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The world of Skype

Posted by
04 Mar 2016
Recently I held an interview with a candidate via Skype due to their current geographical location. An excellent alternative to a face-to-face first stage interview, it allows the hiring manager to get a better feel for the potential candidate than a simple telephone interview might allow.

As a recruiter I often speak to candidates over the phone who, on first impression, seem to be top notch, only to be disappointed when they turn up in person for an interview. Equally some candidates don’t get their personalities across on a phone interview, but in person are a much stronger contender.

When a face-to-face interview cannot be arranged, a skype interview is a fantastic compromise. It gives you the opportunity to see each other, get an idea of body language and the crucial non-verbal communication that builds a relationship. I was once told that only 30% of what we communicate are the words we actually say. So it makes sense that a phone interview can sometimes leave a disconnect – yes you do get verbal tone, but that lack of face-to-face connect often leaves a gap.

Skype interviews or video calls are not without their pitfalls though, and here are some tips for both candidate and interviewer to get the most out of the experience;

1. Connection
A poor internet connection can be the death of a video interview. Think of those phone calls you’ve had when someone has poor signal; the disconnect caused by the lost communication can kill any potential rapport building. This is the same for Skype interviews. Make sure both of you have strong internet connection to ensure a smooth conversation. No one likes the awkward air that comes from a frozen image mid-sentence.

2. Location

Think of your surroundings, pick a well-lit spot with a plain backdrop. No one wants to see your messy bed, sink filled with dishes, or family watching TV in the background. Find a tidy spot, ideally with a wall behind you, and limited views of your surrounds. Make sure the webcam is set up to look at you from a flattering angle, eye level is usually best. 

3. Presentation
Remember a Skype interview is just as formal as a face to face interview – wear your usual interview attire – i.e. a suit! Do not be tempted to only wear the top half, we have all seen those embarrassing videos of people who stand up from behind a table to reveal their shirt and suit jacket has been paired with grey socks and boxers!

4. Preparation
Prepare for a Skype interview in the same way as you do a face to face. You can get away with copious notes on a phone interview, the interviewer has no chance of seeing these or seeing you look at them. Don’t make the same mistake for a Skype interview. Constantly looking at notes on the desk in front of you looks just as poor as if you took those notes into an interview. Best practice is to keep notes to a minimum and have a conversation with your interviewer. Act as though your computer screen is that person! Look at the camera, and make sure you bring your personality!

Have you had a skype interview recently how was your experiences? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. If you would like further advice on how to nail an interview, whether it is a video call or face-to-face, check out our interview tips. View Interview Advice
Tagged In: Careers, Finance, Interview
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