The phrase 'Skype Interviews' is pretty self-descriptive - video interviews held over Skype.
Video interviews are usually held by companies that don't have a fixed location, those hiring candidates from different locations, companies looking to cut down on resources, or more recently, companies hiring in the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this blog, we will tell you the nuances of a Skype video interview, and all about how to nail one.
Pre Skype interview tips
Let us begin with Skype interview tips to remember before the interview.
1. Prepare your surroundings
You must pick a place with a neutral background without anything to draw the attention away from you.
Clear out your desk, showpieces, decorations, and other stuff. Keep the area neat and aesthetically pleasing.
Remember: Ensure that there is sufficient lighting.
2. Silent mode
Put your phone and desktop notifications on silent. To minimise disturbances, inform your roommates and family member beforehand.
3. Dress to impress
Your appearance is the first thing the interviewers are going to notice about you, which makes your outfit extremely important.
Dress in sharp formals, like you would for a regular interview.
Remember: Do not limit your formal clothing to the visible half of your body, in case you have to get up for something.
4. Professional Skype profile
Now the first thing to get ready before your Skype interview is your Skype ID (for obvious reasons), and unless you want to give them your personal (and sometimes embarrassing) username, your best bet is to create a Skype profile with a professional username and impersonal profile.
Remember: Do add the interviewer's Skype contact beforehand, unless they ask to add yours first.
5. Prepare a cheat sheet
One of the plus points of Skype interviews is that you can easily refer to a cheat sheet.
It is always useful to keep key points and worthy mentions handy with you during your interview.
Jot down points with reference to the common interview questions, mentionable achievements, details of previous work experience, etc. beforehand.
6. Keep necessary documents ready
Always keep your professional documents within reach such as a copy of your resume, reference list, recommendation letters, ID cards, work-experience certificates, etc.
These may come in handy during the interview.
7. Research the company background
A secret weapon that will help you score that job is being armed with the knowledge of the background of both the company and its employers.
This is important because company overview informs you about the company values and what a company looks for in a potential employee.
Some important things to keep in mind while researching a company are:
- The top players in the organisation
- Major news and ongoings of the company
- The company’s culture, mission, and values
- The client demographic, products, and services
- Interviewer background
- Skills and experience the company is looking for
8. Align skills with the job description
The recruiter always looks to hire someone who has the skills required, which is why he/she puts up a job description.
Go through it well, understand the expectations, and align your answers with them.
9. Prepare a list of questions to ask
Asking the interviewer questions regarding the job, company, work culture, etc. when the opportunity arises will provide you with vital insights.
On the other hand, it will show the recruiter your inquisitive side.
So, prepare a list of important questions to ask the recruiter at the end of the interview.
10. Practice on camera
Practice! Practice! Practice!
The more you practice on camera, the more confidence you will gain.
Ask a friend to do a practice interview with you on Skype. Pretend it is the real thing.
Speak with confidence and answer mock interview questions.
During the Skype interview tips
Here are some tips to follow when you are in the middle of the Skype interview.
11. Camera, not screen
The most fundamental aspect of video calling is to look directly into the camera when speaking, and not the screen.
This is the only way to simulate eye contact over Skype. It is acceptable to look at the screen intermittently though.
12. Body language
The way you carry yourself, your expressions, hand movements, etc. reveal more about you than you know.
Keep in mind to break eye contact every now and then, use hand gestures, keep palms open, breathe evenly, etc.
Remember: Be mindful of all the body language do's and don'ts.
13. Facial expressions
Your face gives away a lot of your thoughts. Ensure to smile warmly every now and then, and maintain a calm and attentive expression at all times.
14. Use headphones
Sometimes you might be in a place where holding such virtual interviews are impossible by using the PC microphone.
Always be wise enough to carry headphones or earphones. They will not only reduce the background noise but will also help both you and the interviewer listen to each other with clarity.
15. Keep it crisp
Keeping your answers concise and clear will convey confidence.
It will also allow the interviewee to direct the flow of the interview.
16. Handle glitches with grace
Sometimes we may encounter glitches that disrupt our virtual interview, such as network problems, technical anomalies, etc.
If this happens, politely apologize for the problem, and try to find a solution to it.
You may ask for the interviewer's permission to call them back once you have fixed the glitch.
17. Keep it professional
Demonstrating professionalism brings you a step closer to being chosen for the position.
Professionalism can be manifested in a variety of ways such as:
- Display thorough knowledge and experience in your field of expertise.
- By being courteous, polite, and exhibiting good manners and etiquette.
- Speaking with confidence and clarity, which includes avoiding the 'umm’s' and 'ahh’s'.
18. Thank the interviewer
A polite 'thank you' at the end of the interview is a must.
After the interview is done, tell the interviewer that it was nice to connect with him, and thank him for his time.
Interview follow-up tips
Here is what you can do after the interview.
19. Analyze the interview
After the conclusion of the interview, immediately jot down all the important questions the interviewer asked you and assess your answers to those questions.
Also, think about the interviewer's responses and counter-questions.
Remember: Make a note of all the points you forgot to mention in your answers.
Doing this will help you prepare better for future interviews.
20. Thank you email
Professional courtesy calls for a thank you email.
There are some major benefits of doing this such as the opportunity to add a link to your online portfolio, or subtly insert important details you might have forgotten to mention during the interview itself.
Furthermore, it shows your professional side to the recruiter.
Remember: Make sure you send the email as soon as possible when your impression is still sharp in the interviewers' mind.
21. Follow-up inquiry
In case the recruiters do not reach out to you within the stipulated time, then there is nothing wrong with sending them an email with your inquiries.
Remember: Keep the tone of the email formal, and write with polite inquisitiveness.
Skype interview don'ts
Avoiding the following things in the Skype interview will help you perform better.
- Don't be late for the interview. Always be ready at least 5 minutes before time.
- Avoid looking at the cheat sheet too often. It reflects poor focus.
- Do not slouch in your seat. Maintain a good posture.
- Try not to fiddle with your equipment and hardware.
- Do not get personal or emotional.
- Avoid using long sentences, unless deemed necessary.
Common Skype interview questions
Below we have discussed some common Skype interview questions and the intention behind these questions.
1. Tell us who you are/ Describe yourself in brief?
The trick in this question is to focus on the word 'brief'. The deal is to not give your complete employment history. Instead, keep it short and simple enough to describe yourself as the perfect fit for the job.
2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Here is another question that makes or breaks your impression to the interviewer. Neither answer in all negative, nor you should say you are perfect. Instead, create a middle ground. Talk about your weaknesses in a way that shows that you are trying to improve upon them.
3. Describe your ideal workplace?
You must prioritize your answer for this one. Plan it out beforehand and think of all the workplace elements you wish to incorporate in your ideal workplace such as cultural influences, peer camaraderie, etc.
4. What is your proudest moment till date?/What is your biggest achievement?
Don’t be shy while answering these questions. Tell them about all your best achievements without sounding like a braggart. Don’t talk about any personal achievement. Keep it professional. Tell them about achievements related to the job.
5. Do you believe in working hard or working smart? Why?
Questions like these are employed to gauge your character. In this specific question, the answer should highlight the importance of both working hard and working smart.
6. How do you deal with unhappy customers/ managers/ colleagues?
With this question, they are trying to determine how well you act under stress and pressure.
7. How would you rate yourself as a leader?
Interviewers ask this question to know how you handle yourself in such roles and gauge your self-confidence.
8. What are your short term/long term goals?
Interviewers ask you this question to see whether you are someone who is motivated and driven in your work and home life.
9. What are your hobbies/passions?
This question is asked to check whether the candidate is a good fit for their workplace culture.
10. Why should we hire you?
With this question the interviewer is giving you the opportunity to put your best self forward, to sell yourself.
While skype interviews might seem unconventional and out of the ordinary, one must consider the perks it brings along with.
It saves you both time and effort, not to mention the glaring lack of a need to travel long distances.
Best of Luck!