An interview over Skype can be a hit or miss, you get to have a one-on-one time with a potential employer without having to worry about the travel time necessary to get to the interview. You may have mastered the “normal” interview practices, but the etiquette that comes with a Skype interview is both a combination of an in-person interview and a phone interview. Use our 12 tips to help you nail your next Skype interview.
Before the interview:
1. Avoid a "Can you hear me now?" situation.
Nothing is more frustrating than only hearing every few words your interviewer is saying. Be sure to tweak the Skype audio ahead of time to make sure you can both hear and be heard without difficulty.
2. Prepare your surroundings.
Pick a quiet place to interview, ideally a spot without an elaborate backdrop; this will ensure that you’re the focal point of the interview. Pro Tip: Remove anything distracting behind you and keep it neutral and simple.
3. Avoid interruptions.
You’re perfect backdrop isn’t much use if you are constantly being interrupted. If you are interviewing in an area with multiple people, be sure to let everyone know ahead of time that you will be in an interview. If you have pets around, it would also be good to keep them out of your interview space as well.
4. Close other programs on your computer.
Getting Facebook and other social media notifications during your interview is both distracting to you and the employer and also makes you look unprofessional. Before your interview, make sure all unnecessary tabs and windows on your computer are closed (especially if they make noise). Pro Tip: The more windows you have open (whether they make noise or not) can slow down your connection and cause lagging.
5. Practice makes perfect.
If you can, doing a run through interview with a friend beforehand is helpful because your first few Skype calls are likely to feel awkward. Practicing will also be a good way to retrain yourself to watch the camera and not the screen. Play around with everything beforehand so that when it's interview time, you can shine without being distracted by the program.
6. Dress the part.
When it comes to what you wear, treat your Skype interview like any other interview you have had before. Dress professionally from head to toe (or at least from head to waist – but don’t stand up!).
7. Keep your profile professional.
The first thing your interviewer will see is your Skype username and picture, so double check that they are both interview appropriate (or create a professional Skype account — after all, they're free!)
During the interview:
8. Look at the camera, not the screen.
It is very tempting to watch yourself or your interviewer during a Skype session, but looking directly at the video camera is the only way to maintain direct eye contact with your interviewer.
9. Use notes.
Don't be afraid to help yourself with post-it notes or a copy of your resume handy when you interview. A benefit of having a Skype interview is that you can have a cheat sheet in front of you so that you don't have to memorize everything you want to mention. Pro Tip: Don't rely too much on your notes. Make sure your notes are easily to scan so that you use them as quick reminders, not a script. While having notes is certainly a plus, relying too heavily on them can cause awkward pauses during your interview, so while having notes is good, be sure to use them sparingly.
10. Watch your body language.
Not all physical cues translate from in-person interviews to Skype interviews, which make the ones that do even more important. Be sure to have good posture and relax your shoulders to avoid stiffness.
11. Make sure the interviewer is engaged.
Stop every now and then and make sure your interviewer is engaged in what you are saying. Being aware of the interest level of your interviewer is crucial in a Skype interview since they may have distractions of their own that may direct their attention away from you.
After the interview:
12. Follow up!
A thank-you letter is just as important after a Skype interview as it is in an in-person interview. Avoid following up on Skype, though, unless the interviewer requests it!
Adapted from Alexandra Whittaker August 1, 2013 “13 tips for nailing a Skype interview”