It's a modern world we live in and nothing is quite as it once was. Take job interviews, for example. Whereas you used to get dressed in your best suit, nervously attend a meeting, at the company that you were hoping to work for, nowadays it is far more common to have an interview over Skype. Thanks Internet; you've made life a lot more convenient!
Don't let the seeming informality of a Skype interview lull you into a false sense of confidence or a casual approach, however, as how you present yourself, even over a monitor, is still vitally important. We have compiled a comprehensive checklist for you, so that you can be sure that the image you are putting forward is that of someone keen, professional and most importantly, HIRED!
If there is one thing that a potential employer does not want to see, it's huge collections of personal belongings behind, alongside or in front of you, when you e-meet them for the first time. Don't think of a Skype interview as something that can be casual; you need to adapt your normal working space to be one that doesn't detract attention or allude to any interests, hobbies or even friends, that may make you an unsuitable candidate.
We think it's best to opt for a classic feel, so take some inspiration from this beautifully plain, yet elegant and chic office from RSRG Architects and you won't go wrong!
If you have a choice between a dark grey and a lime green wall, there shouldn't even be a small part of you that considers the green! You might think it makes you seem fun and dynamic, but in reality, employers, regardless of industry, are looking for the right person, not the funkiest accessories!
Try to conduct your Skype interview in front of a neutral wall; we think greys, white and anything of a beige hue will be just about perfect. From here, you can let your skills and personality do all the talking. Put it this way, if you can talk in front of a grey wall and seem energetic and qualified, who wouldn't hire you?
You might think that removing all your action figures (please say it's not just us that has the full Star Wars cast on their desk!) will be enough to create an ordered background and that having bookshelves in the frame actually lends a sense of seriousness that employers will be looking for, but in reality, this could be distracting. What if they are too busy trying to decipher the type of tomes that you enjoy and miss something pertinent that you have to say? Your Skype interview will be a washout!
Keep your office feeling geared towards professionalism and expertise and your interviewers will be hanging on your every word, not trying to figure out what is behind you!
This isn't as silly as it might sound, so bear with us! Whether you have a webcam built into your computer or one that you attach separately, you need to make sure that you have adequate lighting in place and have found a flattering angle ahead of your Skype interview. We suggest that you have a trial run and ask a friend or family member to have a Skype conversation with you, so they can tell you how you are coming across. You can even ask them to take some screenshots, so you can tweak your seat height and camera angle accordingly.
Don't think of this as vain, instead, see it as the ultimate in preparation. If you are serious about wanting a certain job, you need to do everything possible to stay ahead of your competition, including choosing your angles carefully!
Getting the balance right with lighting can be tricky, but once you know how you want to come across in your Skype interview, it's a simple case of playing with different lamps and bulbs until you're happy.
For a role that will involve you needing to be compassionate and approachable person, non-direct, soft, side lighting will be best, as this will give the impression of cosiness and sweetness, whereas if you are applying for something a little more authoritative, you can afford to be a little more harsh with your illumination. Whatever role you are keen to secure, remember that people will want to get a sense of who you are and to do that, they will want to know that they can see your eyes properly, so if you wear glasses, be sure to adjust your lighting so it isn't obscuring the view!
Depending on your webcam set up, your interviewers may not be able to see the table that you are sat at, but it will still have an impact on the way you present yourself and your posture. With this in mind, we suggest that you opt for a desk or table that makes you feel assertive and in control, with a chair that you can adjust the height of, to be sure that you are proportionally appropriate. Imagine how silly you would look behind a tall table, on a short chair!
A Skype interview should make you feel a little more in control; it's more on your terms and offers you greater freedom to be yourself, but don't forget to use some clever posture and furniture tricks to impress your future boss!
If this tip isn't obvious, then we don't think we can help you after all! Only kidding, but you get our point. Don't think of a Skype interview as an excuse to 'slacken off' on the effort front as you will still need to dress smartly, be well groomed and show that you are able to make good decisions autonomously. Even if your interviewers are casually dressed, at least you will have made a discernible effort to impress and that can go a very long way in the modern business world!
If you are still feeling office-minded, take a look at this Ideabook: Your Simple Guide To Better Home Office Productivity! We think you'll love some of our suggestions for creating a harmonious work space!