8 Tips to Pass a Skype Interview

Olga Shirimova
April 17, 2020
How to pass Skype interview article featured image

These days, everything, including job interviews, happens online. We have talked with some HR specialists to understand what mistake remote applicants make and how to avoid them.

Here are 8 useful tips to pass a Skype interview and make it to the next level.

Skype Interview: Same but Different

Passing a job interview only is not an emergency skill. When this global self-isolation is over, remote work will become more popular. People and companies will be looking for opportunities and employees worldwide. Those who are good at passing a Skype interview will have an advantage.

Note that an online meeting is not something completely different — recruiters and potential colleagues will be asking you the same questions about your experience, skills, goals, and priorities. But this communication format has several features that you may use to your advantage — or disadvantage. See our tips to help you pass a Skype interview successfully!

These two images show how the impression you make depends on the angle and light. Image source: WDHA 105.5

Tip 1: Prepare Your Equipment and Set the Light

For a seamless Skype interview, you rely on technical equipment and a stable internet connection. So, one of the most important tips, if you want to pass a Skype interview, is to check if everything in advance.
Make sure that:

  • the internet connection is good and stable;
  • your camera and microphone function properly;
  • the screen of your laptop is positioned for optimal viewing;
  • the light is flattering.

When setting up the light and angle, keep in mind the time of the interview. If you have scheduled it for the daytime, it would be better to sit facing the window.

If you have an interview in the evening (because the recruiter lives in a different time zone), place the lamp over the laptop so it shines on your face. If possible, use warm diffused light.

Practicing your call help you feel more prepared and confident. Image source: SYSTWEAK

Tip 2: Practice Your Speech

Not everyone is comfortable with online interviews, but practice makes perfect. Ask a friend or family member to help you with a rehearsal. Give them the list of questions and let them act as a recruiter. Then, demand for clear and constructive feedback on your performance.

It’s important that you trust this person. The goal is to detect and fix the weak spots of your presentation. Therefore, don’t use someone who is biased or unable to tell you the harsh truth. Or someone who cannot tell a good presentation from a bad one.

It’s important to know how to share your files or desktop with your contact. Image source: Microsoft

Tip 3: Have Everything You May Need At Hand

During the interview, a recruiter may ask you to provide some documents or samples of your work. Make sure you have everything they may need at hand and in digital format. Thus, you can easily share these papers via Skype instead of hastily looking for them in a drawer.

To send docs through Skype сlick the Share Files icon in the message box and select the file you want to open.

If there is no blank wall, opt for any neutral, business-like or academic-looking background like a bookcase. Image source: Louisiana Job Connection

Tip 4: Choose a Neutral Background

The best interview background is a blank (white or neutral) wall or anything that looks like an office. If you cannot afford this luxury, any decent background like a bookcase or a neutral curtain will do. Make sure there are no personal items, toys, collectibles or movie posters in sight. They distract attention and make the atmosphere too homely.

A cluttered scene with scattered clothes and an undone bed creates the impression of a disorganized person. No one wants such an employee.

Your cat may look sweet on Skype, but a recruiter won’t appreciate its sudden appearance. Image source: SLATE

Tip 5: Make Sure You Won’t Be Interrupted or Distracted

Before you connect, make sure there is nobody to bother or distract you. By no one we mean no roomies, relatives, kids, pets or delivery guys.

If your children start to call each other names, or your dog starts to bark at a delivery guy, or your roommate starts going around looking for his t-shirt, it will interfere with the impression of professionalism you seek to create. Thus, ask all these people to leave you alone for a while. Tell them about the interview in advance, so they have time to make plans outside the house.

Looking at the webcam versus looking at the face on the screen: the difference is apparent. Image source: Learn Power BI

Tip 6: Remember About Eye Contact

Many inexperienced people, when talking over Skype, look at the face on the screen as they would do in real-life interaction. It doesn’t work with virtual conversations — for your interlocutor, you are looking slightly down, avoiding eye contact.

If you want to maintain direct eye contact (and it’s essential), train yourself to look at the camera and not at the face on the screen. It’s counter-intuitive but you can master this skill with practice, too.

Some experts recommend imagining your interlocutor as a wild dangerous beast. In this case, you avoid making direct eye contact because it can provoke aggression. At the same time, you have to glance down at your animal from time to time to read its expression. Check if this funny trick works for you.

The dress code depends on the type of company, so explore what the teams usually wear.

Tip 7: Dress Adequately 

HR experts often recommend putting on something very business-like and looking your best. It’s okay if you apply for a position in a bank or another place where you are expected to communicate with clients and partners. On the contrary, overdressing may work against you when it does not fit the company’s corporate culture. For example, if you deal with a fintech startup, it’s better to opt for a more casual (but still neat) outfit and hairstyle.

To dress for success, spend some time exploring the company’s culture. See the photos of the team on Facebook to have an idea of how your potential colleagues dress and behave. Adjust your personal style to this image to look like a perfect team member.

Another tip would be to dress adequately from head to toe. Don’t wear your old sweatpants just because the recruiter doesn’t see your bottom part. You may have to stand up to take or adjust something, making these pants visible. There are many HR jokes about such cases.

Looking professional, confident and positive is probably the most important tip. Image source: JWU ONLINE

Tip 8: Try to Look Confident (Even if You Are Not) 

Finally, it’s essential to look confident and relaxed, even if it’s your first Skype interview. Please, don’t start with a joke about how weird it feels to be interviewed from home. First, HR specialists hear such jokes and complaints from too many people these days, and they already hate it. Second, it makes you look insecure, uncomfortable with technical devices and inflexible. It’s bad, especially if you apply for a position in a hi-tech company.

Instead, demonstrate that you are tech-savvy, enthusiastic and able to adapt to any situation. For example, if a technical problem occurs during the interview, do something instead of saying: “Ups, no idea what it was” or “Today, nothing works as it should”. Even if it’s true, make an effort to solve the problem. The recruiter will appreciate the attitude even if you fail at it.

Last but not least, check if your Skype name looks decent. In case it’s too weird or humorous, change it in the Settings.

We hope these tips will make it possible to pass any Skype interview and get the job of your dreams!

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