By AccountingWEB Staff
Skype is a software program that allows two people to speak and see one another via the Internet. Many employers are choosing Skype to conduct job interviews, especially when candidates don't live in their area. In addition, some employers are substituting a first-round telephone interview with a Skype interview so they can see the candidates as well as speak to them. Online interviews also save employers time and money, so they're bound to become even more popular.
So, if you're sending out resumes and are unfamiliar with Skype, you'll want to learn the basics before a potential employer contacts you to set up an interview. We've compiled the following ten tips to get you ready for a successful, land-the-job Skype interview.
1. Visit the Skype website to set up a Skype account and to download the software. Be sure to create a professional username when you're setting up your account. As with the e-mail address you use for business, your Skype username also must be professional.
2. Open Skype and conduct a test run first to ensure everything is working properly. Test the microphone by speaking into it and listening to your voice through your speakers. If you're going to use headphones, plug them in and test the microphone again. Make sure your Internet connection works properly to ensure the interviewer can hear you clearly.
3. Adjust your webcam so you're positioned in the middle of the screen. Don't zoom in so the interviewer can only see your face. Placing a task light on either side of your webcam will make you look the best.
4. Prepare as if you're going to the potential employer's office for a face-to-face interview. Know your resume inside out – memorize the dates and details in your resume that demonstrate your experience and skills. Don't read your answers from a sheet of paper or your resume.
5. Clean up the space around your computer. If you can, make your background a white wall, clear of pictures or anything that could distract the employer. Make sure the area is uncluttered and keep personal items out of view.
6. Dress for success. Look like the professional you are. Don't get caught with a dress shirt on top and sweatpants on the bottom – you never know if you'll have to stand up to reach for something during the interview. Wearing dark colors with a touch of color is best. Avoid wearing patterns or stripes as they can be distracting.
7. Prevent disruptions. Turn off your telephone and keep your pets in another room or outside. Close your windows so outside noise stays where it's supposed to be – outside. Make sure everyone in your house knows you're not to be disturbed. Also, close software programs, such as chat programs and e-mail, so alerts won't distract you or the employer.
8. Make (virtual) eye contact. If you gaze at the computer screen instead of looking into the camera, you could be perceived as being evasive or untruthful. However, you don't want to stare unblinkingly at the camera either, which will simply make you look odd.
9. Take it slow. It's easy to talk over people on a Skype call, so wait for the interviewer to stop speaking before you answer. This also gives you a couple of seconds to think about what you want to say before you answer. Skype interviews often tend to dampen one's personality, so smile, be enthusiastic, and act like the real you as much as possible.
10. Use "open" body language. Don't sit with your arms across your body or look down or away. "Closed" body language can give the impression that you lack confidence or are trying to hide something. You want to look confident, trustworthy, and friendly. Sit forward – but not too close – and lean in so the interviewer can read your facial expressions.