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Dressing for Success
Skype is a great tool for conducting virtual face-to-face meetings and interviews, particularly if you’re a working mother interviewing from home or conducting a long-distance interview. The interaction allows you to get a personal feel for the other party without being physically in the same place. Although it’s somewhat informal compared to an in-person interview, professional presentation is important, including how you look and dress. In addition, you should consider the backdrop of the space where you conduct your interview.
Just as important as how you dress is where you set up your computer or laptop to participate in the Skype interview. You’ll want to ensure everything is in working order before your interview time, such as checking the interviewer’s Skype number and even doing a test run with a friend. Position yourself against a neutral-colored wall or backdrop with nothing distracting in the background. Avoid mirrors, windows or distracting elements that might draw attention away from you. Make sure you’re positioned in front of the camera in a way that doesn’t leave too much or too little head space. You want to be framed as if you’re in a picture, so you look as if you’re speaking one-on-one with the other party.
If you’re conducting your Skype interview from home, make sure your location is free of distractions and disruptions, including children, pets and other common household noises.
What to Wear
Dress for your Skype interview as you would for an in-person interview. This means wearing professional business attire such as a dress shirt and jacket, dressy blouse or dress with a classic cut—nothing too tight or cleavage-revealing. Even though, theoretically, you won’t be seen from the waist down, fully dress from head-to-toe anyway. It will make you feel as though you’re in a business setting in a business state of mind and not simply talking to someone via video chat from your spare bedroom. Do your hair and makeup as you normally would for an interview, and accessorize in a classic fashion—nothing too big or flashy.
Starting and Stopping
Position yourself in front of your video camera a few minutes before the interview starts so can avoid awkwardly repositioning after you’re connected. A few other tips for making your interview a winner include:
- When you speak, look into the camera, not at the screen, to give the impression of being eye-to-eye.
- Speak and enunciate clearly to make the best impression.
- When the interview is complete, allow the interviewer to sign off before you click a button or close your laptop.
- If you experience any type of technical difficulties, attempt to call back.
Try to be as natural as possible in your Skype interview. It’s fine to gesture and be animated as long as you aren’t moving in and out of the frame in a distracting way.
Just as you would in a traditional in-person interview, follow up your Skype interview with a letter of thanks to the interviewer. Reiterate your interest in the job, mention any topics you didn’t get a chance to address, and offer to answer any questions not fully covered during your conversation. If you don’t hear back within a week, reach out and touch base again to let them know you’re still interested in joining the team.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.