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Should I wear a suit and tie, jacket and collared shirt, or just a collared shirt for a Skype interview?

Posted by Pattie Hunt Sinacole  December 3, 2012 08:33 AM

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Congratulations on landing a Skype interview! A Skype interview is an interview conducted using a computer. Your computer would need special software (like Skype) to be able to connect with another party and your image would be projected on their computer screen. Additionally, your voice is also transmitted to the other party. This type of interview is often used to save time and money, especially when there is significant distance between a candidate and the companyís location.

An online video interview is just as important as an in-person interview. You should dress as if you were interviewing at the companyís location. You also should dress professionally from head to toe. Often candidates believe they should only dress professionally from the waist up. This is not the case. You might need to stand up to adjust your webcam. You donít want to be worrying about your outfit.

A few other tips for online video phone interviews:

1. Do a technology check before the day of the interview. Test your connection with a friend. Sometimes a slow connection causes awkward pauses and lags in the conversation. You donít want to be concerned about your connectivity during your interview. Exchange phone numbers and contact info before the interview just in case there are any unforeseen glitches. Make sure that you have a phone handy during the planned interview time. Part of your technology check should be testing how an outfit plays on the screen. A loud pattern may be distracting. A bold necklace might cause unnecessary glare.
2. Make sure that your Skype profile is a professional one. Skype requires users to select a user name and a profile photo. Both the user name and the profile photo should be appropriate and professional.
3. Eliminate distractions. Silence your phone. Crate your dog. Make sure that your background is professional and does not include an unmade bed or dirty dishes in your kitchen sink. If you are planning to schedule this interview at work, be careful. A private lockable office would be a good choice for a location.
4. Remember to focus on the camera, not on the image on your computer screen. Practice this before your interview.
5. Prepare! Just like for an in-person interview, prepare! Donít minimize the importance of this interview.


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Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.

Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.

Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.

Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.

Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.

Tracy Cashman is Senior Vice President and Partner of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.

Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.

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