended just getting started and talking to a friend or family member. Get used to seeing yourself in the corner of your screen if using a webcam is entirely new to you. It can be distracting, but remember- eye contact still counts! Practice looking towards the camera lens when you reply to your friend, and not right at their image (or with your eyes down, looking at your own image.) This way, you will know you can maintain eye contact during the interview.
For the technical aspect of testing the functionality of your equipment and hardware, I recommend browsing WikiHow for most issues. Skype’s website also has tutorials and FAQ sections for reference.
3. Close all other programs– Ctrl+Shift+Esc on the keyboard is a quick way to open the Task Manager. Close unnecessary programs so Skype can smooth and quickly.
4. Proper lighting and plain surroundings– Nothing is worse than the creepy factor of a low-lit room while you are Skype-ing. Play with light sources or lamps available to you and see what set up produces the best lighting so the interviewer can see you. Having plain surroundings will also help them focus on you alone, and not your personal items, posters, or shelves filled with collectibles or family photos. If you are using a PC and it is too difficult to move these items, try putting up a curtain or backdrop as a quick fix.
“A cluttered background may distract your audience, not to mention send the wrong idea about your organizational skills. Also, rid the area of personal items- no need to share too much information. A blank or neutral background is best, with a well-organized desktop.”
-Forbes “7 Ways to Nail a Skype Interview” April 2013
5. Treat this like an in-person or telephone interview– Schedule a block of time without any distractions and in a quite environment. Have a glass of water and your company research notes nearby for reference. Dress professionally and practice your previously prepared interview responses. Most importantly, take a deep breath, smile, and show your excitement for this potential opportunity!