publication date: Nov 7, 2012
author/source: Philippe Gérard
has been used for interviewing for several years now, but it is still uncomfortable
for many, including me. The thought of not being in the same room with the interviewers
is somewhat frightening. It can feel like losing control over the interview
situation. Here are some tips to help you perform at your best
during your Skype interview.
1. This is just the beginning
are mostly conducted as a first step with out-of-town candidates to help decide
whether it is worthwhile to fly the candidate in for further consideration. Remember
that everything will not depend on this one contact - offers are not made on
Skype interviews alone. At the same time you need to perform well enough to
advance to a face-to-face interview in the future.
2. Be prepared
plays tricks on us, so do not leave the preparations to the last minute. Make
sure that your equipment works well before the interview. Check your
speakers, microphone and camera settings. You don't want to find out when
the interview starts that something doesn't work. Skype has a handy test
call feature that you can dial up to check your audio and video settings and
3. Set the stage
If you are doing
your Skype interview outside your professional office, make sure that you are
in a private spot where you can focus and not be interrupted. Make sure all
cell phones or other beeping devices are turned off, that no children, spouses
or other family members can enter your room, and that no dogs or other animals
make noises that can distract or embarrass you. Even if the interview is audio
only, try to focus on the interview task. I have once spoken to a candidate who
I am certain was doing the dishes while talking to me! An interview is not the
ideal time to practice your multi-tasking abilities.
4. Keep it real
Try to think of the
Skype interview like a personal interview and present yourself just as you
would in a face-to-face situation. Dress appropriately for the occasion. Just
because you are not in the same room does not mean you should dress down or
that your demeanour can be more casual.
5. Make a trial run
One of the biggest
challenges I have seen with Skype is managing where to look while you speak.
The natural tendency is to look at the screen, not in the camera. Cameras are
usually located at the top of your screen, while the picture is a bit below. Looking
at the picture on the screen will make you look down and give the impression
that you're avoiding direct eye contact. Try to look into the camera and get
comfortable with it. If you're using a laptop, you can move the laptop and
camera closer to eye level, rather than placing it on a desk that forces you to
6. Just wait!
With Skype the
connection is always a bit of a gamble. Sometimes there is a delay, so speak
clearly and reasonably slowly and allow pauses, especially at the ends of
Skype will not
replace a personal interview in the same place with your potential employer. But
especially if you're exploring an opportunity out of town, a good Skype
interview could be your ticket to a face-to-face interview.
Philippe (Phil) Gérard has
been a fundraising professional for 14 years in the community service,
education and university advancement sectors.
His specialty is major gifts fundraising. An MBA with a human resource
management specialization set him on the exciting path of fundraising talent
He is a director of
advancement with Simon Fraser University.
Phil is also the President of Gérard
Consulting - Fundraising Talent Management and author of Phil's Careers
Blog. His firm helps fundraisers find a great career and organizations find and
retain the next great colleague.