Saturday, 23 September 2017

How to nail a Skype interview

A step-by-step guide to getting the most out of the dreaded Skype interview...

How to nail a Skype interview
Image courtesy USA Network

Being asked to take a job interview over Skype is inevitably going to fill even the most confident of gentlemen with a colossal amount of dread. Do you turn on the camera? Can you get away with wearing your pyjamas underneath your shirt and tie? Have you removed every dodgy object out of the camera’s view?

The prospect of Skype might be daunting, but it shouldn’t be. Believe it or not, it’s actually a lot better to take a Skype interview than a phone one. No matter what anyone says, you are going to be judged on your appearance, so first and foremost you need to use the camera to your advantage – and let the rest fall into place…

Sort out your username

We’ve all been there, but cringe-worthy usernames should firmly be a thing of the past. Potential employers don’t want to see the ‘fun’ side to you, they want out-and-out professionalism from the outset. So just as you wouldn’t put your nickname on your CV, keep your Skype username straight-forward and simple.

Get out of the digital mindset

There’s definitely something about sitting in the comfort of your own home while you take an interview, but that’s where many people go wrong. Get into the same headspace as you would were you taking this face-to-face. The first five minutes are by far the most important, and your greeting is everything.

Think about your surroundings…

Ideally, you want to stay at work late and use the boardroom. This might be crossing a boundary or two, but you need to make sure your setting is as clean-cut and professional as possible. Failing that, try your utmost to make your home look as inoffensive as you can. Look behind you and check that your bed, your pile of laundry or your girlfriends underwear isn’t in the view of the camera. If you do end up taking it at home, you need to make sure you’ve forewarned all pets/humans that you’re taking an important call and that you need to stay uninterrupted.

…and your outfit

While in theory, you should have everything you need right in front of you, you never know what’s going to happen and what could unexpectedly go wrong, so it’s important to dress well from head-to-toe. No pyjamas, no tracksuits. Wear a suit, wear shoes. Not only will this impress potential employers, but it will also help you get in the right mindset for the interview.

Establish boundaries early on

Never start the interview with the camera on. Keep it off, and after the niceties are out of the way, politely ask if they would like the camera on. This might even lead to a couple of awkward jokes being made, but it’s better to start off on this footing then it is to assume the worst and be left to look like a bit of a moron.

Get the technical side in order

As simple as this sounds, this crucial element is essential to get right. Check that your computer is charged; that your sound is working; that your wifi hasn’t crashed out. It’s easy to forget simple but important to get right. Just as you would leave enough time to get to an office for a face-to-face interview, make sure you’re giving yourself ample time to prepare for a Skype one.

Keep your eyes on the prize

One of the most common mistakes people make when talking over Skype is that they look at themselves on the screen, rather than into the camera and to the people they are talking to. On Skype, that means you’re going to be looking at the bottom right hand corner of your screen, which looks creepy apart from anything else. Maintain eye contact and all times, and stop checking yourself out.

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