As much as we'd love to show off the most glamorous, polished aspects of ourselves in a job interview, it doesn't always go down like that. And technology throws a whole other wrench into the situation, as some of us have figured out the hard way.
The Sparknotes version of my own personal Skype interview hell goes a little something like this: The Skype on my computer somehow ended up having the default setting of those little face animations (like an elf or a kitten). I couldn't seem to get rid of this one raccoon face animation that kept popping up any time I used Skype on my computer. When I was Skyping my friend during her semester abroad, we LOLed at this ridiculousness. But then I needed to do a job interview (for my Marie Claire internship, actually*)...and my face was masked by a cartoon raccoon's. The entire time.
Learn from my lessons, people. Prep for your Skyperview the right way, with these helpful tips.
*I am here today at this very internship, so at least we know I redeemed myself.
To avoid the impending destruction of your professional image, follow the cardinal rule of Skype interviews: always log into Skype at least 15 minutes before the interview and check all of your settings (including your profile photo and username—divadancer820 from middle school has got to go) as well as your internet connection. Then, once you ensure that you will actually look like a competent human being, you are ready to start this thing.
They may never know your secret, but for your own sanity, swap out those ratty sweatpants for your favorite pair of jeans, at the very least. The more professional you look, the more professional you'll feel. In terms of makeup, you don't need to go full-on Kardashian contour, but make sure to present yourself in a tidy, work-appropriate way.
Your interview space says as much about you as your appearance does. A blank white wall is essentially dead silence, so pick a well-lit, colored background to represent your vibe. Even a trendy tapestry, perhaps? Most importantly, ditch the Zayn Malik posters and the photographic evidence of your cousin's bachelorette party ASAP.
This should go without saying, but having your phone on is a recipe for distraction for you and your interviewer. And besides, no one—I repeat, no one—wants to be there when your "Hollaback Girl" ringtone goes off. And while we're on the subject of distractions, make sure to get rid of anything else that could go awry out of the room. I know how adorable your dog looks in his pink polka dot sweater today, but he will not help you land this job.
The digital realm makes being personable a bit trickier. Put your best foot forward from the first moment of the interview by looking straight into the camera and not just at the computer screen, smiling when appropriate, and staying engaged with what the interviewer is saying at all times. Oh, and make sure your posture is on point, too. (*Sits up as I write this.*)
You are only human (even if you do look like a nocturnal woodland creature) and your Skype interviewers will understand that, and look past any technical glitches to see what you really have to offer. (Well, to an extent. See: Racoon Faces.)
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Mara is a freelance writer and editor specializing in culture, politics, wellness, and the intersection between them, whose print and digital work has appeared in Marie Claire, Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan, Airbnb Mag, Prevention, and more. She’s a Fordham University graduate who also has a degree in Italian Studies, so naturally she’s always daydreaming about focaccia.
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