Freelances or remote workers use Skype almost every day not just for communicating with their clients but also for applying for new projects.
While the dynamics of a Skype interview may be different from the usual face-to-face method, it does require as much if not more preparation if one is to achieve success.
Keep in mind that technology plays a big part in the success or failure of a Skype interview, making it necessary to prepare not just yourself, but everything involved in the entire process.
That being said, below are some useful tips that will help ensure a smooth conversation that will make you stand out and eventually, snag that new project you’re targeting.
The problem with working from home is people tend to become too comfortable especially when it comes to video conversations.
You need to keep in mind that you’ll be speaking with a potential client and not a childhood friend so due diligence is required to make you appear more presentable.
That being said, make sure to set up an interview-friendly environment where you will take the call. It really doesn’t matter whether you take it in your home office, your bedroom, or your kitchen.
What’s important is what the interviewer will see right behind you when the interview finally takes place.
Are there inappropriate objects in the background or things that might distract the interviewer? Make sure to keep them out of sight so the potential client’s focus is on you.
You may also want to keep family members or pets from walking in while the interview is in progress. Either let them know in advance or just close the door so you can enjoy some privacy.
As amazing as technology is, it’s important to remember that they’re far from perfect.
Technical glitches can happen in the most inappropriate time and while this is not completely unavoidable, there are things you can do to reduce the chances of them happening.
This is especially true for people who are using Skype for the first time. Days before the interview, make sure to do a test run.
Is the camera working as it should? Does your voice sound clear on the microphone? Is the internet reception good enough in the room where you’ll take the call?
Each of these components can easily ruin your Skype interview in a matter of seconds and the best way to avoid this is to conduct actual tests.
Get a friend or a family member to help you out by having a test call. Run through some test questions and ask them how you appear on camera, how you talk, and if your voice is loud enough and clear.
Do you often look down to read on your notes? Do you often use fillers when explaining something? Let them critique you.
Doing a test run will also give you an idea if your internet is fast enough to support the conversation or if you need to have the interview in another part of your home.
A lot of things can happen during a Skype interview that can go beyond a simple conversation.
There will be times when a client may ask you to send a file or share your screen which shouldn’t be a problem if you know how to use the said features.
If you’re a freelance graphic designer, for example, sending a potential client some samples of your work during the interview may help you impress them enough to land that project.
Sometimes, even simple things like switching from the video to chat mode will come in handy should your connection slow down.
Before the interview, make sure to familiarize yourself with some of these features to avoid disruptions.
As strange as this suggestion might be, this will help ensure that you’re well prepared come the day of the interview.
Record yourself on video while speaking your interview answers out loud so you can get a better idea of how you sound, how you pronounce words, and what your body language looks like while in a conversation.
Is your voice really faint that it’s almost hard to hear? Are you talking too fast? Do you sound like a robot? Is the room well-lit enough for the interviewer to see you?
This will allow you to correct any mistake or shortcoming you unknowingly commit so you can appear and sound better during the actual interview.
It’s almost automatic for interviewers to ask if you have any questions which is also a perfect opportunity for you to show just how interested you are in the project.
You wouldn’t want to waste this opportunity so make sure to prepare your questions by writing them down.
As sharp as you think your memory is, we can’t rely on them in situations like this. It’s always better to give yourself a reminder and the best way to do it is to write them down.
Taking down notes will also keep you from looking down and reading from your CV, thereby helping you maintain eye contact which can score you some added points.
While working from home does come with perks, one disadvantage it has is it tends to make people too comfortable for their own comfort.
Sure, you are getting interviewed at the comfort of your home but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should be too casual.
If you have a Skype interview, make sure to dress professionally just like you would in a face-to-face setup. Be presentable and make sure that your background isn’t too distracting. If you have a home office, have the interview there as much as possible.
Being a video interview, your potential client’s focus will be solely on his or her screen and as one of the candidates, you’d like that focus to be on you.
You wouldn’t want them to focus on the mountain of laundry behind you or the television show playing in the background, wouldn’t you?
While this should all be automatic, sometimes, people aren’t aware of how their background looks like. You can’t afford mistakes like this to take away your thunder.
Visual distraction is just one thing. You also need to pay attention to the noise that may come from your dog’s non-stop barking or your children playing around.
A home office will always be a better option. Lock yourself up, make sure you have good lighting, and you’re good to go.
Now, this may probably be a small thing for some but it’s still important nonetheless to look at your device’s camera instead of the screen.
Keep in mind that even in Skype interviews, eye contact is essential, and looking at the screen will make you appear as if you’re looking in a different direction instead of the interviewer’s face.
Also, make sure that your camera is raised to a level where you’re looking straight at it. Not down or up. You need to get this right because as trivial as it may appear, camera angle matters in a Skype interview.
Just like in face-to-face interviews, punctuality is crucial when it comes to Skype interviews. Always keep in mind that first impressions last and being late even for just a couple of minutes can be a big turn off.
Since technology is a big part of the interview process, make sure to be online at least 10 minutes before the agreed time. And when we say online, it means you’ve got everything you need within reach.
This is important especially if you’re using a low-end device that takes a couple of minutes to boot up or launch the Skype app. You wouldn’t want to keep the client waiting, wouldn’t you?
Setting up earlier will help you make last-minute adjustments because adjusting the camera or the microphone in the middle of the interview is a complete no-no.
It’s been said that it only takes seven seconds to form a first impression which is why it’s crucial that you do everything you can to make those first seven seconds count.
Due diligence goes a long way especially for video interviews because even if you have everything you need right in front of you, there’s still that possibility of things going sideways if you’re unprepared.
The list provided should give you a head start on how to get yourself ready for a Skype interview. By following these simple suggestions, you’ll have the confidence and peace of mind to knock those interviews out of the park and impress your potential clients.
Looking for more information on how to land more freelance gigs? Check out our blog on creating an awesome portfolio for your work.
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