21st-Century Interview Tips: The Skype Interview

Not too long ago, the interview process was fairly straightforward and traditional. Somebody sent a resume or called up their connections, they received an email or phone call to interview, attended the interview, and hopefully got the job. Although getting a job was no easier back then, the interview process is more complicated due to the use of modern technology, and many jobseekers are confused as to how to make the best of the 21st-century interview.


More and more students are being interviewed via Skype. This makes it easier for a conglomerate or nationally based company to prescreen candidates who do not live in the area. This is also useful for the applicant as they don’t have to worry about driving multiple hours to get to an interview or paying for a plane ticket when they might not get the job. However, Skype can become very impersonal very quickly and it’s important to follow certain procedures to make the Skype interviewing process professional yet friendly (READ: “5 Steps to Acing a Job Interview”).

1. Do a mock interview

Even though applicants will not be meeting with the HR team in person, it’s still important that they conduct a traditional mock interview. It’s recommended that job seekers and new graduates ask a friend or family member to Skype with them so that they can deal with any technical difficulties that might occur during the real interview.

2. Appearance

It has always been true that a person should look their best at an interview; Skype job seekers should still wear professional clothing and wear their hair and makeup in a professional style if it applies to them. They should also provide a neutral background setting that will not take away from their personality. For example, students should not conduct a Skype interview in their dorm room or in a local coffee shop because the noises in the background will be an unwelcome distraction. However, if it’s absolutely necessary to conduct an interview in a dorm room or student apartment, the job seeker should provide some sort of background screen or use a neutral wall.

3. Lighting

Bad lighting on Skype can make somebody look 10 years older and overly tired or it can make them seem as though their face is a light bulb. This is something that job seekers of the past didn’t really have to worry about; modern jobseekers should ensure that the lighting is neutral and appropriate for a computer screen.

4. Personality

Computers, by nature, are impersonal however, it’s important for new graduates and job seekers to make sure that their facial expressions and personality can shine through the screen. Students who are used to Skyping with friends and family who live far away are probably familiar with the process. However, students who don’t regularly use Skype should start Skyping with a friend every couple of days so that they become used to their natural facial expressions, smile, and professional demeanor (READ: “Handy Guide to Your Medical School Admissions Interview”).

5. Be prepared

Preparation is not unique to a Skype interview, however it’s very important that interviewees are ready to answer any number of questions in a natural way. There won’t be a real life environment that allows for small talk or to buy them a moment to think of an answer, so it’s more important than ever to know what questions a potential employer might ask, and how to appropriately and genuinely answer.

6. The thank you note

Just because a Skype interview seems more casual, doesn’t mean that the ‘thank you’ rule doesn’t apply. Although many companies take great lengths to hide their company address – to avoid unsolicited mail – it’s very important that the person who interviews and applicant receives a ‘thank you’ of some sort within 24 hours of the interview itself. A handwritten thank you note is always best, but if a postal address is not available a formally written thank you email can be provided (READ: “How to Choose a University”).

In addition to the initial thank you, applicants are advised to call or email the person who interviewed them 3 to 5 days after the interview to ask if they need any more information. Generally, the interviewer doesn’t need more information but this is a polite way of reminding them that you’re still waiting to hear if you got the job.

In short

Although the way people are being interviewed is changing, the overall process hasn’t changed much in the last two decades. Jobseekers still want to make a great impression, be sincere, discuss what they can provide for the company, and also find out what the company can offer them in return. Good luck, jobseekers!

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