The Skype Interview: Success Strategies

Last week we talked about the emerging trend of video interviewing. While that focused on pre-recorded interviews, the more common method is still the Skype interview. You may already use this technology to keep in touch with family and friends, but it takes a bit more preparation to conduct a successful Skype interview.

  • Prepare your family – We have all seen the viral video of the BBC interview interrupted by kids barging into the room. Do your best to prepare your family and roommates. No TV, phones, loud conversations, or distracting noises in the background if you can help it.  Ideally, arrange an interview time when everyone is out of the house.
  • Be aware of your surroundings – Think about where you will be sitting and what will be visible in the background behind you. The best solution is to back up to a clear white wall with the camera in front of you.  If this is not possible, take precautions to “professionalize” what the interviewer will see behind you.  The environment should be clear of distractions, clean, and neutral.
  • Dress accordingly -Dress as you would for an in-person interview. It may be tempting to only dress professionally from the waist up, but one wrong move and your pajama pants will be on full display.   Additionally, avoid stipes and patterns.  Solid colors work best on video.
  • Work out equipment kinks beforehand – Practice in advance. Make sure you have the lighting set right, the background clear, and you know how to log on.  There should be enough light on your face to present you well, without shadows or glare. Approach your setup like a professional photographer. You may need to get creative with lamp placement. Test your internet connection to make sure it is fast enough to handle a video teleconference.  If it isn’t, tell your recruiter in advance so you can figure out another solution.
  • Camera awareness is key – The image of the person you are speaking to will be in front of you on the computer monitor. The camera, however, will be ABOVE the monitor. Be sure to speak to the camera, not the face on the monitor.  It is completely non-intuitive but essential to get right. Practice in advance to get used to looking above the head of the person you are speaking with.
Video interviewing can seem daunting, but if you keep these tips in mind you should be well prepared to present yourself in the best possible light.
–Patti Cusack
Artemis Precision Search