Job interview via Skype. How to handle it?

 Job interview

Skype is a perfect media for conducting a remote job interview. It enables recruiters to speak with candidates almost in anyplace where internet connection is available. On contrary to the common belief, a Skype interview is not easier than a traditional one. Actually there is more details that you have to take care of with the remote interview via Skype that with the traditional meeting face to face with the recruiter. With our short guide, you will take control of the whole process.

Technical aspects – profile name and image

First things first. To appear professional you need to have a proper profile name and picture. This means your profile name should include at least your last name so it’s easier for the recruiter to know who is he/she dealing with. This extends to the profile picture which should be your photo. A photo which will show your professional look.

This means you need to define what “professional” means in your chosen industry and occupation. There are different criteria of assessing what is “professional” in different industries. Think of applying for a job in a company in the entertainment industry and on the other hand – a banking company. A photo suitable for the bank might not be a match for the entertainment company, and the other way round as well.

Once you defined that, find a suitable photographer to take the photo. If you have little time to do that, a selfie taken with a good camera might do the trick. A pro photographer will probably enhance the photo a bit, so it’s wise to do it yourself if you decide to take the photo yourself. Online photo-editing tools might come in hand. Try Aviary or Pixlr Express. It’s also wise to have the same picture in your professional profile on LinkedIn or other networks of this kind. It will show that you care about your professional image.

Clothes make the man. –A Dutch proverb

There are some rules regarding the clothing both for making the professional photo as well as for appearing on the video conference. Generally, they apply to both cases, because in both of them you are seen through the eye of the camera.
Remember that putting on a suit is not always the best idea. Once again, you need to align with the industry or the company you meet with.
Regardless of what you wear, there are some rules worth remembering.
  1. Always have a full clothing. Having a jacket and boxer-shorts is never a good idea, even though you may think your interlocutor will see only the top-half of you. Think of a situation that you need to stand up and bring something to the table.
  2. Keep your eye on the details. You have to know, that the camera can expose and exaggerate details that normally would not be noticed. This means you should take a look at your hair and nails. It’s also good to brush your teeth before the interview. Think about a small piece of parsley stuck on your front teeth that most likely will distract the recruiter and compromise you as a candidate as well.
  3. Wear plain colours. Although you may like patterned clothes, they don’t look good in the camera. They create an effect as if the garment flows and floats on you. Try it before the interview to see for yourself in the preview window on your computer screen. You should also pick the colours that contrast with the background you will have during the conference.

Surrounding and background

You need to be aware of the environment you will have around you during your interview, so you should find a place that you will have as much control as possible. You should avoid public places. Cafe is not a good place to have a Skype-interview at. It will distract you and the noise will most likely interrupt you and you’ll be soon both irritated with asking “Could you repeat that?” over and over again. So you need silence.
As I said before, the background should be contrasting your clothes. You have to decide what is easier to change – clothes or the background and choose accordingly. If you’re lucky enough to have the comfort of choosing background, remember that there are colours which are in most cases unfavourable to the interviewee.
  1. Yellow and light green – if you have one of those in your background, you will look as if you’re going to be sick.
  2. Red in the background will make you look angry or embarrassed. None of those will be perceived positively.
  3. Black will appear depressing or make you look as if you were a “prince/princess of darkness”.
Nice colours to have in the background (of course as long as they don’t match your clothes) are dark grey, light blue, navy and white. Big patterns are also OK.

Last but not least – the lighting. 

Daylight is perfect. If you can take advantage of the daylight, do it. But you don’t always have the comfort to do this. Especially if you have an interview with a company in another time zone. Then you need to make the most of light you have at your disposal. Here are a few DOs and DON’Ts.

Don’t use the light from the top. It’s how the characters in the “Godfather” were shown. With dark eyes, which made them look suspicious and a bit scary. Believe me, you don’t want to look suspicious on a job interview.

Don’t use the light from the side. You will look like Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two Face. If you saw “Batman Forever”, you will know, what I mean. If you haven’t seen the film, you should definitely watch it.

The best way to use light is to have an ambient light in background and a light from the front, so that your eyes look bright. This will make you look more honest and thus credible.

See also: Experience is the key to success to landing a job 


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