Unless you have been living underneath a rock for the last couple of years, you should know by now that Skype has quickly become the most popular and easy to use, web based video phone service out there. The fact that Microsoft recently acquired Skype for 8.5 billion should give you a sense of how successful the company and their technology are.
Quality can always be somewhat challenging using Skype (pending internet connection), but this free service works very well and allows people across the country and the world to quickly connect via a video call. We use it regularly for our work as now when working on a project where the candidates are not local, we can use Skype to see how our candidates present themselves in person. It’s a great tool and arguably a game charger for us as recruiters, as well as most industries out there that require communication among geographic disparate parties.
So as we adopt this new technology aggressively, it’s come to light that there are some basic things you should keep in mind when using Skype, especially when a new potential employer wants to initiate the interview process that way. Some of this stuff is obvious, but in the recruiting business, missing the obvious happens all the time and in a tough job market, missing the obvious could cost you a job.
#1. Dress the part. I would ask the company you are interviewing with how to dress. Simple as that. A suit may be a bit much, but a dress shirt or shirt and sport coat and something tasteful for women would be appropriate. Business casual would be my recommendation with erring to the side of slightly more conservatively. Remember this is the company’s first chance to see you and you only get one shot to make a positive impression.
#2 Make sure the “scene” is right. Obvious stuff again, but no pinups on the wall behind you and definitely take down your Metallica posters. Tasteful is the theme here and make sure there is nothing offensive that can be seen by your computer’s camera or heard by your computers mic. I would even make the surround seem somewhat professional by sitting at a desk with maybe a plant or something else tasteful behind you.
#3 Check audio and lighting. I would do a test call with a friend or co worker to make sure you are good to go with using Skype and that the audio and video quality are good. You may need to add some simple lighting and or get a separate microphone to make sure you can be seen and heard clearly. The biggest detractor from a Skype call is not having either of those in adequate quality. Again, practicing and testing hear are mission critical.
Again, pretty simple stuff but none the less very important. To that point there are studios popping up all over the country where you can go do make Skype calls with a quality setup and in a professional place. Don’t know if you need to do all that but check your local marketplace to see who offers those services should you need it. Otherwise, test, practice and look the part and you should do just fine.