4 Apr 2012
With an increasing number of first and possibly second round interviews being done through Skype, it’s about time you put your best face and webcam forward. Just like a face to face interview, there is an etiquette to keep in mind when being interviewed on Skype- whether you are the interviewer or the interviewee. Here are a few tips so you can ace that next Skype interview and not look like this is your first rodeo:
- Know and Check Your Technology: Technology isn’t perfect so make sure you have a backup plan when Skype freezes up on you or your buddy tries to IM you a video from last night. The interviewer most likely won’t penalize you for the freeze up, but they will want to see how you respond and how well you can navigate the situation. Before the interview close down any unneeded applications, especially ones that would generate a pop up and then at the beginning of the interview, give yourself some cushion by saying if the screen freezes at any time or you lose connection, you will send them a message via chat to work through the issue. It shows that you are planning ahead and have the foresight they want. Plus you definitely don’t want your possible future employer seeing that video. That’s still illegal in most states.
- Eliminate Distractions: Unlike most interviews, you have the ability to arrange and set the scenery and it will speak volumes to those on the other side of the wire. Remove anything that could be a distraction and does not give you the intelligent, sophisticated and reliable style that you want to convey. Yes, this means that you will have to put away the “Live Nudes” light up sign that you stole from the bar that one night in college and put the dog away preferably in your most soundproof room just in case he sees something out the window. Interviewers rather see you in an nicely decorated and well-lit room than behind a white wall with pin ups reminiscent of a freshman’s college dorm room.
- Keep Eye Contact: If you do not Skype or Facetime often, then you may catch yourself checking yourself out on the the screen during the interview. Just as you would not take a mirror with you to check yourself out during a real interview, don’t do it during a video interview. You’ll appear shifty and distract yourself. To keep the temptation at bay, move the image offscreen or simply minimize it so the only place you look into is the camera and at the other person. People can read a lot about you in your eyes. Keep them where they should be.
- Wear Pants: Even though you don’t know whether Stuart Scott wore pants (I hope so) on this morning’s Sportscenter, that doesn’t mean you have the freedom to let it all hang out during your interview. Wear pants and it will put you in a better mindset when they ask you about your shortcomings…
- Pay Attention to the Details: The devil is always in the details and little things add up with Skype. Make sure you have a strong network connection and plenty of juice in the battery if you are not plugged in. Also, your Skype profile speaks volumes as to who you are. Drop the “BigBallerPimpDaddy81″ handle and opt for something a bit more professional such as firstname.lastname. Also keep your account photo preferably a nice photo of yourself. Timing plays a big role in interviews, especially if your counterpart is overseas. Make sure you know the time zone of the person you are interviewing with just in case.
- Perfect Practice Makes Perfect: Before your interview, do a dress rehearsal. Get dressed just as you would for the real interview, make sure all the settings are correct on your webcam and computer and roll through some basic questions and answers that interviewers generally ask. Pieces you will want to remember are to sit close enough to the computer for your contact so their frame is from your midsection to just slightly above your head and try to wear something that doesn’t blend you into the surroundings. Wear something that properly contrasts with the background so if you’re in front of a light wall, wear a dark-colored shirt or jacket for contrast and vice-versa so you can accurately stand out. And yes, you have to wear pants.
Heed these simple types and folks will be calling you boss in no time.
Photo Credit: Ludovic Bertron