“The more you practice, the more you can, the more you want to, the more you enjoy it, the less it tires you.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls

Practice is the corner stone to perfection. As recruiters are opting to use Skype interviews to screen potential candidates, it is a good opportunity to try something that you have never tried before. It could be challenging in the beginning, but a little practice and soon you will ace that Skype interview on your way to your dream job.

In the US six out of 10 HR managers now use video to interview job applicants, according to a survey. It is still not clear about how many of those six actually get the final call. From our own experience as recruiters and interviewers, here are some common instances that can douse the chances of acing Skype interview.

  • Half-hearted attempt by dressing up in an incomplete formal attire(just the blazer and a short)
  • Munching and sipping in the middle of the interview
  • Trying to make notes while the interview is still in progress
  • Looking at a buzzing phone (biggest conversation killer anywhere)
  • Not looking directly into the camera

If you have a Skype interview scheduled, here are some quick fix tips to take you past the finishing line.

  1. Test Skype performance online

First, do you have a compatible computer/ laptop/ tablet with Skype software in it? If this is your first interview, familiarize yourself with the video tools and the way it works prior to the interview. Download and install it in advance. A mock session with testing in advance will help you understand what it takes to troubleshoot an issue. In case of a trouble, you should be prepared with a backup plan.

  1. Picking your interview venue and time

The best part about Skype interviews is that the interviewer will never judge you from your location. But that does not mean you should conduct the interview from a cafeteria or a crowded lounge. Outdoor venues and the bedroom are also not recommended. Pick a neutral quiet spot.

Set up a bright, well illuminated room at your home or office.  Make sure your device is fully charged to last through the entire session. There’s nothing worse than “Low battery flashing on your screen. If you have the option to choose a time, you should suggest between 10 am and noon. The earlier the fresher you are.

  1. Be prepared for a short session

Unlike a structured face to face interview, Skype sessions for selection are typically shorter in duration. You have to make a positive impression in shorter time. It will test your aptitude for numbers and familiarity with current affairs. Prepare accordingly. An interviewer always looks for the quick answers. Avoid too much wobbling around the same points. They appear as ‘noise’ to the interviewer.

  1. Camera is your ally…

Technology is your ally, and most candidates up for an on-screen interview don’t know how to take advantage of it. The biggest mistake candidates often make in a Skype interview is that they try to make eye-contact with the person on screen. Instead, focus on the camera. Set the angle accordingly and manage the brightness. Avoid sitting in a place where there is a window behind your or for that matter a bright source of light.

  1. …and so is the microphone

Microphone… Should you get a head phone or a Blue Tooth ear piece? To make a good impression in Skype interviews, make sure you can be heard clearly. Go ahead with the microphone after a sample voice test before the interview commences.

  1. Dress up for the occasion

Dress up fully — from top to bottom. Funny as it may sound, interviewers have actually asked candidates to stand up on screen! There will be instances when you might have to make adjustments to your surroundings, pick a project file or switch off a light… or for that instance perform a task away from the screen. Dressing fully implies you are professional and prepared for the tasks ahead.

So the next time you get a request for Skype interview, relax and follow these tips for Skype success.