SPEAKERS CORNER: Steve Smith – Skype Tips & Tricks

By Beatrice Barone and Pamela Williams
Video conference interviews are becoming more and more popular. Anyone who has ever searched for a job has had either a phone or face-to-face interview, but have you ever had a Skype interview? On October 22, PSGCNJ member Steve Smith presented a “How to Skype” workshop, providing tips and tricks collected from PSGCNJ’s active and members at -large.   
Skype is a free internet application providing audio and video conference services for more than two participants with others with Skype accounts. Additional features are also offered for a fee.
In order to use Skype, you need a PC with a camera and microphone. An external camera can be purchased for about $20.
After ascertaining that you have the appropriate hardware installed, download the software by typing “Skype” into your browser, completing all the browser information, and setting up a profile.
Now you are ready to initiate a Skype session with someone in your Skype Address Book.
Interview preparation: Just like any interview, prepare ahead of time.

  1. Background: (what the interviewer will see behind you) Remove distractions such as views of other rooms, out a window, inappropriate posters or paintings, other video devices, etc.
  2.  Lighting: Illuminate the room and subject (you) appropriately; make sure there are no glares from windows.
  3. Dress: Full business attire as you would for an in person interview. Avoid loud patterns and strong contrasts of color.
  4. Personal presentation:
  • Be aware of your facial gestures.
  • Keep eye contact with the camera.
  • Watch your body gestures. Video quality sampling is not able to keep up with fast movements.

5. Sound: Control sound as best you can by closing the door to your room; closing windows; turning off loud radio or TV; turning off your cell phone; locking pets out of the room.    Explain to your family that you cannot be disturbed.
Practice: Prepare for your Skype interview by doing a few test interviews. Find someone who has Skype and set up a practice interview, focusing on the following:
1) Where to look: Look into the camera.
2)Audio delay: Remember there is an audio delay so make sure the other person has completed their statement before you reply.
3) Have important information at hand: Post reference information/notes needed in front of you (behind the camera).
4) Posture: Sit comfortably in the chair; don’t lean too far into or too far away from the camera.
Problem solving:Note that Skype may be slow due to local internet volume; time of day (when school lets out); holidays (when users have time); etc. Always have a backup plan in case something happens during your Skype session.
1) Have caller’s e-mail address and phone number in front of you.
2) Have another PC available if possible.
3) Have a mobile device on hand to have an audio call if necessary, but remember to put it on mute until you need to use it.   Skype sessions can also be initiated from a Smart Phone.
Skype is introducing new techniques to the existing interviewing process. Here is a PSGCNJ member’s personal experience.
PSGCNJ Member Pamela Williams on Skype:
As the saying goes, timing is everything! My first Skype experience preceded Steve’s presentation and I did not know what to expect from this new experience. I was very nervous; on a scale of one to five, it was a five—very high.
Mine was a recorded interview to be viewed later by the hiring team. I reached out to members of my job search network for advice. They suggested many of the tips shared by Steve.
It was very challenging; because this was a pre–recorded interview, a Human Resources representative was not on the other side of the camera. I was looking at myself through the entire interview process which was very unusual. There was no personal interaction or feedback during the interview.
Another challenge was the two-minute time-limit for answering each of the five questions. I did receive the five questions in advance, which was a good thing. With the ability to prepare in advance, I was able to focus my answers on these questions specifically. It was important that through my PSGCNJ training, I was able to communicate in two minutes or less how my skills could advance the company’s goals and objectives.
Having this experience and being provided with Steve’s Skype Tips & Tricks, I now have another tool in my job search kit.

Leave a Reply