Editor’s Note:  John will be taking off the month of August from writing his blog and hosting the podcast so that he can update Resume Guide eBook as well as work on his book on career management. In John’s absence, we will be posting some of his previously published blogs on Tuesday’s and Thursdays. The weekly video blog that is released on Saturday mornings will continue. 

Skype and FaceTime interviews are becoming more and more common and yet most candidates are not taking the proper steps to ensure this interview is a positive, not a negative in the screening process.  Proper preparation is important because how you come across — how you look and sound — is part of your career brand and could very well determine whether you advance or not in a search.

In a competitive search in which there are 20 or 30 other candidates, you do not want to harm your brand and come off looking like you are not ready for prime time.  Yet that is the case more times than you can imagine.

Here are four easy elements you must address to protect your career brand and to enhance your chances of advancing in the search.  A poorly executed Skype or FaceTime interview is the equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot.

  1. Pay attention to the atmospherics.  Be aware of what is in your background. There are some well-documented cases where candidates have embarrassed themselves mightily by not paying attention to what is hanging in the background on a makeshift clothes line, from the corner of a door or in an open closet.
  2. The camera angle is important.  If you are going to use your cell phone or iPad, or one of the other brand X notebooks, position it so the camera is at the same level as your eyes.   Propping it up on your desk will only produce an unflattering image and trust me, I do not want to look up your nose.
  3. Do not sit in front of a window.  Backlighting, the bright sunlight from those windows, can all but block out your face.  Most people do not have a TV lighting system like we have but you can assemble a make shift lighting configuration to improve the quality of how you are seen by the recruiter or prospective employer.
  4. Be sure the volume control for your built-in microphone is set appropriately.  Looking good is one thing but if I can not hear or clearly understand you then all this preparation is going for naught.

I hope this information has been helpful.  If you have any questions, you can reach me at AsktheRecruiter@JohnGSelf.Com.