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Etiquette lesson: Tips on how to handle a video job interview

Friday, August 30, 2013 - 9:25 am

Q. Karen, I have a couple of interviews that will take place over a Skype call and wonder what guidelines I should follow. I want to make a good impression in hopes that it will lead to an “in person” interview.

A. More and more business is taking place via video conferencing, FaceTime and Skype. It is important to know some of the rules ahead of time to make the best impression.

Test out the equipment before your scheduled meeting. If you have never used Skype or some of the modes of communication, try it out with a friend or colleague beforehand to make sure you understand all the features. You will also get an idea of how you sound and look in a practice run. Check the equipment 15 minutes ahead of time on the day of your interview to make sure everything is working.

Dress the part. Dress from top to bottom as if you are going to an “in person” interview. You will look better, and research tells us that being professionally dressed impacts our performance. No pajama bottoms and fluffy slippers for the call.

Check your background and surrounding area. Choose an area to take the call that has a pleasing and uncluttered background. If it is at your desk, make sure your desk is cleared of piles that can distract and take away from how you will be perceived by the interviewer.

Pay attention to lighting. Make sure you have your face well lit from the front, and avoid too much background lighting that will cause you to look as if you are in a shadow.

Watch your body language. You want to appear comfortable, but confident, so sit up straight and adjust your camera so it gets your head and trunk, not just your head. Look at the camera and not the screen. Looking at the screen, which is tempting, makes you look as if you are looking down instead of making eye contact with the caller.

Follow up after the call. Just as you would for an in-person interview, send a handwritten thank-you note to everyone involved in the interview.

Karen Hickman is a local certified etiquette/protocol consultant and owner of Professional Courtesy. Do you have a question for her? Email features@news- sentinel.com, and we’ll forward it to her.