Last Updated Mar 9, 2011 6:45 PM EST
Recently I read an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education about the experiences of a professor who participated in three job interviews via Skype. I wanted to pass along some advice he offered after the experience, as well as other tips for conducting an online job interview or business conversation via Skype.
6 Skype Interview Tips
1. Make eye contact.During in-person interviews, it's a no brainer to make eye contact, but it's harder to do on Skype. To make eye contact on Skype, you need to look into the camera on your computer - not on the image of the person on the screen. You'll want to adjust your camera so it's ateye level.
2. Create a new Skype account.Create an account that isn't cutesy or crass like vegasguy. Stick with your name and, if that's already taken, add some numbers to it. Make sure the photo icon that you use with your account looks professional.
3. Understand the technology.Make sure you understand how Skype works before an interview. That includes being able to share links, files and photos, as well as instant messaging. Practice before the big interview.
Even if you think you've mastered Skype, the free video chat service is always updating its software. I've used Skype for a long time, but when I was ready to call someone recently, I realized that the interface looked different and I hadn't built in time for this aggravation.
4. Practice.Practice a call with a friend and pay attention to how you look on camera. Good lighting is important. Also check how you are sitting. It's often not flattering to sit squarely in front of the camera. Try positioning your body slightly to the left or right and then swivel your head back. That's what professional photographers instruct their clients to do.
5. Clean the room.The interviewer isn't just going to get a good look at you. She'll notice whether your office is a pigsty. Whenever I Skype someone -- unless it's one of my brothers or sisters -- I make sure my office looks clean. That means dumping my piles of papers, newspapers and the box of dog biscuits out of camera range.
6. Keep the room quiet.Turn off your office phone and cell phone and keep dogs and cats out of the room.
Lynn O'Shaughnessy is author of The College Solution and she also writes a college blog for CBSMoneyWatch.
Skype image by seychelles88. CC 2.0.