As seen on BusinessTips.com
This year, I was awarded a promotions recruiting assignment for a Fortune 500 company to help find marketing reps for their car share program in Boston. Since I’ve interviewed hundreds of candidates over the last 13 years for brands like Comcast and CBS, it seemed easy to do, except for one caveat – most of my recruiting had to be done via Skype and not in person.
Having to go online to research someone’s background and variety of social profiles gives a recruiter an opportunity to see what a candidate’s personal brand is really about – and the ability to not just rely on testimonials from past employers and an ‘above the waist ‘ interview, playing nice for the video camera.
That said, I’d like to share my thoughts for preparing for an online interview using common sense and social media savvy.
5 Tips to Remember Before a Skype Interview
1) Just because you’re not interviewing in person, doesn’t mean you should cut corners. Think about who you’re talking to and take more than five minutes to find out their role in the company. Are they the VP of Marketing, a National Sales Director or a HR Manager who may be overworked, underpaid and generally sporting a bad disposition? A few minutes on Google or social media may give you a big ‘heads up’ on their attitude and mindset. This kind of intelligence in my work is mandatory and especially helpful if you’re intuitive. Information in hand is always a plus.
2) Think about the profile picture you’ll use as your icon. Like Facebook or LinkedIn, most social media profiles have an opportunity to present your image, real or not. Men, please don’t take a selfie of yourself without a shirt and use it as a profile picture, or ladies – in an outfit you’d wear to the beach. I had to interview a candidate last minute for an important sales position via Skype and it was difficult to take him seriously staring at his half naked body icon before the call. I wondered what kind of judgment he had to represent himself that way. Lucky, in real time on camera he showed up in a shirt and tie. Phew!
3) Be mindful of the videos you share on social media. It’s fine to share funny videos from YouTube and other sites, but when you’re looking for a job, consider deleting videos that are degrading or off-color. Politically correct still applies in Corporate America, and although we all may joke in private, beware of what you’re sharing in the public’s eye. Remember that a company is looking to you as their next Brand Ambassador and if you’re ranking on society in any way, you’ll lose rank in the hiring process. Mindful does matter and the Delete Button can be your friend.
4) Consider deleting personal comments that would make your mother blush. I had the privilege recently of checking out a highly recommended referral for a full-time marketing job only to see his twitter feed filled with inappropriate comments and profanity. Sadly, this wasn’t the image my Fortune 100 client was looking for to represent their company. Sadly, he didn’t get the job. Professional does count – online, all the time.
5) Be light, bright and polite. Be as gracious online as offline, even if you don’t agree with a concept or comment. It’s ok to share your voice, but there’s always a right way to do it, especially on an interview. If something negative comes up, learn to say thank you for the feedback. As a recruiter, employer, and entrepreneur, I want gracious people on my team. It’s easy to pass someone by who isn’t.
Start positioning yourself now as a top candidate for the job, internship or alliance you’re looking for – whether or not you’ll be using Skype.
Remember, you are your brand wherever you go.
What are your favorite tips for a smooth and easy presentation or interview on Skype?
Is there a favorite background you prefer, or lighting?
How much time do you allow for technology and signing in? And, what happens if Skype ‘goes wrong’?