With the economy on the mend, everyone is trying to cut back expenses—including your potential employers and/or graduate committees. Because of this, Skype interviews have become increasingly popular. You’ll want to make sure you present yourself in the best possible light (literally). Here are 10 tips that will ensure you look your best.
- Practice, practice, practice
Like any interview (phone or in-person), anticipate what questions you may get, and practice how you’ll answer them. For Skyping purposes, use your webcam to record yourself answering questions. Sound well-versed yet non-scripted. Practice with a family member or friend over Skype so you’re comfortable talking to another person.
- Do a proper sound check
Make sure that your audio is relatively low (but still audible) and that your microphone is working properly. When you practice with another person, ensure there is no “roaring” feedback noise on their end. If there is feedback noise, adjust your volume settings.
- Do a proper light check
Position yourself with lighting in front of you. This will avoid unsightly shadow effects on your face. If near a window, practice at the same time of day as the interview to see how the natural light affects how you look on camera.
- Webcam placement
The camera should be either eye-level or slightly higher than you. You don’t want, for example, to look like a blogger and put the laptop on your lap. Position your computer on a tall end table or put books underneath your laptop to provide the proper height. Also, your shoulders should be visible so interviewers can judge your body language accordingly.
- Pick the right background
Although your home may not be the most office-like place, you can still situate yourself so that you have a clean, clutter-free background. Avoid placing yourself behind a distracting painting or venetian blinds that can look funny on camera.
- Pick a noise-free setting
Your area should be free of noises and distractions. Put pets, parents, boyfriends, spouses, co-workers, or other distractions away. Also, like with any in-person interview, put your cell-phone on silent! But still make sure it’s by your side and visible in case something happens, and they’ll need to contact you by phone.
- Pick the right outfit
Pick an outfit that you would wear if you were being interviewed in-person. Although it’s tempting to wear your pajama bottoms, dress yourself up from head to toe! You never know what will happen. They may end up seeing your bunny slippers on accident. Also, don’t pick patterns or stripes that might look funny on camera.
- Look into the camera, not at the screen
Although it feels strange staring into the camera lens while you’re conversing, it actually looks like you’re maintaining eye contact with your interviewers. Minimize the window of yourself or put sticky notes over your image in case you get distracted. To maintain “eye contact,” practice what you’re going to say well enough that you don’t need notes.
- Prepare as if you were doing an in-person interview
Treat this interview as if you were actually there in person. Avoid distracting habits (e.g., hair touching, messing with jewelry). For example, if you tend to push your hair out of your face, wear your hair up (or half up). If you tend to mess with your watch, take off your watch.
The interviewers want someone who is genuinely interested and excited about the position. So smile and appear natural on camera. If something goes wrong or they can’t hear you properly, make sure you’re able to laugh it off and roll with the punches. It gives your interviewers a taste of who you are as a person, too.