How to prepare for a Skype interview

There are loads of reasons that a company might opt for a Skype interview rather than an in-person interview. Perhaps the office is in another city or state, or the job is mostly from home. But whatever the reason for this style of interview, there is no reason that you shouldn’t look and feel your best to give the employer the most genuine representation of who you are as a candidate. This can be tough to do through just your screen, but with a little preparation, you can ace your Skype interview.

What should I wear to my Skype interview?

Your Skype interview should not be treated any differently than an in-person interview. This means that you should follow industry standards, so if you’re applying for a job in fashion, then be your fashionable self. If you are applying for a job in corporate, finance, or tech, then it’s better to err on the side of cautious neutrals and simple jewelry.

As far as color palettes go, white is likely to wash you out while blue picks up beautifully on camera. A simple button-down collared shirt with a blazer is certain to impress for most sectors. Unless your industry seems to call for it, avoid loud colors or prints since these rarely translate well on camera.

Whatever you do, resist the urge to dress nicely from the waist up and wear PJ bottoms or yoga pants underneath. You never know when you’ll need to get up to grab something– a pen, a document. If you stand up and your interviewer sees that you only took the interview half seriously, it will reflect badly on your character.

For hair, I’d say something clean and simple like a ponytail or a low knot. Down is fine too, but try not to pick a style that you’ll be tempted to play with since it’s distracting for the interviewer.  

What makeup should I wear to my Skype interview?

For makeup, I find that I like to apply a bit more blush and eyebrow pencil than usual when I am on Skype so that I look alive. If you don’t ordinarily wear makeup, I would still consider putting on a bit for a Skype interview so that you can look and feel your best.

Now, I know what you’re thinking… Men don’t have to wear makeup on their Skype interview, so why should I? Well, men are less likely to be judged based on their appearance. “He looks tired” evokes images of “he must have worked or partied hard last night!” while “she looks tired” could be more like “wow, she can’t even manage herself when she’s not employed.” It’s horrific, I know. It’s tough out there for a female, but we’re working hard in the world that is, not in the world that should be. It’s easier to fight the good fight from a position of solid employment.  

Where should I conduct my Skype interview?

An interview from your home is preferable to a public location like a coffee shop because it will mitigate distractions, unknown variables, and background noise. From within your home, I would choose somewhere comfortable with a tidy section of your house visible behind you, rather than a white wall. Examples of this include your kitchen table with some of your kitchen behind you or your desk with a bit of your office or bookshelf in view. This will make you seem at ease and comfortable.

It may do well to test the lighting from these different spots, aiming to be close to windows for some natural sun. Make sure that it is bright enough, but not backlit so the interviewer can’t see you.

Also, if you have an unruly pet (as I do), I would arrange for him or her to be away from the home at the time of the interview. My dog always barks when I am on the phone, which would be wholly inappropriate for an interview. If I had a Skype interview set up, I’d have to ask a friend to take him on a walk or watch him for an hour. You know your pet best, but if you think he or she will be annoying, it’s better to nip that problem in the bud.

What preparations should I make for my Skype interview?

Make a test call to a friend so that you can get comfortable with how the software works and make sure that you don’t need to install any updates at the last minute. Your friend can tell you if there is anything strange in the acoustics, lighting or angle of your camera. If you find that you have the weird chin thing happening, you can place a book under your computer to bring your camera closer to eye level. Have a look at yourself in the viewfinder before you place the call to check for any lint, stray hairs, or weird wrinkles in your clothing that may distract you or the interviewer.

I also suggest getting rid of anything unprofessional or incriminating on your computer’s desktop or in the open tabs on your browser. One function of Skype is the ability to do a share screen. If they ask you to show them something, you should be prepared to do so right away.

And finally, one benefit to a Skype interview is that you can make notes for yourself that your interviewer won’t be able to see. Go ahead and print out a copy of your resume and make notes of good answers to any questions they might ask. Just make sure that you don’t stare at them too long or awkwardly. Try to make good eye contact with the camera.

All in all, there is no reason to treat a Skype interview much differently than an in-person interview, for better or for worse. Just prepare well and be your best self, and you’ll be great.

Happy interviewing!

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