Mastering Skype and Online Interviews

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How can you master Skype and the online interview process?

It seems like most of our days are spent on the internet, through our phones, tablets, or desktop. Doing a job interview online can seem more intimidating,  because it is not something we are used to doing. We are used to going to in person interviews, sitting across from the person in front of us and answering questions. Yet, the number of employers looking for online interviews is growing, it saves time for the person to come in the office, it can be cost effective (no money on gas, or buying coffee pre interview), and it gives an impression of the person. Read below to see a list of the tips we provide in preparing for online interviews.

  1. Do your research! We cannot stress this enough!  So many people do not do their research on the company or position they are interviewing for, and FAIL!  Look up the company website, Google articles on the company and key executives, know what is going on over there at this time, and check LinkedIn.  Read the job description thoroughly!!  There is nothing worse than interviewing someone that has no idea what they are interviewing for.  If you are in consideration for a technical position, know what technologies are most important to this position, and be prepared to give your experience with said technologies.
  2. Treat this as an onsite interview. You are going to be VISIBLE to the interviewer, and you have to make a great first impression, just as if you were going to interview in the office with the CEO.  Make sure that you are in a well-lit, quiet area, free of clutter and away from family, pets or any other distraction.  If your place is messy, or you don’t have a nice backdrop, sit in front of a neutral wall – with limited or no curtains, furniture or objects behind you.  Try not to fidget, sit up straight and be sure that you speak clearly and slowly.  You want your interviewer to hear what you are saying and not ask you to repeat yourself over and over.  Which brings us to our next tip:
  3. BE SURE TO CHECK YOUR INTERNET CONNECTION PRIOR TO THE INTERVIEW! Do not wait until five minutes before your interview to download Skype to your laptop, tablet or phone.  If you have to use Skype from your phone, be sure that you have something to rest your phone on or against where you do not have to hold it during the interview.  The best thing to do is a couple of practice calls to family or friends to be sure that the video and sound are clear, without any glitches.  Make sure that you are in an area where you have a solid internet connection, or where you have a strong cellular connection.  Stay connected through a cable wire so you don’t drop the interview. You do not want to drop THIS call!
  4. Dress the part! Ladies, make sure that your hair is away from your face, natural makeup and keep jewelry modest.  Chose a blouse or dress in a solid color (stripes do not look good over a computer screen, and can potentially give your interviewer a headache) and be sure that it is modest.  All the interviewer will see is from just below your chest up; you are still taking part in an interview, dress as if you were attending a face to face interview.  Gentlemen, a nice dress shirt, again, in a solid color, is best.  You can go with a subtle tie, or even a jacket, but at minimum a dress shirt.  Please be sure it is pressed and ready to go.  You can be in your pajama pants under the desk, but the shirt needs to look great!  Be well groomed – if you need a haircut, be sure to do that and shave or groom your mustache/beard so it looks neat.  If you wear glasses (as do I), please take them off.  It is very distracting to the person interviewing you if your glasses need constant adjustment, or there is a glare from the computer screen on your lenses.  I understand you may not be able to see 100% clearly, but it’s ok.  Your interviewer needs to see you, more than you need to see your interviewer.
  5. Have your resume, pen and notepad close by. During a Skype or online interview, which is generally one of the first steps in the screening process, your interviewer will most likely ask questions, mainly, pertaining to your resume.  It will help to have it in front of you so that you do not get flustered when asked a question about a specific position or skill.  While doing your research, highlight keywords on your resume so that you can mention these during the interview.  At the beginning of your Skype interview, let the interviewer know that you are taking notes, so he or she does not think you are distracted or simply not paying attention.  It will probably impress the interviewer to know that you are taking notes as the interview progresses.  This shows that you are serious about getting this job!
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