Megan Johnson of TipsyWriter.com, explains that yes, you really should wear pants to your Skype interview.
First, please tell me what you do?
I’m going to avoid job titles here because those can be boring and tell you what I actually do. My background is in psychology, so I have always been passionate about helping others and making sure that they are able to live the best lives possible. I started TipsyWriter.com as a sort of safe-space where individuals could go to learn about potential skills or tips that would set them up for future success. If I can help even one person achieve their goals, I will feel that I have done my job.
Talk to me about Skype interviews. Are they really so different from other interviews?
I think that Skype interviews have the potential to be way more difficult than an in person interview. Not only are you faced with the difficulties of where to look (do you look into the camera, or at your interviewer on screen?), but also, you are taking what is usually the comfort of your own home and turning it into a professional space. Although you can see your interviewer, that distance that technology creates between you still makes it difficult to really read body language (something that we usually rely on heavily in situations such as interviews.) Not to mention, there’s a lot of thought that has to go into the whole process. You have to make sure your equipment works, everything is neat behind you…when you start thinking about how much effort goes into just this interview, you start realizing that maybe it really is easier just to go meet in-person at an office.
And you have a set of rules for these Skype interviews, right? Please share them.
I think there are a few musts when it comes to Skype interviews:
• Try your best to keep your eyes on the camera. Just as you would try to keep eye contact with your interviewer during an in-person interview, looking into the camera lens during a Skype interview makes your interviewer feel like you are engaged and looking at them.
• Remember to show emotion on your face. We are so used to sitting at our computers, staring at screens with blank expressions on our face. It’s simply habit at this point. During a Skype interview, however, it is absolutely crucial that you keep in mind that someone is watching you from their computer. No need to be over the top, but try not to let your mouth hang open in an unflattering way.
• Write reminders to yourself on sticky notes and place them next to your camera. I read once that someone, in order to remind themselves to keep their eyes on the camera during their interview, placed googly eyes next to their camera. This may be a bit much if you don’t have a problem with remembering to look at the camera, but that space above your screen is a good place to put reminders to yourself since you’ll be looking up there anyway!
• Make sure all of your bells, whistles, and candy wrappers are placed on silent. We all know how rude it is to be in the midst of conversation and suddenly someone’s phone starts blaring an embarrassing jingle. You are especially familiar with this scenario if that phone has ever been yours. It happens, and most of the time people are forgiving. But if you’re trying to make a great impression and land a job, it’s best to turn everything off.
• Wear pants! I really wouldn’t think that this one would need to be mentioned, but one of my favorite things to read online is about those unfortunate candidates who thought they could get away with not wearing pants. I know the term “pants” can be interpreted in many ways, so my advice is to go ahead and wear whatever you would wear to an office. If this is raising more questions than it is answering, then let me clear this up: pajamas are not a smart option.
What other trends in technology would you advise job seekers to prepare for?
We are currently living in a day and age where much of our world is being dictated by the changes taking place within the realm of technology. We are doing ourselves a disservice if we ignore those changes and think that we can sit back and do what we have always done. These days, not only are companies using avenues such as Skype to learn more about potential candidates, but also social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Facebook. Although not all companies will conduct extensive research prior to an interview, candidates should be prepared for their interviewers to know quite a bit about their lives.
Before we go, please share one story of someone who got caught with no pants.
I was recently reading a story written by an interviewer who had conducted a less than impressive candidate interview over Skype. During the interview, they asked the candidate to retrieve something from another room — in other words, the candidate would have to physically get up. When the candidate refused to do as requested, they realized that the candidate was not actually wearing pants and, upon realizing this, the interview was cut off. Instead of waiting around to see how the situation would be handled, they simply ended the interview right there and then. Needless to say, that candidate will not be receiving a call back.