The option to conduct interviews remotely is becoming increasingly popular and is now common practice for many employers and recruiters, particularly due to more people working from home. Usually conducted over Skype, they’re convenient, reduce travel costs, and can save time.
What is a Skype interview?
A Skype interview is conducted over video chat rather than face-to-face. They’re often used as an initial pre-screen ahead of a face-to-face interview to filter candidates at an early stage. For international organisations, they’re also an effective way to include key stakeholders outside of the UK.
Here are some top tips for a successful remote interview.
Skype interview preparation
The first thing you’ll need is an appropriate Skype name. Just your name ‘MichaelJones’ for example will be fine. If the name you want has already been chosen, you could add a number to the end or the initial of your middle name. When preparing for a remote interview on Skype, testing and practicing is a good first step:
If it’s your first time using Skype, set up a practice call with a friend to make sure that you don’t run into any technical issues on the day
Practice makes perfect - get a feel for being on camera - at first, this may feel a bit strange, but the more you practice the more comfortable you’ll feel
Record the practice run and analyse how you appear on camera
Before the interview, sign in early so that you’re ready for the interviewer to call you. If you do have technical issues, don’t panic. The interviewer will understand that this isn’t your fault so just apologise and try to resolve the problem, calmly and quickly. If the connection is poor you do have the option of continuing the Skype call without the video.
Make sure that you have your interviewer’s telephone number and email address in case you do run into any technical difficulties. This way you’ll be able to contact them to let them know during the remote interview.
Set the scene
You’re in control of the setting so make sure that you consider where you want to conduct the interview.
Try to avoid having anything too distracting in the background. A neutral and tidy room would be the most appropriate setting
Sit at a desk or put your computer on a table rather than sitting with it on your lap
Make sure that you won’t be interrupted by pets or anyone else in the house
Dress the part
Treat your Skype interview as you would a face-to-face interview. Not only will you appear professional, but you will also feel professional. Dressing the part can help you feel more focused and confident, helping to impress a potential employer in a video interview.
During the call
The advantage of having a Skype interview is that you don’t have to remember everything that you want to mention.
Keeping your notes in bullet point format to use as a prompt in front of you or just to the side, can remind you of the key points you want to make
Printing out your CV and the job description can also be helpful, allowing you to refer to these easily when answering interview questions.
Treat the remote interview the same way you would a face-to-face interview - consider your body language; smiling, nodding and leaning forward will show you are engaged
Bear in mind how you’ll appear from the interviewer’s point of view. By looking directly at the camera you’ll be looking at the interviewer, so practice delivering your responses to the camera, not the screen
At the end of the Skype job interview, think about the questions you have for the interviewer. You may want to ask about the next steps so that you are clear about the process. Finally, thank them for their time and log out of Skype so the session is completed.