Skype interview essentials

If an initial face-to-face meeting isn't possible, or if the interviewer wants to reduce costs before spending money on an airline or train ticket, a Skype interview may be a viable alternative.  By agreeing to a Skype interview, you're showing the potential employer (or recruiter) that you're adaptable and comfortable with new technology.

Practice.  If you're going to participate in a Skype interview, practice with a friend or relative first.  You don't want your first Skype interview to be with a potential employer.  Make sure you're comfortable with the technology. You want to put your best foot - or in this case face - forward!

Technicalities, Technicalities.  Ensure that your connections are secure, your laptop is fully charged, and, if possible, use a microphone that is externally connected rather than the microphone built into your computer.  External microphones are stronger and will make your voice sound stronger and you, in turn, more confident. Ask your friend to call you and test the sound and image. Get instant feedback from another person and introduce all the necessary corrections before the time comes to talk to your interviewer.

Look Directly Into the Camera.  During Skype interviews, some people fixate on the computer screen. This could give your interviewer the impression that you don't want to make eye contact.  Treat the Skype interview as you would an in-person interview.  Remember, you want to connect with your interviewer.  If you practice beforehand, you'll easily become familiar with the technology and present yourself in the most positive light, both literally and figuratively!

Conduct the Skype interview from a quiet, closed-door room/office.  Always remember, if you're participating in the Skype interview from home, this interview is a business proposition.  Your voice is the only thing your interviewer wants to hear and your face is the only thing your interviewer wants to see.  When Skyping there should be nothing in the frame but you.  There should be no loud people or playful, disruptive children, no barking dogs, no radio, television or any other extraneous noise.  Make sure your cell phone is turned off and put away. 

Careful With Your Skype Account Name.  To use Skype, you'll have to choose an account name.  Choose something that is a variation of your first and last name.  Remember, this is a business call, not a social call.  If your existing Skype name is something you'd be ashamed to tell your mother, change it! Same goes with your profile photo for your Skype account.

Dress For Success.   You aren't interviewing for a news anchor position, so don't fall into the trap that you need to look professional from the waist up only.  Dress as you would for an in-person interview.  This will not only avoid the possibility of a wardrobe malfunction but also put you in an interview frame of mind. While you may feel more comfortable in sweatpants and a blouse or shirt and tie, approaching your Skype interview in full business attire will keep your guard up at all times.

Remember to Thank the Interviewer.  Thank your interviewer at the end of the Skype call. Closing with a simple thank-you and asking about next steps renews your interest in the position and shows how your "soft skills" make you a good fit for their company. Follow up with a handwritten or emailed thank-you note. Interviewers will remember you and keep you top-of-mind if you're a finalist. Proofread your note and have others do so, too. If there are typos in the note, you would have been better off sending nothing at all.

A few additional notes on etiquette. 

  • Don't start calling first, until being advised to do so. Normally you're expected to just be on Skype on time, and then the interviewer would call you. If you see that the interviewer is missing for more than 10 minutes, you can write to him/her but never start calling out of the blue

  • Don't ask the person who's interviewing you to turn on their camera. The person will decide whether he or she should do it, or not, without your suggestions

  • Have your CV or link to your portfolio ready, in case your interviewer needs to view it over Skype

  • Wait for the interviewer to stop speaking before you answer. This will also give you a few seconds to think about what you want to say before you speak

Be sure to read our basic interview tips for more great tips on acing your interview. Click here to read You Only Get One Chance to Make a First Impression!