What To Wear for a Skype Interview & Other Preparations

Skype interviews are becoming more common. Newcomers to this type of interview should beware of complacency. Skype is an ultra visual medium which will be unforgiving if you do not research carefully the question of what to wear, which should be applied not only to yourself but also your immediate environment. Here are 3 handy tips to help you prepare.

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If you have been invited to sit for a job interview via Skype, do not for one second disregard the fundamental requirements of the classic, traditional interview. The question of what to wear for a Skype interview is only one of a few factors of the pretty much ‘all visual’ nature of online facetime that you have to nail even before you think about how you’re going to respond to questions.

This isn’t just about clothing, but full, immersive realtime visual representation of your best self. It is so important that you don’t take for granted the ‘one remove’ nature of the interview as some kind of a pass. Think about the potential for comic—and fatal—mishap if you were to wear a slick shirt and tie, but pair it with shorts or sloppy sweat pants, just because the interviewers can’t see your lower half. What happens if you have some form of IT-related problem or have to rise from your seat at some point? The half-baked approach is tempting fate.

The proper way around this, of course, is to look at what the experts say, and there is no shortage of literature on the subject of how to excel in video/Skype interviews, with Mike Koenigs’ great little guide How to Be a Video Interview Pro being one pretty good example.

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If you were to boil these tips and strategies down to a single essence, though, it’s that you should never treat the Skype interview casually in any way. Skype interviews have their own intricate set of protocols that you should research carefully. Like the telephone interview, you underestimate the Skype variant at your peril!

It might be useful to think of it as an interview via television. Impressions are conveyed incredibly swiftly from television appearance, and a similarly rapid, and lasting, evaluation process takes place in the mind of the viewer/interviewer during a Skype interviewer. Think carefully about how quickly you form an opinion about someone while they’re being interviewed on television.

It’s kind of uncomfortable to think of yourself in that position, isn’t it? Well… not if you prepare just as assiduously as you would for a traditional interview. Only there is a crucial twist. In the Skype interview, appearance is in some ways much more important. Not only must you choose the correct attire, but also dress your immediate environment, to ensure it creates the best impression.

Here are three points to remember about what to wear for a Skype interview, or any interview, and how to prepare and ‘dress’ your immediate surroundings.

 

 

1. What To Wear for a Skype Interview

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Base your look on what you expect other employees to be wearing at the job. Naturally, if you can learn the specific dress code prior to the interview, that will score an important point right off the bat when you meet your inquisitors online. If you’re unable to find the actual guidelines, then keep it simple.

You can’t go wrong with a shirt and tie, although you’re best to avoid any pattern in the shirt. Keep things plain, simple and non-distracting.

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Although your bottom half won’t be seen, dress professionally from head-to-toe. Apart from ensuring that you will not look foolish in the unexpected event of your having to get out of the chair while online, a full, professional business outfit, head-to-toe, will help place you in the right frame of mind, and you will feel and act more professionally.

Some experts suggest setting up two lights on each side of your laptop/web cam set-up, so that you can experiment with the ideal lighting, in order to ensure your features are not literally shown in an unflattering light. This touches on the extremely visual nature of the Skype medium for conducting a job interview.

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2. Dressing Your Surroundings for a Skype Interview

The question of what to wear for a Skype interview has implications not only for your own appearance but the appearance of your immediate surroundings. It’s probable that your only interviewer, or one of them, will be your future manager. You do not want this person to think that your room is a mess. Ensure your home-office or whatever environment you have chosen for the interview conveys impressions of neatness, tidiness, order and professionalism. If your environment is untidy, the implication is that so are you!

You could go the whole hog and take a look at something like Donna Paul’s Home Office Book or any number of other guides to preparing an office in your home, for guidance on this point. Not only will consulting such guides prepare your surroundings cosmetically, but you could regard this as the first step in a process of becoming more productive in your life and work.

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The bottom line is; if you take the call at home, choose a suitable room – a study or lounge – and preferably a part of that room with a neutral backdrop. Things to avoid include any distracting decorations, or anything conveying personal information that a third party does not need to know. It should go without saying that if you share the house with others, either ask them to not be at home, or not to walk into the room during your interview. Nothing will derail an interview more quickly, and convey more of a sense of chaotic unprofessionalism, than an uninvited guest. So, when considering what to wear for a Skype interview, cover all the bases—think about everything the interviewer will see and make sure it’s perfect.

 

 

3. Appearance is All: Ensure your Audio-Visual Link is Functioning

What To Wear for a Skype Interview - Skype-Interview-GB-3

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It is always a good idea to take a dry run before the interview proper. Practice with a friend and be vigilant for any errors that prove to be a distraction to the person who is posing as the interviewer. If you have a flawed internet connection, not only is it annoying, but it also has the potential to fatally disrupt the seamless audio-visual account of your suitability for the job that you have worked so hard to prepare.

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The wearing of earphones or a headset is recommended. These make the audio much clearer and easier to understand, and eliminate feedback at the interviewer’s end. Remember, it’s best to spot any potential problems in advance, rather than the unsatisfactory, and ultra-distracting, approach of pointing out or apologise for problems during the actual interview.


So there you have it. Now that you have your clothes chosen, and your ‘stage’ appropriately dressed and fully functioning, you know what to wear for a Skype interview. It’s time to research those questions, safe in the knowledge that you really are ready for your close-up. Lights, camera… action!