General CBF

Easy recipe for a savory Skype interview

Recipe courtesy of Craig Janney

Total Time: 75 minutes
Prep: 30 minutes
Interview: 45 minutes
Yield: In-person interview
Level: Easy


  • Computer w/ power cord
  • Extension cord
  • Small box
  • Smart phone (backup) w/ power cord
  • Lights
  • Notes: resume, sample questions answered (thanks, BWIM), and notes about the church/organization
  • Music stand
  • Chair


Before you begin your Skype interview, allow enough time to prepare your area. Do not overcook yourself by cutting into your prep time. You don’t want the Search Committee to see you sweat before the first question is raised.

Set the stage for your video conference interview in a quiet location without any distracting visuals or sounds. Make sure your Skype studio background is clean and simple.

Your computer should be plugged in. If your power cord is not long enough, use an extension cord. The computer’s camera should be at eye level and no more than an arm’s length away from you. To achieve eye level, place your computer on top of a small box.

Always have a backup plan in case your computer crashes. A smart phone set to silent with a full charge (or plugged in), the Skype app downloaded, and your login information saved is critical.

Good front lighting is important. Avoid harsh back, overhead, or floor lighting. Do not set up your interviewing space with your back to a window. You want soft, natural lighting without shadows on your face.

Equipped with your computer set up, a phone backup, and your lighting just right, it’s time to organize your interview space with your notes. Have on hand – or on your music stand – the following: your printed resume, the sample questions every church/organization asks answered, and your notes about the church and position for which you’re interviewing.

Once you have your #InterviewFlow ready, test the system by sitting in your chair and video calling a friend or family member on Skype to rehearse. Have them ask the first question, “What can you tell us about yourself?” After you’ve answered their question, make sure there is no audio echo or anything else that could divert the interviewer’s attention from you.

You will want to dress for your Skype interview just as you would for an in-person interview, so wear your Sunday best. Now, take a few deep breaths, say a prayer, smile, and get ready for your digital handshake. You’re impressive, so impress ‘em!

Pairs well with:

  • Updated resume
  • Professional outfit
  • Positive tones
  • Confidence
  • Affirmative body language


  • Ladies should wear a go-to professional outfit with preference to solid colors and a statement piece of jewelry. Gentlemen should wear a dark suit (blue is preferred), white shirt, and attractive tie.
  • Your eyes should be about two-thirds of the way to the top of your computer screen.
  • Having trouble looking at the camera rather than the computer screen? Print off a smiley face or your interviewer’s face, cut a hole for the camera as the nose, and tape it to your computer. That way, you have a reference point to direct your eyes.
  • Make sure you close all other programs on your computer before you interview.
  • Immediately following your interview, write a short (2-3 sentences) thank you note emphasizing the point(s) where you and the committee shared resonance. Close your note with genuine enthusiasm and gratitude.

I decided to take a few photos of my Skype studio prior to my interview with CBF.



Here is a sample set-up with lamps, music stand, computer, notes, front lighting, clean background and chair.


This seated view of my Skype set-up includes lights, camera, action!



Craig Janney serves as CBF’s Congregational Reference and Referral Specialist. If you are currently part of a search committee or are seeking a ministerial position and would like to connect with the CBF Reference and Referral program, email Craig at

One thought on “Easy recipe for a savory Skype interview

  1. Thanks so much for this helpful “recipe.” I hope you will pair it with a similar recipe forr committees. I had one Skype interview where i could only see one woman. Another person whom I couldn’t see asked all the questions. At one point the woman I could see left the room for several minutes and I was looking at a blank wall. We all need some help negotiating these new forms of interviewing.

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