Law Absolute - Recruitment specialists

How to ace a Skype interview

10th June 2015

how to ace a Skype interview

In the modern world of recruitment, technology has become a huge part of how we find, interview and recruit individuals.

From using social media to find your next legal job to managing your online CV with LinkedIn, the world of recruitment is now fully engaged in digital solutions. Whilst this makes the entire process simpler, quicker and gives candidates more resources with which to find a job, it also poses its own set of unique problems and issues.

The Skype interview is one such development that proves difficult for some. Those who aren’t entirely confident with technology or find the idea of being interviewed for a job online unnerving may struggle with the idea of a Skype interview, but here we look to prove that, once you’re prepared, it can also open a whole realm of positives that might just help you secure the job.

The tech

The first issue to get around is that of the technology itself. While most in London in-house lawyer jobs will enjoy unrivalled internet speed, it can still pose a problem with Skype calls on occasion. Be sure to do a broadband speed test ahead of your interview on Skype to ensure there won’t be any connectivity issues.

Time delays and problems with sound can all detract from the interview and whether it is your fault or not, may put the interviewer off of your application. They are looking for a good feeling or experience from an interview, so one that is plagued with connection issues may not come across well.

Connection issues can also lead to a time delay that can result in you talking over the interviewer, which again will not give a good impression. To get around this problem be sure to address any technical issues at the first instance – if you are struggling to hear them, be sure to say so rather than risk answering incorrectly. Should the problem persist, then ask to redial as not only will this help the interview run more smoothly, but it will give the impression that you are proactive in solving problems.

The body language

We all know that body language is important in a traditional interview setting. Well, a Skype interview is no different, it just poses a different set of issues. You might be surprised to learn that many people forget to smile during a Skype interview. Because the interviewer isn’t present in the room it can be easy to forget that they can see you and therefore you forget simple interview best practice. Make a conscious effort to smile, this breaks the ice and puts both yourself and the interviewer at ease.

yellow smiley face in a group of orange sad faces

It can also be difficult to know how to start a Skype call. Without a physical presence, you can’t give your practised handshake and this can leave interviewees at a loss as to how to begin.

To overcome this you should practice your digital handshake, meaning a gesture that gives the same impression as a handshake, your level of authority and confidence, visible through Skype. A safe bet is a firm nod of acknowledgment, this shows that the connection is working and that you are fully engaged with the situation.

Throughout the duration of the interview remember that just because they are not in the room doesn’t mean that body language isn’t important. Show animation and enthusiasm for the role through gesturing where appropriate. With this in mind, also be sure not to go overboard; the idea of a Skype interview leaves many people nervous and they look to overcompensate for the lack of physical presence by over-gesturing, which can come across as fidgety and unprofessional.

Also be sure to still dress for the interview. Just because they cannot see your bottom half doesn’t mean that you don’t need to think about what you are wearing. A smart shirt is important and be sure not to wear anything distracting. Bright colours and patterns can look completely different on the screen, as can shiny jewellery, which may affect the way the interviewer can see you on Skype. Also, for the women, remember not to wear anything too low cut; something that may appear fine in person may look inappropriate when all you can see is the top half of a person. To overcome these issues set up a test call with someone, either a friend or family member – you can then see exactly how you are coming across to the interviewer.

The background

While one of the pros to a Skype interview is that it can take place at a time and in a location of your choosing, these choices should be made very carefully.

Dress the room so it is appropriate for such a conversation. While a Skype interview can be more convenient and less time consuming for both parties, it also gives the interviewer another avenue from which to judge you. Be sure to have a clean backdrop, if you can’t find one in your house, use plain paper to create one. This gives a professional look and ensures that the interviewer is focusing on you and you alone.

Try a test call to check that the lighting isn’t too harsh or distracting and choose a smart, plain chair.

spotlight

One of the perks of a Skype interview is that there are elements that you can hide from your interviewer and this means that you can have notes in front of you without their knowing. While it is not recommended to have a script in front of you, certain statistics about the company and skills that you want to highlight on cards out of the interviewer’s view can help with both confidence and ensuring that you cover everything you wanted to. Just be sure to not make it too obvious. Don’t look down too often or move the paper – this can look unprofessional and give the impression that you are underprepared.

Final tips:

  • Consider your Skype name carefully. Make it professional.
  • One of the drawbacks of a Skype call is that you can’t provide the interviewer with a portfolio or similar materials. To get around this, consider emailing them any relevant documents ahead of the call so they have some further background information to talk about in the interview besides your CV.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Make use of the recording feature of Skype and check that sound and visuals are perfect ahead of the call. Don’t let a fall down of the interview be that the interviewer struggled to hear you or could only see the top of your head.

Image Credit: Dominiek ter Heide, jessicahtam, Tilemahos Efthimiadis (flickr.com)