Byte of Prevention Blog

8 Tips for Crushing Your Next Skype Interview

tipsOne in three job applicants have done a virtual interview from the bathroom or conference room at their current job.

And of those who Skyped from home, 22 percent admitted being dressed only from the waist up.

Those are two of the results from a survey of Skype users.

“Put on the same clothes you’d wear if you were going to interview in-person,” says this job expert. “Don’t give into the temptation to dress up only above the waist. First, wearing the complete ensemble will help you stay in the interviewing mood. Second, if you have to stand up for some reason, you don’t want your shorts or jeans to ruin the impression you’ve made.”

As for interviewing in a restroom stall where you now work?

“Suffice to say that’s a surefire way to lose your existing position and any chance of a job offer,” says career counselor Maxie McCoy

8 Super Skype Suggestions

Virtual interviews require special planning and skills. Here are six tips for nailing your next one:

  1. Prepare in advance. Make sure everything is working. Test your camera and microphone. Adjust the settings for best effect. Arrange proper lighting. If you wear glasses, minimize screen glare.
  2. Set the stage. Clear off your desk. Have a clean, uncluttered backdrop. Put the pets outside. “Don’t have a basket of laundry on the sofa behind you or an open door that reveals a hallway full of trash bags,” says Mark Feffer. “Avoid using your bedroom. Having your bed and nightstand in the background is a little too personal.”
  3. Practice your lines. If you use notes, make sure they’re off-camera. Have friends Skype you with a list of questions that you expect to be asked. Tell them to throw in some curve balls, to keep you on your toes.
  4. Rehearse on camera. It’s not easy to appear comfortable staring into a tiny dot on your laptop. “Bear in mind how you’ll appear from the interviewer’s point of view,” says Feffer. “You’ll look them in the eye by looking into the camera, not by watching their image on the monitor. Practice talking to the camera and find the position where you’re the most comfortable, so you can sit that way for a long period of time.”
  5. Prepare for the unexpected. Stuff happens. The internet blips out, connections are dropped, a police car screams by. Keep going. Don’t draw unnecessary attention to the disruption, and don’t let it throw you off course. Use it as an opportunity to show off your poise under pressure.
  6. Have your resume and work samples handy. Be ready to email a copy if requested.
  7. Avoid coffeeshops and other public spots. “Pick a space you can control, such as a desk at home, rather than an unpredictable space like a restaurant or café with public access, varying background noise, or backdrops that draw attention away from you,” says McCoy.
  8. Tell your story. “Storytelling is your super power,” says McCoy. “It allows you to make a meaningful connection that is often difficult over technology. [S]tories can be more powerful than data when trying to influence someone, so mine the experiences of your life to use anecdotes to show why you’re a great fit for the job.”

Have you done a virtual interview? How did it go? What tips would you offer?

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