So, you’ve finally got a call back! Congrats … that was the easy part. Now, it’s time for the interview process. In today’s landscape, that means you could be fighting for jobs all across the continent. In order to land that dream job, you may be tasked with doing something you’ve never done before … be interviewed via Skype. Here are five ways to make sure you nail your Skype interview.
Look the part
In the old days, if you were doing a remote interview, you could hop out of bed, splash some cold water on your face and pick up the phone to chat with a prospective employer. Now, you are seen. You need to look the part, meaning your appearance should be the same as if you were at the office in front of your interviewer. Hair and make-up should be presentable and your wardrobe should be professional and in line with the company’s culture and dress code. First impressions make all the difference; make sure you start your interview on the right foot.
Consider your surroundings
Be aware of what is around you when you turn on your camera. Try to have your surroundings clean and presentable; no one wants to see your messy bed or dishes in the sink. Also, make sure there is nothing in the background, such as a picture or a plant that makes it look like you are sprouting leaves or have a set of horns growing out the side of your head. This point can’t be understated. Figuring out what should go behind you is almost as important as what you are wearing or how you look. A diploma hanging on the wall, for example, can be a suitable way to highlight your experience and expertise.
Keep things simple, but be careful; blank walls can be a bit too boring but a bookcase with a lot of clutter, family pictures, or knick knacks could prove distracting.
Use angles to your advantage
We all have those friends who post a million selfies on social media and I bet not one of those photos was taken from a low angle, was it? No. You don’t want to be looking down. Gravity is not your friend. A double chin, extra wrinkles or bags under your eyes will appear and that’s not how you want to present yourself. Prop up your computer or phone so that it is eye level or higher. You want to present the best version of yourself…not one that looks like it’s only running on 2 hours sleep.
The distraction factor
Do you have kids or pets? Maybe a noisy roommate or an air conditioner that sounds like it’s about to explode? Turn off the AC and any TV or radios you have had on. By doing this, it will help you and your interviewer stay on point and keep any distractions to a minimum.
Make sure you are in a quiet area without any audio or visual distractions, and keep anything that could derail the interview outside of your space. The last thing you want is your kid screaming in the background or a cat jumping on your head. We all remember what happened when Professor Robert Kelly was being interviewed live via Skype on the BBC; you don’t want to end up as the next viral video.
Test your set up
If you are going to be doing a video interview, make sure you know how it’s going to look more than five minutes before you connect. What’s your Skype log in or Apple ID details? Do you know how your lighting is going to be? The last thing you want is a massive shadow falling across your face after making the interviewer wait while you reset your Apple password for the fifth time.
My advice would be to have a friend help you make a practice call. Position yourself in your preferred space, dress how you want to dress, and ask your friend to evaluate how everything looks and sounds. Make any necessary adjustments for the real thing. If you’re not used to talking into a camera, use this practice time to get comfortable. Make sure you are looking into the camera and not at yourself in the little window at the bottom of the screen … as tempting as that may be.
A few other things to consider as well:
- Your username. Try to keep it professional. Just like that email address you created in the sixth grade, you should update your Skype ID if it’s something silly.
- Time zones. Make sure you have your time zones all worked out with the people you are calling. If you live in Toronto and have a call scheduled at 11 a.m. with a Vancouver-based company, confirm if that’s Pacific or Eastern Time.
- Connection. If you can’t be hard wired into your router, get as close to it as possible. You want to maximize your connection to avoid any freezing or drop outs.
With these tips in mind, you are sure to nail your next Skype interview. Good luck!
Taylor Shold is the Founder of Shold Media Group, a networking group aimed at helping inspire and educate the next generation of young professionals.
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