If you’re searching for a new job at the moment, chances are, job interviews are never going to be far from your mind. Now, as you can see from our existing ‘Interview Advice‘ section and as you’d expect from a jobs and careers blog, we’ve covered job interviews in pretty extensive detail across many posts – but there’s one particular area we’ve only briefly touched on – Skype interviews.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, Skype job interviews are becoming increasingly popular with employers at the moment who don’t necessarily have the time to meet a candidate in person on the first occasion – so Skype can be a great compromise. Why? Because employers effectively get to meet you and get an idea of who you are, without necessarily having to make time in their busy schedule or leave their busy office.
Now, when it comes to a Skype job interview, it can be easy to think you’re in for an easy ride – after all, you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home – but be warned, it’s not that simple! When you’re faced with a Skype interview, in addition to being judged on your personal presentation and answers, your home and surroundings also come into the picture (quite literally!) too!
That said, before you agree to your next, or in fact any, Skype job interview, there are a few important checks you need to make to ensure you’re not caught out.
1. Web Cam:
It might sound silly but you’d be surprised at just how many people get caught out because they haven’t checked their web cams are actually functioning properly before they log in for their Skype interview. Seriously, just take a few minutes out ahead of time to check everything’s linked up properly and everything works in terms of sound and vision.
2. Profile Image:
Yes, your friends might love that crazy profile picture of you hugging a goat after one too many beverages – but I’m not sure a prospective employer would be that impressed. Remember, first impressions count for a lot… do you really want to risk creating a bad one because you didn’t fancy changing your profile picture to something more professional? Don’t forget, you can always change it back afterwards ;)
3. Skype User Name:
Just like your profile image, (rightly or wrongly!) your user name has the potential to be judged when it comes to a Skype job interview… so be careful! If in doubt, why not keep your existing account for personal use and create another Skype account which can be used for professional purposes?
OK, so you’ve got your web cam figured out and you’ve employer-proofed your Skype user name and profile image – but have you thought about possible interference that might interrupt your call? Fridges, phones, ovens – you name it, they can all interfere with your Skype call… so you need to watch out. Even a seemingly quiet clock can be mysteriously amplified to become the loudest thing ever on Skype so try and do a few checks ahead of time to try and cancel out any possible distractions or issues.
Yes, you might have just done your washing and really need it be dry for tomorrow – but your interviewer doesn’t need to know that – or see that! Seriously, washing, dirty socks, compromising posters/films/books – you name it, they all need to be kept out of sight (and out of mind!) during a Skype job interview.
6. Furniture Placement:
So, you’ve packed your washing away but that’s only part of the problem – you also need to consider where your furniture is and how it looks in the background or your Skype call. By this, I mean you need to make sure that sculpture you love in your front room doesn’t make you look like you have horns when you’re sat on Skype – or that chair you have in the background doesn’t make you look like you have three arms. Yes, it might sound silly – and it won’t necessarily create a bad impression – but it can be distracting for your interviewer which is never a good thing.
You might be able to see perfectly well in your living room – but that doesn’t mean your interviewer will be able to! Don’t forget, lighting can often appear darker over Skype so do a few checks before hand to make sure you’re not glowing in light… or hiding in a silhouette.
Got your perfect outfit figured out? Great – now it’s time to try it on Skype. Do a test run to make sure the colours work on camera and keep an eye out to make sure your top/shirt doesn’t match your wall colour – a floating head is never a good look!
When you’re doing your test-run, it’s a good idea to look at how/if the pattern of your top works on camera. By that, I mean some patterns tend to jump around (not literally! ;) ) on camera, particularly tight pin-stripe shirts – so choose carefully and always do a test run ahead of time!
10. Seating Position:
Yes, you may love curling up in your favourite snuggle chair – but that’s not to say it’s the best seating position for your interview! Remember, it’s still a job interview – so try and choose a seat which lets you sit upright and makes you look confident. If you’re looking a little short/tall on camera, there’s no harm in adjusting your web cam to correct things – but remember, some camera angles are more flattering than others – so always check. Lastly, if you’re wearing a shirt, remember some angles can reveal more than others – so be careful! ;)
As an added extra to the list, I’d also advise you to have a pair of earphones handy – just in case the interviewer can somehow hear themselves back in your house!
There you go; just a handful of things to consider before your next Skype job interview. I did tell you that a Skype job interview wasn’t necessarily as easy or simple as you first thought! :)