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23-Jan-2

Skype interviews: the do’s and don’ts to get ahead

Nowadays, Skype interviews are a popular precursor to face-to-face meetings, especially if candidates live abroad. It’s a great way to get an initial feel for the company, and for them to suss you out, too.

We’ve put together some essential do’s and don’ts to consider when you’re in the hot seat, so you can help ensure you put your best foot forward.

Don’t forget to check your equipment is charged in advance. Scrambling to plug in your laptop as the red light blips for the third time isn’t exactly professional, and gives the impression you’re unreliable and unprepared.

Headphone and computer

Do leave the laptop charging for the night, and, if there’s a suitable plug socket nearby your “interview” area, keep it plugged in throughout the call. It’ll keep you calm knowing your laptop isn’t going to let you down.

Don’t forget to check everything’s working. Your battery may be fully charged – but are your speakers on at the right level? Is your webcam working?

Do save yourself the fluster of trying to turn it on while your interviewer is already on the call. Wear discrete earphones if you prefer, and make sure your webcam is good to go.

Don’t underestimate the importance of setting. A cluttered kitchen, a snoozing cat or a squealing child in the background is not ideal. When the background is busy and noisy, it’s distracting for the interviewer and for you.

Do clear the space around you and sure there is a plain background, natural lighting and a complete lack of outside noise, so the interviewer can concentrate solely on you.

Don’t become distracted by your own image on the screen. It’s tempting to watch your own mini-image on the screen, to check you look ok as you’re speaking, but it’s distracting for the other person and a lack of eye contact can be disconcerting.

Do try your best to look directly into the camera, to seem like you’re making eye contact with your interviewer. Lean slightly towards the camera, too – this type of body language is friendly and engaging, and gives the impression you really care about what she or he is saying.

Don’t overuse hand gestures and move too much, on the other hand! Gesturing is normal body language and indicates that you’re enthusiastic, but there’s a fine line between seeming enthusiastic and just seeming nervous and fidgety.

Do show enthusiasm, and use your hands to convey openness. Smile and show your passion and approachability. If you want, try sticking a post-it note beside your camera saying “Smile!” or “Be calm!”

Don’t forget to dress to impress. Even though the interviewer might only be able to see from the shoulders up, it’s best to avoid wearing pyjama pants or trackies for a skype interview. It doesn’t allow you to “get in the zone” or give the impression it’s the real thing.

Do dress as if you were speaking face-to-face. Darker colours are best, perhaps with a small pop of colour. Simple, discrete jewellery is best, as long earrings and overly-sparkly attire can also be distracting.

And finally: do remember how great you are! You’ve been offered an interview because the company thinks you could be great for the job – try not to be nervous, and go for it!