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As the work world changes, so does the nature of the interview. Today, many individuals not only have access to video conferencing technologies such as Skype, but shifting attitudes toward the acceptance of telecommuting mean companies are employing individuals from a wider range of locations. It isn't always the most effective choice to have an expert come in for a face-to-face interview, and while a remote meeting can be convenient for all parties, the differences between such methods and classic interviews mean that IT job seekers should add some new tips and tricks to their arsenal.
Spruce up your room and wardrobe
When using video communications tools, looking one's best goes far beyond clothing. While some applicants may have a home office that would be appropriate for a meeting with hiring managers, others are likely to be reporting from their living rooms or dining rooms. Forbes suggested that before the day of the interview, the IT job aspirant should decide exactly where he or she will be working from and set up the space accordingly. Any inappropriate wall art or items could reflect poorly on the individual if they make it into the picture. Additionally, the background should look neat, as clutter could be distracting for the interviewer.
Wardrobe and grooming also come into play, just as they would with an interview in person. Sherif Hussein, president and creative director of Jinni Communications, told Forbes that since he often works from home, he can avoid getting dressed in work appropriate attire and allow his beard to grow a bit unkempt, but when he's doing professional calls he makes sure to look the part.
But getting ready shouldn't be limited to what the applicant believes will be seen on screen, the source cautioned. If an IT job seeker has to get up to adjust the computer screen or get something out of reach, the supervisor conducting the interview won't want to see pajama bottoms.
James Gould, Skype's global staffing manager, and Skype Staffing Consultant Sean Wilkes pointed out on the company's blog that when it comes to interviewing on camera, looking good takes more consideration than it does in person. Gould noted that patterns can be difficult to render and, as a result, look messy, while Wilkes cautioned that colors can be the enemy.
"A white shirt against a white wall can make you look like a floating head," he explained.
Additionally, it may be wise to look at how news anchors dress while on air, Skype suggested.
Get some privacy
Working from home can be great because it allows individuals to spend more time with loved ones. However, during an interview is not the time for partners, children or pets to get involved. If there's any time to lock oneself away in a separate room, it's the entire duration of the virtual meeting. Gould said that this may be especially important because even if fellow adults know an interview is going on, mistakes are always possible. He recalled a time an applicant's partner suddenly appeared on the screen in their bathrobe. Though this may have been a funny, memorable moment, it also likely threw everyone off track. To stricter managers, it could also look highly unprofessional.
Practice makes perfect
As many IT professionals know, when dealing with technology, there can always be unexpected snafus. Forbes suggested that interviewees conduct a trial run of their video meeting before the big day, which could allow them to catch any potentially awkward or disastrous problems before they happen in real time. And by recording the call, job seekers can make sure they're coming off their best through smiling and knowing where to look for maximum effect. Skype even advised applicants place the window with their own image toward the top of the screen if they're tempted to peek. This way, they can still look at the interviewer while monitoring their own appearance.
Finding the right job
Snagging one's dream job is difficult, but IT staffing firms can help. With the assistance of a seasoned recruiter, IT experts can get connected with opportunities they may not have discovered otherwise. To ensure success even when potential employers are far away, they should remain open to the potential of video communications.