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Remote control: how to be great in a Skype interview

Being interviewed for a job over Skype is a growing phenomenon. So what are the do’s and don’ts?

Do you look OK? Have you rehearsed your answers? Have you anticipated a few curve ball questions? Will you remember to look them in the eye, not at your left knee? Will you remember not to say “um”, ever? Have you got a couple of questions ready to throw at them?

Job interviews are an ordeal in anyone’s book. But if you’ve got as far as the interview at least it means you have most likely successfully made it through the gamut of Google and social media checks.

So you’d better be as good as you can be on the day.

But what if this is a different kind of interview? What if you are not in the same room? You are 100, 1000, 10,000 kilometres away and being interviewed over the internet on Skype?

Meeting Online

The rules are different online and you’d better be across them. With the increasing availability of fast internet speeds over the nbn™ network, online video interviewing is less likely to be disrupted by poor connections, lag or drop outs.*

Skype interviews are essential for some employers and employees, where distance or circumstance allow no alternative, other than a letter or email.

Christian Miran, Human Resources Manager at Seek, says Skype interviews “are definitely on the rise” and some employers even expect a video element in a candidate’s resume.

“It’s more prevalent in sales and where you need to present yourself but I don’t think it will ever replace the face-to-face meeting for the final selection meeting, although I think nbn ...will definitely help... deliver better video conferencing.”

The Do’s and Don’ts

When it comes to the Skype interview, no-one should have better knowledge than Skype executive Angie Hill, who told ABC News in the US this month about some of the do's and don'ts, including: "I'll see open closets and things hanging out. I still feel like, 'Shut the closet!'"

She talks about “setting the stage”, being careful about lighting, and being aware that first impressions count.

Her colleagues at Skype, James Gould, Skype’s Global Staffing Manager, and Staffing Consultant Sean Wilkes “literally wrote the manual for how Skype’s own employees are to conduct hiring interviews over Skype,” says Skype blogger Jennifer Caukin.

They advise:
- Practising what you will say and how you come across
- Studying your timing
- Carefully considering what you wear
- Stage-managing your props (so you don’t have a flower vase appearing to come out of your head or other distractions)

There’s also this key bit of advice about camera angles from Sean Wilkes.

“During a Skype call, you can move the image of yourself around the screen. We’re all self-conscious during an interview and are tempted to look at ourselves. Move your picture to the top corner of the screen, where it’s closest to the camera lens,” he says.

Bloomberg has some tips on what not to do during a Skype interview, such as:
- Avoid wardrobe malfunctions
- Be up front about your internet speed (eg if you are not fortunate enough to have fast broadband speeds such as those available over the nbn™ network)

The Guardian also has some good advice for candidates facing a Skype interview, including body language.

Tracy Johnson, founder of Brainbox Consulting, advises: “You need to develop a rapport with the interviewer as quickly as possible. Think about your non-verbal communication: make lots of eye contact, smile and sit up straight. Roll your shoulders back and down so that you have good posture, open your chest and speak clearly."

There’s plenty of advice available on how to dress for a Skype interview, but don’t assume you always have to dress up, as this cautionary tale demonstrates about a candidate not looking “jungle chic enough”.

But take heart from “Automated Recruiting and the Human Factor, a Manpower Solutions White Paper published in December last year.

It found: “Technology will never replace people. It is human involvement in the recruiting process that will make the difference.”


* Your experience including the speeds actually achieved over the nbn™ network depends on the technology over which services are delivered to your premises and some factors outside our control like your equipment quality, software, broadband plans and how your service provider designs its network.


Check your address to find out when the nbn™ network is available at your home or business.

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