Are you ready to be interviewed on Skype as a job applicant?
Over the last few years, Skype has been used as the next step after the traditional phone interview. But now, Skype often is replacing the phone interview. A video Skype interview creates more of a complete interview experience for both the job candidate and the employer.
If you are applying for a job that is not in the same town you currently live in, the Skype interview is almost a must – the next step after the phone interview before you are invited for the face-to-face interview — and perhaps replacing the face-to-face interview.
I talked with Antionette Rollins about her experience with Skype interviewing. She just started a new job that used Skype for the final interview. Antionette was living in Florida and job hunting in Washington, D.C. After a first interview on the phone, the next interview was a group interview on Skype.
Tip #1 – Choose an appropriate Skype account name
A first step is to set up a Skype account. Antionette set up a free account. She said that you also want to remember to create a professional Skype name.
Antionette said she started getting ready for the Skype interview several days in advance. Getting the room ready was “like setting up a movie set,” she said.
Tip #2 – Think about the background that will be behind you.
You don’t want to have windows that could make it harder to see you – with backlighting or a glare. You won’t want posters or clutter. Antionette said she chose a plain wall.
Tip #3 – Check your computer set up.
Antionette rehearsed with a friend who helped Antionette know where she should sit, the best angle for tilting her laptop screen, and what her volume level should be. Part of the computer set up is knowing where you need to be looking to make eye contact on Skype.
Tip #4 – Determine the lighting.
The friend who helped Antionette practice with Skype worked with her on lighting to make sure the room wasn’t too dark or that the lighting didn’t glare over Antionette’s shoulder.
Tips #5 – Eliminate any background noises.
You don’t want other noises to be a distraction. Do you have a noisy air conditioner in the room? Will your dog, roommate or child come into the room or make noises that can be heard. Silence your phone.
An unexpected noise they discovered during the Skype rehearsal was the fan in Antionette’s computer. They decided it was too loud. So Antionette switched to using her iPad.
Tip #6 – Dress for the interview.
To get into the mindset of the interview, Antionette said she dressed for the interview “right down to my shoes.” Again, she got input during the Skype practice with her friend on her interview outfit – not being too busy a pattern and selecting a good color that didn’t conflict with the background.
Tip #7 – Set up for the interview in advance.
Antionette set up for her Skype interview two hours in advance. She checked all the issues she had determined in the rehearsal – background, lighting, setup of iPad, etc. As the time arrived for the interview, she made sure she turned off other programs on her iPad. You don’t want technology problems because you have other programs running on your iPad or computer that are competing with Skype for bandwidth. You also don’t want you email or messaging programs on that will make sounds during the interview.
You probably will have your cellphone with you, so make sure to silence your pone and turn off any potential distractions, like Candy Crush or Facebook. You want to put your full attention into the interview.
Tip #8 – Review your notes for what you think you will be asked during the interview
Once Antionette had everything set up, she used the remaining time to rehearse for the interview.
The Skype interview went very well – Antionette received the job offer. She is the online community specialist for the Institute of International Education and has moved to Washington, D.C. Congratulations, Antionette!
Congratulations on the job! I’m glad to see Antionette mentioned eye contact in one of her tips. When using Skype, “cye contact” actually means looking into the camera, and it might take a little practice to train yourself to look there instead of the computer screen. Great tips, Antionette.
Paige – Thanks for the reminder that looking into the camera versus the screen takes some practice. Any other tips from your Skype experience?
I’m working on my Ph.D., and I recently used Skype to have a meeting with my dissertation committee. While most of the committee was in the room with me, one committee member Skyped in from abroad. I had to keep reminding myself to address the computer screen, making eye contact with the camera for that committee member, as often as I addressed the people in the room.
Paige – A great example of how Skype is used in academic settings. Having the ability to include faculty members in committee meetings via Skype really helps in scheduling meetings!
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