Lights, Camera, You – Preparing for a Skype or FaceTime Interview

We’ve covered this topic before (see the original here), but it bears both repeating and updating, because we see a lot of candidates still getting it wrong when they’re interviewed via Skype or FaceTime. Some tips to best present yourself in a video environment: 

It’s still an interview. Dress as though you’re being interviewed in person: business attire for women, shirt and tie for men. You may have the luxury of hanging around the house in your old college sweatshirt while you look for your next engagement, but don’t think you can get away with that in an interview situation. Ditto for your golf/polo shirt, even if you think the interviewing company is a casual environment. It’s better to overdress than underdress.

Background check. That Megadeth poster on your bedroom wall? Your collection of Star Trek figurines? Your interviewer doesn’t need to know about those. Choose a space with a simple, non-distracting background.

Lighting. Your tree-lined backyard might be a great backdrop for your interview, but if the light coming in the window behind you puts you in silhouette you’ll look like you’re in a witness-protection program. Make sure your interviewer can see your face clearly.

Video has sound. Be aware of ambient noise … put the barking dog outside, and run the dishwasher later. Arrange child care if necessary. Allow your interviewer to concentrate on what you say and not on all the other activity in your home.

All the angles. Maintain a confident, upright posture even if you’re in your favorite chair. And arrange your webcam so it’s looking right at you, not up and not down. Because if you’re looking down at your camera, you’re looking down at your interviewer.

Give all of this some thought as it applies to your own environment, then do a dry run with a friend beforehand, ideally at about the same time of day as your interview (because of the lighting).

Many make the mistake of handling these sessions too casually, so a little bit of forethought can give you a big leg up on other applicants.