Skype interviews or video calls become common practice, as more and more employers (but also recruitment firms) cut travel costs and are looking for a more efficient way to manage their time. However, in my experience, few individuals are well versed in making a good impression by video link and as this is often the final filter to decide whether you are invited for an in-person meeting, it is important to prepare well.

So here are a few basic tips:

  • First of all, make certain that your skype ID is professional – drunkenduncan or lusciouslinda, will just not do…
  • Have a look at what the interviewer will be faced with in your background, I suggest that a blank wall would be best – photographs, books, files or a window with passing traffic is probably not a good idea.
  • Make sure that you are well lit, do not sit with your back towards a light source (a window on a sunny day), as you will turn into a dark silhouette.
  • Make sure there won’t be anything that can distract you, be that people (we have all seen the BBC news guy in the Far East fighting his kids off during a live broadcast), your phone or a radio.
  • Position the camera at eye level, nobody wants to stare up your nostrils whilst you are looking down on them, nor the other way around. Eye to eye means a level playing field and makes for a professional conversation.
  • Make sure that you upper body is visible, rather than just your face. This will ensure that more non-verbal communication is detected than just your facial expressions.
  • That said, take care of your grooming. On screen your face will be a lot closer to the interviewer than in a meeting room…
  • You might be in the comfort of your home, however do not forget this is a business meeting, so dress appropriately – read my separate blog on dress code.
  • Have a practise run with a friend, making sure that everything works well and looks + sounds good. You do not want technical challenges to distract from the actual interview.
  • That said, make sure that you have a plan B in case things do go wrong. It might work in your favour if you came across as unflappable and creative in finding a solution to a technical problem. For example, to switch from skype to facetime could be a viable alternative…
  • Like in any interview, make sure you project yourself as calm, relaxed and confident. This also means that you need to kerb any excessive hand or arm movements, do not fidget and make sure to smile!

As always, I’m happy to help you prepare, just call me! Good luck, Maarten

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