What’s the Deal with Skype and Phone Interviews?

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By Marcie Waters

Skype and phone interviews are becoming more common as a recruiting tool for employers. They are more cost efficient,  as they cut down on travel costs, and are convenient for potential employees looking to relocate. When I studied abroad last spring, I completed multiple Skype interviews as I looked for a summer internship. Here are some tips that I found helpful in succeeding in a Skype interview:

  • Set up Skype. Make sure you have an appropriate Skype username. If you have never used Skype before, do a test call with a friend so you can get a handle on the different functions.
  • Prepare a Location. Find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted to conduct the interview. Make sure there is sufficient lighting in the space, so the interviewer can clearly see you, and that there is nothing distracting or inappropriate in the space behind you. Avoid sitting in front of a window.
  • Dress professionally. Even though you are not in the same room, professional appearance is important. Darker colors look better on camera, while bright colors and busy patterns can be distracting.
  • Make Eye Contact. During the interview, it can be easy to look away from the camera. Try to maintain eye contact as much as possible to avoid looking disinterested. Remember to smile!

I usually log onto Skype 5-10 minutes before the interview is scheduled to make sure I am prepared for the interviewer to call me. This also gives me an extra second to take a deep breath, so I am not feeling rushed or nervous when they call.

These tips are largely applicable to a phone interview as well. While phone interviews can feel awkward and impersonal to some, they do hold one great advantage. Because the interviewer cannot see you, you can keep notes in front of you. Prepare answers to common interview questions and have a copy of your resume to reference during the interview. Just avoid reading them word-for-word, so your answers sound genuine. Also avoid shuffling through papers during the interview; the sound can be distracting to the interviewer. Additionally, hanging up can be awkward. Have a closing line prepared, and make sure to thank the interviewer before hanging up.

Aside from the different means of communication, Skype and telephone interviews are the same as a traditional, in-person interview. You can refer to LSCS handouts here for tips on answering questions and talking to interviewers.

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