Studio for experimental storytelling.

Skype Interview Tips

Skype enables an accelerated video production process free of traditional material and geophysical constraints. Photo collage by KS12.

In the last year, we’ve been making increasingly frequent use of Skype to conduct video interviews. Skype is a great tool to reach out to a broader range of participants in an interview-based process, allowing contact with people all over the world. Not only does it save on costs (travel, accommodations, etc) it means even smaller projects can have global reach in sourcing their content. Here are some tips we’ve found useful to pass on to interviewees when using Skype in a production:

  • wear headphones (earbuds preferred — they allow us a better view of your beautiful head!)
  • look directly into your webcam when answering interview questions
  • speak loudly enough for your webcam microphone to hear you (don’t worry, we’ll do a sound check)
  • make sure the room you’re in for the interview has plenty of light sources (good examples: ceiling lamps, desk lamps, big windows (if it’s daytime when we interview you)
  • reduce the background noise in the room as much as possible (some tips: close the windows, turn off the heater/air conditioning/refrigerator, turn off unnecessary large harddrives with noisy fans, play no music)
  • reduce the potential for noisy interruptions (put your cellphone on silent, leave your cat/dog/pet potbelly pig/screaming toddler in the other room, close the door and put a sign on it which says “quiet: recording in progress”)
  • close the other programs you have running on your computer (this will save processor power for Skype as well as reduce distractions from systems sounds triggered by new emails, incoming tweets, etc)
  • choose a background for your video image that is neutral — no posters, mirrors, other video monitors — preferably a blank wall, a bookcase, a couch; something authentic to you but not distracting.
  • adjust your webcam so it’s approximately at your eye level
  • use the most stable web connection you can for the interview; if you have to use WiFi try to be in a strong signal sweet spot
  • log on to Skype early — sometimes there are technical difficulties initially connecting.

Have you shot any Skype video interviews lately you think we should see?


2 Responses to Skype Interview Tips

  1. Liz says:

    Hi there,

    Thanks for the tips. Just wondering if there is any thoughts on what to prepare for skype interview as a designer? I wasn’t sure if I should prepare a pdf copy of the a3 portfolio I always bring to interviews.

    Thanks for your time.

    -Liz

    • Gabriel says:

      Hi Liz, glad you enjoyed the article. Seems to me that preparing a PDF portfolio would be a good idea if you’re doing an interview for a job over Skype. You may want to consider formatting your portfolio for the screen, as a PDF which is formatted A3 for print may well be larger than necessary and therefore slow down the transfer speed over Skype to your interviewer.

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