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  • gregory howard

New technology, same rules

Interviews just aren’t what they used to be. No more putting on the Sunday best and waiting in line with 20 other applicants for that one position. With Skype and other programs, one may interview or be interviewed almost anywhere, be it at home, in the airport, or at the local coffee shop.

But don’t substitute a lack of proximity with a lack of attention to detail. Skype or not, you still only get one chance to make a first impression, and if you have to do it while staring into a computer screen, make sure to do it right. So if your big interview is coming up via satellite, don’t forget the following:

- Go ahead and put on your Sunday best, right down to your socks. Research has shown that those who dress up for a interview, even if they happen to be doing it on the phone while sitting in their own kitchen, are more formal, more confident in their responses, tend to get to the point, and are less likely to use slang or ‘familiar’ terms, all of which are duly noted on an interviewer’s checklist. An old adage says to dress for the position you want. Technology has not changed that.

- Check yourself out in a mirror from a number of different angles. This sounds elementary, of course, but remember that the image you send may show more of the mustard spot on your collar than of your $100 haircut.

- Be aware of what is behind you. The last thing you need is a 14-year-old photo bombing your interview. There is a video on the internet that shows a young man being interviewed for what sounded to be a academic position. The interview was going very well for several minutes as the young man followed Rules 1 and 2. But unbeknownst to him, his cat appeared on camera, plopped itself down on the bookshelf behind his head, and proceeded into full-cleaning mode, all within full view, all without the interviewee having a clue. He didn’t get the job, but he got on You Tube. Not much of a consolation prize.

- One hopes that you wouldn’t carry a water bottle or a cup of coffee into a ‘live’ interview; don’t do it here either. Keep food and drinks out of sight and don’t go reaching for a water bottle after every response. It shows a lack of interest and concentration. If you simply must have a sip, make it water only (no coffee, tea, or soda bottles), excuse yourself first, do it quickly and get back to the business at hand. If the interview is a long one, the interviewee certainly won’t mind you taking a sip or two of water, but keep it to a minimum.

Keep in mind that while interviews via Skype may be virtual, the impressions made are not.

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