Guest Post: 10 Tips to Shred the Competition in your Skype interview (by Jenny Foss)

Editor’s Note: Before we jump in — for those curious about how the book is doing: sales have gone up and down, but the book is holding steady at #36 in Career Guides (after peaking at #11). I’ll post a more detailed update next week. As for Amazon reviews — we’re at 49 out of my goal of 100…halfway there! If you haven’t left your thoughts yet, please post a review when you get a chance :) Thank you all for an incredible launch!

This is a guest post from Jenny Foss (Jennys FTW!), the firecracker career maven behind, a site that provides job-seekers with practical advice that is relevant to TODAY’S job market and technology. Jenny describes herself as “Your job search BFF and tough love expert on finding career passion.” She just launched her first ebook, To Whom It May Concern: Or, How to Stop Sucking at Your Job Search.

Skype LogoI’m excited to give Jenny the floor today because a lot has changed since I was last out there job-hunting, and these tips are relevant and incredibly helpful for anyone who uses Skype — not just job-seekers (they’ve been great reminders for me as I do book interviews, and are great tips for networking calls via Skype as well).

10 Tips to Shred the Competition in your Skype interview (by Jenny Foss)

You may already know this, but allow me to reiterate: corporate HR has discovered Skype. And they’re using it with increasing frequency to interview candidates. It’s cheaper than flying you in, and it’s more personal than a phone call.

Welcome to your huge advantage in the job search. Do use it accordingly. Even if you’re not job searching, these tips are helpful for any Skype calls you do, including informal interviews and networking.

If you’re competing with older candidates for your dream job, they may very well have the “years’ experience” edge. But if you’re already comfortable using Skype? You really, truly could outshine that senior level candidate if he or she is “green” with this technology.

Of course, you must then make this your mission. Outshine, friend. Outshine.

To ensure this mission is successful, here are 10 tips to help you shred the competition on your next Skype interview:

  1. When confirming the interview, provide your Skype account name. Show the interviewer that you’re comfortable with the technology right from the start. Also, ask if you are to dial them, or if they will call you. No sense starting off on this weird note.
  2. If your Skype name is cutesy or unprofessional, set up another account. And not MadSkillz or HireMaddie. Just your name, please. Or something close to it if yours is already taken.
  3. Practice first. I recognize that this might sound obvious, but you’d be amazed by how many people don’t do it. Dial up a friend, relative or professional mentor and run through a few mock questions. Check the audio levels, make sure the room lighting looks normal
  4. Get the eye contact thing down. This can feel a little strange on Skype, but eye contact is VERY important in an interview. Be sure and look into the webcam a large portion of the time. You’ll be tempted to stare at the screen, because that’s where the interviewer’s image appears. But if you look there the whole time? It will come across that you’re looking down the entire time. Eye contact. A must
  5. Don’t even think about doing it in a coffee shop. Quiet, clean room. Absolutely no environmental hustle and bustle, none.  Oh, and when I say “quiet, clean room?” Assume I mean “quiet, clean room with no weird crap in the background.
  6. Silence any other phone or potentially interrupting technologies before the interview. That’d be your cell phone, your land line and any other audible alerts that could pop up on your computer during the call.
  7. Go professional, but remember you’re probably sitting at home. Some professionals will argue me on this, but I think that, for most positions, it’s unnecessary to get all spiffed out in an “interview suit” for a Skype interview. “Hi, I’m sitting in my apartment in pinstripes. Just a regular old day here.” It just seems odd to me. Absolutely look polished, ironed and professional (and wear pants, for heaven’s sake,) but I say suit is not required (unless, of course, you’re in the running for some big Wall Street or CPA gig, then yes, probably.)
  8. Prepare in the exact same way that you would for a face-to-face interview. Research the company, the industry and the players with whom you’ll be interviewing. Come to the interview with thoughtful questions related to these. Listen. Listen. Listen. And then answer questions calmly and succinctly. Smile. Just like you’d do in person.
  9. Don’t panic if you have a dropped connection. More than likely, the interviewer already knows that this happens sometimes with a Skype call. In the event it happens on your interview? Take a couple of deep breaths and wait for him or her to re-connect. If five minutes passes and he or she doesn’t? Redial.
  10. Say thank you. And do so while you’re looking at that webcam.

Finally: pat yourself on the back when it’s over. Your comfort level with newer technologies like Skype may well help you land the dream job!

Looking for more? Check-out Jenny’s just-released ebook, To Whom It May Concern: Or, How to Stop Sucking at Your Job Search. You can also find Jenny on Twitter @JobJenny.


Note: the e-book links in the post are affiliate links, but I am HIGHLY selective about guest posts and the content I recommend. I only bring you the best because you deserve nothing less!

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Jerry April 7, 2011 at 3:56 pm

It’s funny when you read something like this and say to yourself “Oh man, that’s such a great tip… I wish I had read this BEFORE my Skype interview!” (The part about wearing a suit sitting while sitting in my house… good point, I’m sure I looked a bit stiff!) At any rate, thanks for posting this, and thank you Jenny Foss for giving some thought to this! I look forward to reading more from both of you!


Jenny Foss April 7, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Well, Jerry… if it makes you feel better? The choice to wear a suit for a Skype interview was probably MUCH better than had you announced, “Oh dear, I wore my jammies. What a goof!” 😉

Thanks for the note. Yes, please, follow along with the Jennys!


Avisha NessAiver April 8, 2011 at 12:38 am

Great post Jenny!

I think the hardest of these is definitely the making eye contact one. I usually attempt to look into the webcam as much as possible when talking on Skype, but even so it’s really difficult to train yourself to stare at a little black dot instead of the other person’s face. One way to help though is to shrink the video chat window and move it as close to the top of your screen as you can, so even if your eyes stray a bit it will still look pretty close.


Jenny Foss April 9, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Or you can pretend you’re having a staredown with the little black circle, and that you have no intention on losing! (KIDDING! Don’t stare. It creeps them out, entirely!) :)


doniree April 8, 2011 at 11:37 pm

AH! This could not have been more timely. I’m not interviewing for jobs, but I am starting to DO interviews on Skype with people for one of my clients. I’m new to it and these tips are perfect! One thing I still have yet to discover is the best (or free/inexpensive) recording software/plugins/addons for this. If you/JB have any suggestions on that, I’d appreciate it! :)


Jenny Foss April 9, 2011 at 8:22 pm

I haven’t purchased it yet, but I think a lot of people use IMCapture for Skype ( Jenny B?


jennyblake April 13, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Shoot…I don’t know! Let me know what you decide on though :)


Jenny April 14, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Ooh! Just found this which looks great too:


Emily April 11, 2011 at 11:26 pm

This is my first time stopping by your blog! As a college student I will be job searching within the next few years. With the ways technology is changing brings changes in how society communicates! Even with the interview process! This somewhat surprised me but it is very good to know especially because it may be relevant to me. Thanks for sharing! You have some great tips!


jennyblake April 13, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Welcome Emily!! Thanks so much for taking the time to say hello and leave a comment :) In addition to Jenny’s awesome ebook, you might also get a lot out of Charlie Hoehn’s

Looking forward to keeping in touch!


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