Top 5 Skype Interview Tips (And The Mistakes To Avoid)

By Mike Simpson

Prepping for the traditional job interview usually requires some pretty routine steps; make sure you’ve done your research, print out and bring along several clean copies of your resume, plan out your interview wardrobe, practice answering interview questions, and always bring along a pack of breath mints.

But in today’s increasingly technological world, the traditional interview is being replaced with Skype interviews.

What is a Skype Interview?

A Skype interview, otherwise known as a video interview, is one in which the entire interview is conducted via video chat on your computer.

As technology continues to advance, more and more interviewers are turning to Skype and video interviews as a way to connect with potential hires. Not only is it a great way to interview people who would otherwise have to travel, but it’s also an opportunity interviewers to get a better sense of who you are, something a traditional phone conversation might not necessarily allow.

A video interview can be both a blessing and a curse to job seekers. On one hand, you’re able to conduct the interview from the comfort of your own home. That means you have all the time in the world leading up to the interview to get ready without having to worry about things like travel time and traffic, or getting lost on your way to an unfamiliar location.

On the other hand, make no mistake, this is a job interview…and not treating it with the same professionalism you would with any other interview is the fastest way to tank your chances with a potential employer, which leads us to our next section –

Common Skype Interview Mistakes

1. Being too casual

Just because you’re doing the interview from the comfort of your home doesn’t mean you get to stay…comfortable. Treat this exactly like you would any other interview, and that includes making sure you’re dressed professionally from head to toe.

2. Not doing a trial run before the actual interview

There’s nothing worse than firing up your laptop for a video interview and finding out your audio isn’t working, or your camera isn’t functioning, or your computer needs to update some driver before it’ll allow the program to run.

Always do a test run at least 24 hours ahead of time so you’ve got an opportunity to fix any issues that might arise…and that means making sure the person on the other end of the call can hear and see you.

3. Not setting your camera’s viewing angle

Speaking of seeing you, make sure the angle the interviewer is seeing you from is a flattering one. Raise your camera up to a level where you’re looking straight at it, not down at it. This will help to give you a more natural look as well as avoid the dreaded “booger” shot.

4. Not being aware of your background

Because this is a video interview, your hiring manager is going to be focused entirely on the screen in front of them. Ideally you’d like that focus to be on you…not on the mountain of dirty laundry you have piled up on your kitchen table or the six overflowing garbage bags from the party last weekend that you forgot to take out.

Or worse, your dog, gleefully scooting his hind end across your carpet. Make sure that you’re not only presenting yourself as a professional, but that you’re doing it in an environment that reflects that.

Set yourself up in an area with good light and a pleasing background. Try to avoid a plain or white background as well as any backgrounds with busy patterns. A home office is always your best bet.

5. Not being focused

Because you’re doing your video interview from home, there’s always the possibility that you won’t be alone while you shoot it. If possible, do your interview in a room where you can shut the door and block out outside noises including children, televisions in the background, or your rump scooting dog.

Try to avoid doing your interview in a busy location like a coffee shop or a café. Above all, make sure you’re paying attention.

An interviewer is going to know the difference between a potential hire who is 100% focused on the conversation and one who is surfing the internet or playing ‘Solitaire’ at the same time.