How to have an unforgettable Skype interview

Do you have a big Skype interview coming up? You’re not alone; half of the students we surveyed* have participated in a Skype interview. To upgrade your interview from ordinary to unforgettable, our sponsored career expert Maxie McCoy joined us to share her best tips for making a lasting impression with your interviewer “on camera.”

1. Use Skype like a pro

Skype interview tips
“Little things like making sure your Skype username, profile and status are professionally appropriate are often overlooked”, Maxie says. Another way to stand out is to show initiative by creating and sharing a Skype link with your interviewers that allows them to seamlessly join the call—skipping the username exchange.

2. Dress the part (the whole part)

Dress the part - the whole part
In our survey, more than one-fifth of those interviewed dress professionally on the top and casual on the bottom during their interviews. Planning to do this? Not so fast! Dressing professionally from head to toe not only puts you in the right mindset for the interview, it will also help you avoid embarrassing yourself if you need to stand up for any reason during the call.

3. Sharing is caring

Share your resume
Have a copy of your resume, portfolio and cover letter virtually ready in case your interviewer requests it during the call. With Skype, it’s easy to share a file with a simple drag and drop into the chat window. It’s also good to familiarize yourself with screen sharing before the call. Here’s how: Click Call from the Menu Bar and select Share Screens from the drop-down.

4. Cheat a little

Cheat a little
According to Maxie, “so many people, especially new grads, minimize their accomplishments.” To make it easier, we suggest having a sticky note on your laptop near the camera to remind yourself about the top points you want to make. Familiarize yourself with the material so you aren’t reading verbatim, and bold or capitalize key words for at-a-glance reminders.

5. Get a little personal

Get a little personal
“What matters most is how true your interview answers are to you. What you say and how you say it must match up.” So, Maxie suggests using stories to make what you’re saying relatable and memorable. For example, you might talk about a life-defining moment: what it taught you and how it changed your perspective for the better. Practice them before the interview to keep your stories short and on point.

6. Practice on camera

Practice on camera
Become more comfortable on camera by recording yourself answering a few common questions. Play them back to see how your voice, facial expressions and body language are captured on camera. Maxie notes, “The more you get comfortable giving answers and talking about yourself out loud, the better you’ll do. You’ll have a grasp on that language and feel more comfortable. You’ll also be able to tell where your answers don’t feel smooth and can adjust before the call.”

7. Come prepared to “Tell me about yourself”

Come prepared to "Tell me about yourself"
Skip the typical facts like “I went to college in…” and find a unique way to show off your personality. Maxie recommends using your favorite personality assessment as a natural way to talk about your strengths and most stellar personality traits. Some other ideas: “This quote sums up my view on life… ” Or, “My friends would describe me with these three words…”

8. Expect the unexpected

Expect the unexpected
No matter how much you prepare, distractions are bound to come up during your interviews, especially if you’re part of the 1 in 4 students we surveyed that have taken a Skype interview in a restaurant or coffee shop—or the 30 percent who have taken an interview from the bathroom or a conference room at their current job! Imagine what could go wrong and have a backup plan. If your dog barks or a roommate walks into the room, don’t panic! Acknowledge it, calmly apologize and move on. Maxie encourages interviewers to think positively, “Remember that we are all human; keeping your composure when things go wrong is a great way to show the recruiter how you might handle a similar situation in a professional setting.”

Download a cheat sheet with these tips here.

Have other tips or Skype interview experiences you’d like to share? Tweet us @Skype with #dreamjob. Head to office.com/dreamjob for more tips and inspiration from Maxie and Microsoft.

*Online survey conducted by Ipsos. General population sample of college and post-grad-aged males and females, 18-25 years old. June 2016.