Sprucing Up for Skype Interviews

If your students are interviewing for a job, the chances are pretty high that many of them will be doing so via Skype.

Interviewing over video presents its own set of challenges, and advice on the topic is plentiful. Below is a summary of what many sources say are the most important factors students should consider before they interview using Skype or other online video services.

1.  Check the lighting. Test the light in the room where you’ll converse before the interview. Try to light yourself from the front and avoid backlight from a nearby window.

2.  Take care of technology. Close down other programs on your computer and plug in your computer to prevent the battery from dying. Make sure your Internet connection is working, and keep a phone close by just in case the computer connection goes awry. Remember to turn off the phone ringer to avoid an embarrassing interruption.

3.  Practice. As in an in-person interview, it’s always a good idea to prepare for an interview by practicing. Conduct the trial run with a friend who will give you helpful feedback about your voice volume or mannerisms you should avoid, for example, fidgeting.

4.  Dress for success. Learn the company culture before you choose what to wear. It might well be standard business attire. But at some organizations, overdressing can be an indicator that you won’t fit in. And make sure your outfit is from head to toe—don’t assume the interviewer cannot see all of you.

5.  Clear the room. Don’t conduct the interview in a cluttered, messy room. You’ll appear more professional and poised behind a desk against a neutral background.

6.  Position the computer. Note the location of the webcam on your computer and make sure you are looking into it, not above or below it. If you have to adjust the height of the computer, prop it up. Your entire torso should show, not just your face.

7.  Smile. Make sure you remember to connect with your interviewer and smile regularly.

8.  Use notes. There’s no reason you can’t look at prepared notes from time to time. Just make sure if you do, you remember to make it quick and to maintain good eye contact.

Your students may want to watch a video about conducting a Skype interview. This one from the Wall Street Journal features a college student who landed a job after her Skype interview.


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