How to prepare for a Skype interview

There may come a time when you have to take part in a Skype interview. If this is your first time it can be very daunting and also a little awkward at times. Face to face job interviews are typically a lot easier to build up a rapport, but the employer may prefer to do a video call – and you need to be prepared.

Skype is completely free and very easy to download. So if you are a little unfamiliar you can simply click here to go straight to the main page. Once you have downloaded the software you can create an account using your email. Please ensure you create a professional username as you will need to give these details to an employer.

Here’s how to prepare for a Skype interview.

Get the right equipment

First of all you need to ensure you have the appropriate equipment. A laptop would be the most popular choice as they usually have built in web cams. However, if you don’t own a laptop or computer you could consider using your mobile phone. The quality on most modern smart phones is good enough for a Skype interview, but this should be a last resort. Consider asking a friend if you can borrow their laptop if you don’t have one.

Webcams are quite inexpensive these days, so if you have a laptop or computer that doesn’t have one you can usually pick up one for around £20. This would be full HD and more than adequate for a Skype interview.

If you do buy a webcam check that it has a built in microphone. If not, you can buy these separately but it would be much easier if it already had one built in. However, buying a separate microphone may ensure better quality audio as you can sit it much closer to you.

Test it works

Now that you have your equipment ready you should test it before the interview. It would be a huge mistake to assume it will work on the day just to find that something has gone wrong. The employer could get very frustrated and decide to either reschedule or even cancel altogether. If they do decide to allow you another chance you have already made a bad first impression.

It’s easy to avoid this if you test your equipment. Contact a friend and ask them to Skype you. Ask them to confirm if the video quality is okay and if they can hear you. Sometimes you may find that the microphone volume is too low or too loud, so you now have the chance to get those levels just right before the real interview.

Practice with a friend

Now that you’ve connected to your friend through Skype you could conduct a mock interview. Send them some common interview questions to ask so you can practice. A Skype interview is very different from a normal face to face meeting, and although you may have a lot of experience you may still find a video call quite tricky.

Once the interview has concluded you should ask them for their honest feedback. Tell them not to hold back because you want complete transparency. This isn’t about being scared of hurting anyone’s feelings, and the importance of getting some good feedback is crucial to your success. If they are unsure of what type of feedback to provide, give them a list beforehand so they know what to look out for.

Use a quiet place

Before the interview begins you should be in a quiet place where you can’t be disturbed. If there are other people in the house then let them know well in advance so they can leave you in peace. Try to pick a day and time when everybody is out if possible.

The room you choose should also be given a lot of thought. Although the camera will be facing you there will still be things in the background that the employer can see. Make sure you choose an appropriate background which looks professional. A white wall would be absolutely fine, but you could also choose a bookcase or window. However, make sure the light from the window isn’t shining straight through. Again, test your video before you connect with the employer. You could use your phone to do this.

Dress smartly

Finally, don’t forget that you still need to dress smartly – well, at least from the waist up! A Skype interview should be treated like any other, which means you need to dress appropriately in your business attire.

Take this very seriously and make sure you are very well presented. So have a shave, do your makeup, wash your hair, or whatever you would usually do before a job interview. You have to make a positive first impression, especially when video calls can be more difficult to build up a rapport.

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