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Technology is changing our world, especially the world of career management.

When I formed JohnMarch Partners, Inc. in 1994, the wily world of the world wide web and the information super highway were still relatively new concepts for most small and medium-sized businesses.  I remember that my firm was the only corporation in Tyler, TX that was using Miscrosoft’s Outlook and the local internet provider did not know how to support it. They knew Outlook Express but not the more complex Outlook.   We became a technical support resource for the ISP.

Salestelco mit Skype Videoconference auf SmartTVVideoconferencing was available at many KINKO locations, and some enterprising recruiters like my team were experimenting with its use.  Facsimile transmissions were still an important tool for recruiters since dial-up connections, which the vast ajority of people relied on, were not conducive to the transmission of large document files.  Recruiters regularly received piles of snail mail letters from outplacement consultants touting the strengths of one of their newest out-of-work executives (far too many of these letters looked identical in terms of paper and content).

How times have changed.  Faxing a resume is now ancient history. Sending a resume via the postal service is all but unheard of.  Video conference interviewing is here to stay even though its value as a primary screening tool is highly questionable.   Skype is a new addition, and it will reshape how firms and internal recruiters screen candidates.  At my firm, we are beginning to use this computer video interview program for our chronological interview.  In
the past, we conducted this interview on the telephone, which has its own challenges for candidates, but none as daunting as appearing on video. 

Here is the most important takeaway: Candidates who lack the computer capacity for Skype, or those who simply do not know about this emerging internet video pathway, run the risk of being eliminated from a search.  More importantly, candidates must master these video interview formats. Having a good resume and credible experience may not be enough if the candidate comes across on camera as looking nervous, awkward, or confused.  

Technological advances in recruiting will require candidates to adapt and to learn new skills, including how to master the time delay that is common in virtually all video conference connections.  These delays are similar to news satellite transmissions – a delay of several seconds from the time the interviewer asks the question to when the candidate hears its completion  .

Here is a hint for those who are scheduled for a video interview:  as you sense that the question is drawing to a close, smile and nod your head as if you are  confidently anticipating the question. This will keep you from looking like a deer in the headlights.

One more thing:  when you use Skype for an interview, do not forget to put on a coat and tie (the pants are optional since you want to use a head-shoulders shot).  It is always a good idea to tidy up the room. Check the background.  You wouldn’t want the recruiter to see your laundry hanging behind you..

Don’t laugh. It has happened.