Our CEO Deborah Sweeney wrote her Four Tips for Skype Interview Success over at the Forbes Blog last week, so we decided to write a response looking at the four ways to utterly ruin a Skype, or other video based, interview. Interviews via webcam are a fairly new thing, and most people have simply transferred what they would typically do in a phone based interview to their video interviews.
But what if this interview is for a job you don’t want? How do you make sure you adequately scare away any potential employers and mark your Skype username as one to avoid at all costs. Well… we first off recommend you don’t try to scare away employers. A simple no will suffice if you choose to look for other avenues of employment. But, in the spirit of fairness and equality, here is our tongue-in-cheek response: four ways you can completely ruin any Skype interview.
1. Dress like you would at home.
There is no one to judge you when you are alone at home, so a stained t-shirt and some baggy sweats are perfectly fine if you want to spend the day vegging on the couch while watching re-runs of Maury. However, Maury isn’t going to hire you. One of the best ways to completely ruin your chances at landing this job is to dress like you aren’t going to be leaving the house for a few days. Unkempt hair, unshaven, dirty clothes; all of these and more can be used to thoroughly disinterest the interviewer. Don’t forget, they can see you and everything that you are doing on camera. When you are talking to someone on the phone, they may not be able to tell you haven’t showered in three days and are currently drinking a beer at 11 in the morning. On Skype, it is pretty obvious.
2. Use your regular username.
Are you known by the handle hotpartyanimal4567? Well then, you must be quite the hot party animal…4567. While that may be something you are willing to share with your friends, potential employers may not want to know your level of hotness or about your affinity for partying. If you want to ruin your chances of being hired, be sure to use the username you registered back when you were a Freshman in college and Skype was the hottest new thing. That is of course unless you have a normal username, like your actual name. Dialing that won’t leave a sour taste in the interviewer’s mouth and works to establish a good first impression. Or that you at least know how to register more than one username.
3. Plop down in the middle of a noisy/well-used room.
Everyone has that one couch that is simultaneously beat up, gross, and covered in animal fur, yet is the most comfortable piece of furniture they own. When company comes over, they refuse to even touch it, which means all the more comfort for you. But there is a reason no one wants to experience the beat up piece of heaven with padding falling out of the seams; it looks gross. And looks are important when you are using video chat software. If you want the interviewer to question your hygiene and ability to take care of yourself, then using that chair is a great way to do it. Better yet, make sure the room the chair is in is completely ruined. Beer cans, pizza boxes, dirty dishes, animals sleeping – all of these show you don’t really care how much of your personal life is shown. And, if you don’t care about something like that, it is unlikely you will try too hard to make sure your professional life is much more in order.
4. Browse the internet.
Are your Farmville crops ready to sprout? Is there something really, really, really interesting on the front page of Reddit that you have to read? Do you want to look at every picture your friends have posted of you on Facebook since you first got an account? Well, what better time to do all of these things and more than during a Skype interview! One of the best pieces of advice is to maintain eye contact with your webcam since it is very obvious when your eyes begin to wander to other spots on your computer during video chats. If you want to put off an air of aloofness, then be sure to scan every little detail on your computer screen that you possibly can while interviewing. This will kill your focus to the point where you’ll have no idea what your interviewer is even saying. But at least your crops won’t rot before you can pick them.
As we said before, this is all tongue-in-cheek. You really should never try and ruin any interview, even if it is for a job you do not want. Your interviewer’s network may reach far beyond their own company, and a bad interview could be a permanent black mark on your name. But, if there is one thing to take away from this, it is to use this post to make sure you aren’t doing anything that can be construed as disrespectful. Always maintain eye contact with the camera, find a clean, quiet spot to interview in, and make sure you look dazzling and impressive. Even if you think you don’t want a job at first, the fact a company is taking the time to interview you means they are willing to invest even a small amount of their time in your talent. You should afford them the same respect and keep an open mind, or at least clean up a bit.