For some reason, many tech users tend to separate “reality” from what’s on their computer screen. We’re bolder people online, hiding behind text conversations, artsy profile pictures, and creative (and also sometimes off-color) user names. While Skype interviews do not necessarily provide anything for the user to hide behind seeing that everything is practically face-to-face, it’s important to establish that everything you are doing is real.
You are speaking to a real person about a real job with the potential to provide for your real livelihood. Take it seriously, and don’t associate the virtual interview with being part of the virtual world. Below are just a few tips on how to do just that.
When using the computer, we tend to care less about our looks. Half of the articles I write here on MakeUseOf typically don’t require me to even wear pants (and that’s when I’m writing at the local coffee shop). I recommend dressing nice for your interview, but at the same time, recognize that Skype is just a bit informal. Others will definitely disagree with me on this, but I believe that a webcam interview provides just enough of a social barrier for things to be a bit more relaxed than your standard in-office job interview.
Don’t accept this as an excuse to wear your Metallica t-shirt, though. I’d recommend wearing business casual, and consider the fact that cameras do not always reproduce their subjects in the most flattering way. Check out our tips on How To Look Good On a Webcam to satiate your inner diva.
Pick A Decent Location
Locations are important for Skype interviews since your potential employer is able to take a look into your world from afar. With that said, don’t have your interview while laying down in bed, don’t have your interview in the living room while the TV is on, and don’t have your interview in a busy coffee shop where a pantless writer is escorted from the premises typically every other weekday at 2:47pm.
If you have a home office, then this is your best bet. Rooms such as these are usually quiet, built for business purposes anyway, and can provide a more professional look for your interview. If you have to use your living room, try to sit on a stool or a stiff chair for better posture, and if possible, I’d even recommend your dining room. Dining rooms are typically designed for a social experience, so this may be the next best place to hold your interview. Furthermore, make sure everything is clean. You are practically welcoming a guest into your home, so act like it.
Don’t Use Wireless
WiFi, as we all know, always has the possibility of going out. The router could simply die, your WiFi receiver could screw up, or the house could simply get overloaded with too many devices. You also may have a spotty ISP.
If possible, go wired and hook things up via ethernet. I know that some of the locations I suggested above may not be the most accessible for ethernet, but if you look hard enough, you may be able to borrow a cord or purchase one. Things happen, so you will want to be prepared.
Have A Backup
Let’s say your Internet does go out. This is a new obstacle for job interviews that really does not have a professional etiquette solution, yet. I’d liken it to getting a flat tire or having an accident on the way to your interview, so if your potential employer has any mercy in him or her, you should be fine.
With that said, make sure you have some form of backup. In case of such an emergency, provide a phone number that the potential employer can contact you at or acquire one that you can call, and make sure you handle this prior to the interview. You could either continue the interview over the phone or reschedule for a time when the Internet has returned.
Check Your User Name
Last but not least, check your username. It’s just like changing your email address to something more professional before you stick it on your resumé, so don’t let this go unreviewed. No one wants to interview someone with a username like hotstuf76xox. I mean, maybe they do. But that’s probably for another occupation altogether.
Just do yourself a favor and make a Skype account for professional purposes. Associate it with your professional email address, website, and LinkedIn account.
The world is changing everyday, and while the reason for a job interview may stay the same, the means simply won’t. Here at MakeUseOf, we are always trying to do our best to help you compete out there in this tech-fueled world.
What other tips can you suggest for Skype interviews? Have you ever had a job interview via Skype? Tell us about your experience!