Having a good presence on video is more important than ever. More job interviewers want to see what you look like before meeting you, making Skype the next best thing.
Even prestigious schools, like Harvard Law School, are using Skype to screen applicants during the application process.
Career coach Barbara Pachter outlines how to conduct yourself on Skype in her latest book “The Essentials Of Business Etiquette.” We pulled out the most important tips to ensure you make it to the face-to-face interview.
1. Test the equipment beforehand.
When it comes to technology, be ready for the unexpected. Start by making sure your Skype connection is working properly ahead of time.
“Five minutes before the start of a meeting is not the time to find out that you do not have any volume,” warns Pachter.
2. Check your surroundings.
Do a trial run ahead of time to see what you look like on your Skype screen, and make sure your location has good lighting. “Be careful if you have a window behind you,” advises Pachter. “If it is bright outside, you will appear as a dark silhouette.” Always aim light at you from the front, not the back. Additionally, clear out any clutter in the background.
3. Try to eliminate possible interruptions.
“Make sure in advance that there will be no phones ringing and no people walking in and out of your room,” says Pachter.
4. Don’t become distracted by your own image.
A lot of people may find the small image of themselves in the corner of the chat window distracting. You don’t want to be looking at yourself instead of the interviewer the entire time. To fix this, change your settings to disable your image showing up or simply cover up your image with a Post-It note.
5. Make sure your clothing is appropriate.
“Just because you are not meeting in person does not mean the interviewer or business associate cannot see what you are wearing,” says Pachter. “And don’t assume only your upper body is showing. Dress professionally from head to toe.”
6. Look at the camera.
Most people look at their computer screen while video chatting, since it’s natural to want to look at the other person’s face while speaking to them. However, this will make you appear to be looking down to your Skype partner. On the other hand, when you look directly at the camera, you will appear to be looking your contact in the eye.
7. Don’t overgesture.
For whatever reason, Pachter says people tend to gesture too much when they are video chatting. This behaviour is extremely distracting when on Skype because the other person can easily focus on your every move. Although this expressiveness may be acceptable in person, it may be too much when you fit it all in one window.
8. Smile often.
Being nervous can sometimes make you appear on video to be ultra-serious. Pachter advises relaxing and letting your personality shine through. You could try putting a Post-It note at the edge of your computer with the words “Smile” or “Relax” to remind yourself.
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