Is your PC running well? Is your internet connection strong? Check whether everything is working well – the last thing you want is to have a signal failure mid-interview with the company of your dreams. It’s worth plugging your PC in via Ethernet to minimize the risk of signal dropping out. If you’re on a laptop, plug in a power cable or make sure it’s fully charged. How about your phone? Is it on silent? A ringing phone mid-interview is a distraction not at all easy to avoid.
Have you ever noticed the slight lag on some Skype calls? That’s usually caused by low signal strength on either end and can lead to awkward moments as each person tries to speak over the other. To help the conversation flow smoothly, wait a bit longer than you usually would before you speak – otherwise your interviewer might not be able to finish their sentence.
It may feel strange staring at that little dot of your webcam, however this will make you come across more engaged with the interviewer. Looking into the camera ensures that person conducting the interview feels like you’re making eye contact. On the flipside, it’s easy to get caught up staring at your own reflection on the screen which can make you seem aloof. If seeing yourself is going to be a distraction, try covering up your image with a sticky note.
The key is to make your home, or wherever you’re conducting the interview appear as professional as possible. That means setting yourself up in a room free of clutter. You don’t want a bunch of family photos or your favorite artwork distracting the interviewer. Keep a clear background to maintain the focus on you. Additionally, test out different lighting options until you find the one that works best. It looks better when you’re facing a light source – if the light is behind you, you’ll be hidden in shadow.
Turning your phone on silent is just the beginning, think about everything else which could distract you during your interview. Shut down internet tabs that might grab your attention and turn off email alerts. If you live with other people, make sure they know not to disturb you, and to be quiet. If you have a noisy pet, move it to another room.
If your Skype username is unprofessional your interview could be off to a bad start from the beginning. Bear in mind that everything you say and do in an interview is being used to build up a picture of who you are, so if you maintain “badboi88” type Skype handle, then set up a separate account for professional use. Also, ensure your profile photo is a professional headshot.
Do you have contact details of your interviewer? These are essential in case of any technological mishaps. An added bonus is that you have an email address to send a polite follow-up and a “thank you” message a few days after your interview. Following the initial interview, ensure all communication with your interviewer is via email and phone. Don’t send a follow-up message via Instant Messaging.