Tips for how to conduct the perfect Skype interview

For hiring managers across the country, the methods of interviewing applicants are rapidly changing. Much of that is due to video conferencing software. These programs have truly changed the way managers select which applicants to bring in. It used to be that if an applicant lived on the other side of the country, you'd have to fly them in, or if they worked a conflicting schedule at another job, you'd have to meet at an inconvenient time. Now, the worker and manager simply need to work out a small block of time where they can speak, and they can do so via their applications, over the internet.

For managers hiring for risk management jobs, accounting jobs, or other sought-after careers in finance, the pool of potential hires comes from across the country. Internet applications like Skype allow you to interview these hires without any attached travel costs. But much like face-to-face interviews, speaking to someone over Skype will require its own etiquette. You can't simply log on and hope for the best – you have to be as well prepared for a videoconferencing interview as you are for one conducted in person. 

Depict the company culture
Everyone feels the urge to overdress for an interview – hiring manager and applicants alike. Yet in a Skype interview, your potential new employee won't have the benefit of seeing what your firm looks like up close and personal. This only makes it more important that you wear the company's culture on your sleeve. Don't over or under-dress for the interview, or you may give off the wrong first impression. Considering the fact that the applicant's only face-to-face encounter with your business is seeing your face on their computer screen, the first impression you give off is possibly more important in a video conference than it is anywhere else. 

And don't be afraid to position yourself in front of the company logo, or better yet, in front of a busy office – use anything that will guide the applicants eyes toward the culture in place at your firm. Think of your videoconferencing setup as a photographic representation of your company – because that's how the person you're interviewing will consider it.

Make sure your connection is up-to-snuff
If you've done Skype interviews before, you're probably used to the hiccups – to the stutters in the connection, to the occasional lag between image and audio, and to dropped connections all together. You no doubt consider it unprofessional when an applicant's Skype feed cuts out in the middle of an interview, so test your internet connection and speed vehemently before the interview – you wouldn't want to make the same mistake. 

Always rely on eye contact
Here's another tip that Skype experts will know: it may seem obvious to stare at the image of your applicant. But to create direct eye contact with the screen – and thus, with the person whom you're interviewing – you'll need to be sure you stare directly into the camera on your computer screen. It may seem silly, but for both parties of an interview, eye contact is crucial toward creating and maintaining a personal connection. 

Regardless of the little differences, treat it like any other interview
There's a number of little tics that go into conducting the perfect Skype interview, but at the end of the day, it's important that you treat a video conference with the same sincerity and single-mindedness you would an in-person interview.  Your goals are still the same: to find out if your applicant is qualified, if they're prepared to work hard, and if they're a perfect fit for your company. So whether you're staring down your applicant, or your computer screen, always remember – never settle until you find the perfect hire.