Never had to interview over Skype before?
If this is the case for you, you are far from alone! However, if you are looking to interview in the next few months, there is a very good chance that you will be having to undertake your first interview in front of a screen. With the current restrictions in place because of the coronavirus outbreak, we have seen the number of requests for our candidates to interview over Skype skyrocket. This is why we thought it would be useful to put together some advice for those about to undergo this new (and fairly daunting) new experience. Below we have provided 8 handy tips to outline the most important things to help put you at ease and ensure you give the best account of yourself that you possibly can over Skype!
Dress the part (from head to toe!)
You have probably heard multiple stories from friends about how when they have undertaken an interview over Skype and they have only worn smart attire on their top half and tracksuits below. I really would recommend that you dress smart from head to toe! Firstly, I cannot stress enough that this is still an interview, just in a different setting. Therefore, treating it as if you are physically meeting the interviewers is of paramount importance. It is difficult to be in the correct frame of mind if you are dressed casually from the waist down. What is more, should there be an unforeseen instance and you are required to stand up, your chances of getting the position for which you are applying are as good as over. Do not take that risk!
Ensure that the interview room is tidy and appears professional
This factor is perhaps one that candidates would not immediately consider to be necessarily important. However, if the room from which you are operating is cluttered and contains laundry strewn across the floor that could naturally cause unwanted concern in the mind of the employer regardless of how the interview goes. The likelihood is that it would not influence the final decision an employer makes but I would recommend not even making it a potential issue in the first place. Ensure that your room is tidy and clean in the background and lay your mind to rest that will you be judged on your performance alone during the interview!
Avoid any and all potential distractions
Throughout the course of the interview it is very important to remain engaged, listen to the questions and concentrate on providing the best answers that you can. For this reason, it is key that you keep your desk clear of all objects that could potentially distract you; even if it just a pencil or rubber that you may be tempted to fiddle with, especially if nervous! I would also highly recommend turning your phone off and also having Skype as the only open window on your laptop during the interview. Even having Outlook open with emails pinging through can prove distracting and a source of annoyance for your interviewer.
Do a couple of trial runs!
If you have a limited experience of Skype conversations it can take a little while to get used to them. It would definitely be worth asking a friend or family member to do a couple of mock interviews over the platform in this instance. Not only then will you be more comfortable over a video call but when the time comes for the real thing you can be certain that your audio and camera are working correctly. This means you can also take comfort in the knowledge that you will sidestep the potentially awkward instance of a technical fault!
Ensure that you are not disturbed
Prior to the interview make sure that you make everyone within your household aware that you will be in an interview. Taking this step will mean you avoid the possibility of a family member bursting in on your interview, as this dad in the now infamous viral video below learnt in the most painful way possible…
…safe to say that this type of scenario is one you do not want to wish to happen to you. It might well be worth locking that door behind you as well just to be safe!
Sit up straight and relax
The importance of posture and positive body language such as smiling cannot be emphasized enough. 55% of communication is non-verbal and therefore your behaviour is just as important in an interview as what you are actually saying. With this in mind, make sure you are sitting upright with good posture and try to smile where you can! To really hit home to your interviewer that you are engaged Debbie Swanson of Forbes suggests we should use “listening sounds” such as “hm” or “yes” whilst listening to your interviewer speak. This is a suggestion that I really like and I would actively encourage this as it provides an obvious sign that you are fact listening to and deeply considering the question being posed to you.
Make sure you do your homework
Here at Eclectic Recruitment we always say to our candidates the most important thing that you can possibly do to improve your chances of getting the job you are interviewing for is prepare. Look at the company website, study the job spec, look up the profile of the interviewers on LinkedIn and most importantly pay particular attention to our emailed preparation! The more you know the easier you find it to answer the questions asked and the more confident you will appear. Another advantage you have with a Skype interview is that you can refer to notes! Writing a couple of “buzz words” as prompts on post-it notes on the table would be great to make use of, should you believe it will help and not be too obviously distracting.
Lastly…please check your username!
This may well not only be the first time you have used Skype for an interview but also the first time you have used Skype period for years! If this is the case, please take care to make sure that the username from teenage you is not the one still active. An unprofessional username could well paint you in an unfair light and cost you your chance before the interview even commences!
The chances are this will not be the one and only occasion you interview over Skype
With the prevalence of video calling platform use in businesses across the world on the rise, this may not be the last time you are asked to have an interview over Skype. Once the outbreak has passed, we may well see a situation where the firms that have used them so frequently during the weeks of lockdown and decide if this something they will continue to use in the future. Therefore, if you really concentrate on preparing well for your upcoming Skype interview, it will set you up well for a future one. By this time, you will be a veteran and know exactly what to do. If you do not stray too far from our advice and put the work in, I am sure you will find your Skype interview need not be as daunting as it initially appeared!
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Or contact the team!