The Skype Interview

More than 60% of hiring managers say that they use virtual based interviews, and the Skype interview is the go to source. If you are expecting a Skype interview, this article will walk you through everything from creating an account to how to improve your on screen presence.


The General Background

Companies today are looking to simultaneously save time and money and expand their reach, including recruiting talent from a global talent pool.  One method for reaching this talent is to use Skype.

Skype is a web based software program that allows people to speak to each other through their computer and look at one another using webcams. As internet speed and reliability has increased and as people have gotten more comfortable with doing business online, the Skype Interview is grown in popularity.

Why the Skype Interview

A Skype interview is advantageous over a phone interview for two reasons. First, the interviewer and job candidate can look at one another and see each other’s facial expressions and body language. Second calls between users on Skype is free.

Setting up

If you are invited to an interview on Skype, not too worry. You simply need to download the Skype software and create your own account. Using your first name and last name for your account username is recommended for a job interview.

Next, you need to make sure you have a webcam and microphone. These attributes are often installed into your computer. If you don’t have one pre-installed, you can pick one up this equipment at Best Buy or order it online.

Alternatively, you can go to an internet café especially those that have separate booths with computers. Every computer there should be equipped with Skype a web cam and microphone.

Once you’ve got everything set up, there only a few remaining things you need to do.

The Interview Environment

First, you need to create a professional setting for your interview. You will need to dress professionally. You will want to make sure that you aren’t in a noisy environment.

You also need to make sure that anything the interviewer sees behind you looks neat and tidy. In addition, if you have any posters or objects that may be distracting (shiny, bright colors, strange shapes, etc), you will want to remove these from your interviewer’s visual field.

Skype Interview Body Language

During the conversation, you will want to make eye contact with the interviewer. That means that counter-intuitively, you will need to look at the webcam rather than the person on the screen. If you aren’t sure you’ve got this down, I recommend doing a couple of practice conversations with the interviewer.

During the Skype interview, you will also want to be mindful of your body movements, and keep your head and body still. Your webcam may not be able to keep up with rapid movements, so if you move your head or body rapidly, it can create a blurry image on your interviewer’s screen.

In addition to keeping the trunk of your body, and head relatively still, you also want to be very mindful of fidgeting. These rapid movements quickly distract your interviewer since they are hard to ignore in the small visual area of a computer screen.

Your hand gestures are something else you want to be mindful of. All that the person on the other side of the screen can see is an area a little wider than your shoulders. So if you make wider hand gestures, these gestures won’t be seen. Instead, all of your gestures will just look like fidgets of your shoulders or flailing of your arms.

If you want to use hand gestures, be sure that your hands are located in front of your body. But do your best to keep these gestures to a modest amount, in case the webcam isn’t smoothly keeping up with your movements, and your hands start looking like blurs on the screen.

Like all interviews, for your Skype interview you should confirm the meeting ahead of time, invest in effective interview preparation and send a thank you afterwards.