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Posted January 08, 2016 by

5 tips for a successful Skype interview

Robyn Scott, guest writer

Robyn Scott, guest writer

Many companies are hiring for remote or part-time positions these days that require some creativity when it comes to the interview process. Many recent graduates will be conducting interviews via phone or Skype. It’s important that applicants keep a few things in mind when conducting a Skype interview so their professionalism and personality can shine through when they ask and answer questions about the position.

1) Technical issues

The first thing to think about when doing to a Skype interview is any technical issues that might occur. First, make sure to get the interviewer’s Skype name prior to the day of the interview and give them yours as well. If you’ve been using a Skype name such as “luv2chill,” which would be appropriate for a college student, it might be time to go ahead and download a new version of Skype with a professional nickname such as “firstname_lastname”. Make sure your internet connection is excellent and Skype with somebody out of town for a few minutes to check your connection speed. There’s nothing more frustrating than having Skype drop the call several times during the interview. It’s also a good idea to have a viable backup plan if Skype isn’t working. Make sure your cell phone is charged and offer to finish the interview by phone if things aren’t working out. Lastly, have a good sense of humor about any technical issues on either end. If the person interviewing you feels comfortable that you can make things work in a difficult situation, it speaks to your abilities as a potential employee.

2)  Lighting and background

When being interviewed via Skype it’s critical to take a look at lighting and background. Many people look eager and fresh faced in real life but may look completely washed out on a little computer screen. It’s important not to look tired or worn out during an interview and also a good idea to deal with this ahead of time. Set up your Skype camera and play around with the lighting in the room you will be using for your interview. Make sure the lighting is even and the background is neutral. The reality is you may be using Skype in your bedroom as this may be the only private place for many new graduates. However, you don’t want the person interviewing you to see your personal items. You can put up a screen or move your desk around until you get a basic neutral background.

3)  Formal vs. informal

Andrey Popov/Shutterstock.com

It’s difficult to determine if a Skype interview will be more or less formal than an in-person interview. Some employers look at a Skype interview as a more casual and convenient way of getting to know someone, whereas other employers view it as the only way they can get in touch with a remote employee who will be working in their home office in another state. Applicants can play off of the vibe given from the hiring manager. Be prepared to have a professional interview similar to an in-person interview in a corporate office when you start. However, if the hiring manager is more relaxed and casual, it’s okay to have a more informal chat and let them get to know your personality.

4)  Keep the conversation flowing

Applicants should be able to keep the conversation flowing over Skype. They won’t have the same social cues they would in an in-person interview because it’ll be difficult to read the interviewer’s body language. Additionally, technical issues including voice and video can make it difficult to have a fluid discussion. Rather than having several awkward pauses practice a few mock interviews over Skype with a friend and figure out professional but friendly ways to fill the conversation. For example, if you’re in your home office in Florida, and the corporate headquarters are in Illinois, chat about the local office, weather, or any kind of small talk that pertains to the job. The point is to keep the interviewer at ease as they may be just as nervous as the applicant.

5)  Create a professional environment

It’s important to create a professional environment inside and out. This means that in addition to looking the part, the surrounding should be appropriate for an interview. Applicants are encouraged to find a quiet setting where they will be entirely uninterrupted by classmates or roommates. The more professional the environment, the more likely the applicant is to display sophistication to an employer and to obtain the position.

Robyn Scott, a guest writer for College Recruiter, is a private tutor with TutorNerds LLC. She has a BA from the University of California, Irvine, and a MA from the University of Southampton, UK. 

This month, College Recruiter will publish guest articles and other content to assist college students seeking entry-level jobs after graduation or summer internships. Check out “Connecting the dots: Creating a 2016 career action plan.