Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How to Prepare for a Skype Interview

Dress: Theory
Belt: Cole Haan
Earrings: Gift
Shoes: Coach
Today marked my 28th interview. Yes, you read that number correctly. Since I graduated from Hood in May, I've had 28 interviews. To be fair, all of my interviews have not been in-person (which is what many people consider to be an official interview). But to me, every phone and in-person interview counts. However, today was my first Skype interview.

I thought I had seen it all. Like I just mentioned, I am used to brief 20 minute phone interviews. I am accustomed to going in for a follow up in-person interviews; typically consisting of a tour of the facilities and meeting with top executives. At this point, I felt like I could write a book about how to prepare and face any kind of interview with confidence. Little did I know just how different a  Skype interview would be.

First of all, who ever would of thought that we would be doing interviews on our computers with webcams? I guarantee if you would have told this to someone 20 years ago, they would have never believed you. Now, Skype interviews are becoming more common. By using Skype to complete interviews, the company will save money from having to fly out candidates to their headquarters, and will save you the hassle that planning a short trip can take.

To help you guys out, I have compiled a list of some of my best tips for preparing for your Skype interview.

Getting Dressed:

1. Get dressed up just like you were going to a formal interview. Ladies, that means a nice dress, suit, or blouse and skirt. Gentlemen, that means a full suit, or a shirt and tie with pants. Of course, you could get away with being professionally dressed from your chest up. I mean, that's all the interviewer will see, right? While that may be true, only being half dressed-up will not put you in you the right mindset for your interview. Today, I decided on a simple shirt dress. By doing this, I didn't have to worry about finding a bottom piece to match!

2. Pick a solid top with no pattern. Distracting and bold patterns such as stripes, polka dots, and floral prints can be distracting as it is. On camera, these graphic prints can show up fuzzy - not the kind of attention you want. Instead, stick with a bright solid color that brightens up your face. I would recommend blue or cranberry; both of these colors will complement most skin tones. At all costs, avoid black and white. By wearing white, you may look washed out, or you may blind the person on the other side of the screen. If you choose to wear black, the screen will seem overwhelmingly dark.

3. If you don't normally wear make-up, now would be a good time to at least wear a little. I'm not saying you have to give yourself a make-over, but you want your face to be very visible and clear on screen. At the least, I would recommend black mascara and a tinted lip product. Both will go a long way in helping your face pop off the screen.

Arranging Your Setting

1. Pick a room that doesn't show a lot of personality. Of course, your interviewer understands that they are meeting you in your home instead of a corporate setting. However, this does not mean that they will not judge your sloppy childhood bedroom. Your best bet is to set up your computer in a study or living room; a relatively clean and polished setting.

2. Bring up your webcam and see exactly what the camera sees when it's on. If necessary, rearrange the position of your camera so it's not facing the ceiling or looking down your chest.

3. Practice looking directly into the camera. Technically, looking into the camera is the equivalent of looking into the eyes of your interviewer. If you stare at the computer screen, it will appear that you aren't making eye contact. If you're having trouble remembering to look directly into the camera, place a small picture right next to the lens.

4. Make sure you have adequate lighting. If you're in a room with blinds and curtains, arrange them so there is enough lighting hitting your face. If you're in a windowless room, make sure there is a lamp positioned nearby. After you have arranged your lighting, check how it looks when you look into the webcam. You don't want unnecessary glare to distract your interviewer.

5. If you haven't done so already, make sure Skype is ready to go. Double check your username and password, and make sure that you can log-in easily. Be logged into your account at least 15 minutes prior to your interview so your potential employer can add you as a contact.

As always, make sure you have done all the prerequisite research beforehand. Be knowledgeable of whom you will be speaking to, and what their role is within the company. Use Google news to see if there have been any recent press releases, and check the company website for any general information.

In the end, the most important thing to remember is to be yourself. Put on a friendly smile, and be confident in your experiences and talents. Pin It

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