How to Nail Your Skype Interview

Going for business on top, party on the bottom? Think again.

You did it! You finally scored an interview for your dream job. The only thing? The interview isn’t in person. It’s via Skype or some other video-conferencing platform.

Don’t worry! This is totally normal. Employers are increasingly turning to video interviews when searching for the perfect candidates, since it cuts down on cost, encourages consistency, and even allows potential employers to replay or share the interview with others in the organization.

But if the thought of a Skype interview totally freaks you out, we’ve got you covered.

We spoke to Ken Liu, a talent acquisition manager at Microsoft, for his take on Skype or virtual interviews.

“They’re faster, cheaper, and more convenient than in-person interviews, and they’re more personal than talking on the phone. Skype interviews let you speak face-to-face without the need for travel or blocking an entire day,” he says. “Since Skype interviews offer convenience — you can schedule an interview with a candidate while you’re traveling or in between meetings — everyone should be ready to participate in a Skype interview. Many people in talent acquisition even use Skype as a first step to feel out a candidate before presenting them to hiring managers.”

Liu also shared his best tips on how to have a successful Skype interview.

Use Skype Like a Pro

Make sure your Skype username, as well as your profile picture, are professionally appropriate and represent you well. Check your status, and be sure your location is also up to date, he says.

Maintain Eye Contact

Where you look during the interview is important. Situate your webcam at eye-level, Liu says. And be sure to look at the camera — not your screen — to simulate eye contact.

Dress the Part (the Whole Part)

Planning to dress business on the top, sweatpants on the bottom? Not so fast, Liu says. Dress professionally from head-to-toe so you don’t get caught with your (proverbial) pants down in case you need to stand or the camera falls, he says.

Cover the Basics

Well before the interview, be sure to test out your video and audio quality, Liu notes. Also, be sure to check your background. Ensure there is enough light to show your face clearly and that your background is clear. “There’s nothing more distracting than a rogue pair of shorts hanging from a bookshelf!” Liu says.


Final Thoughts

And, when it comes down to how to approach your job search as a whole, Liu has some advice there, too.

“Being prepared goes a long way. With the continuous rise of social media, candidates have access to read and see more about our business than ever before,” he explains. “If a candidate has enough interest to apply for a role, they should know some of the company’s key facts and recent news. I often ask candidates, ‘What is it about Skype and Microsoft that interests you?’ which gives me a good idea of whether they genuinely care about what’s happening at our company or whether they’ve just clicked the ‘apply’ button.”