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The dos and don'ts of online job interviews
THURSDAY, APRIL 25, 2013 08:48 AM

In the past, employers who were looking to hire may have had to settle on candidates who lived in close proximity to the office they would be working out of. Today, however, technology has made it very convenient for companies to find the best candidates possible. It no longer matters if they reside nearby or several states away.

Whether these individuals plan to work remotely or relocate, it is likely their potential employers will want to get to know them before they make any final hiring decisions. This is when conducting interviews using voice and video services, such as Skype, can come in handy for companies. For the candidates themselves, these online meetings can make or break their chances of landing a job, so they are going to want to be prepared.

To ensure a successful online job interview, individuals should consider the following dos and don'ts:

Don't just wing it
These days, landing a job is no easy task. For some people, the job search can last for months, and include everything from attending networking events to taking a career test. As scoring an interview is such a big opportunity in a volatile economy, very few job seekers who receive this shot at gaining full-time employment are likely to go into one without any preparation.

Just because candidates are doing their interview over the internet is no reason why the rules should be any different. In fact, preparation is even more important as applicants will be dealing with technology, such as computers and voice and video software.

Do prepare ahead of time
A lot can go wrong during any type of interview - but especially during one that is taking place in front of a computer screen. In addition to doing a few dress rehearsals with friends to make sure every piece of technology works, CBS MoneyWatch recommends asking the interviewer if the connection is clear before things get underway.

"It is in your best interest not to proceed if technical difficulties present themselves as the interviewer will be challenged in focusing on your responses and it has the potential to reflect poorly on you," Lynda Zugec, The Workforce Consultants' managing director, told the news source.

Don't assume
Individuals have a lot to keep in mind when preparing for an online interview. Are they in the same time zone as the interviewer they will be speaking with? Will they be expected to participate in more than one online session? Ultimately, candidates should never assume they have all the facts.

Do seek clarification on interview details
To avoid interview surprises, Mashable suggests candidates verify important details regarding their meeting, including its date, time, name of the interviewer and whatever materials or information they will need to have handy. The more applicants know, the better the odds of succeeding during their online interview.

Don't forget to straighten up
While interviewers will be focused on job candidates, their eyes will certainly wander if they see an unmade bed or overflowing garbage can in the background. A messy backdrop can say a lot about an individual, at least in the eyes of potential employers.

"You'll be painting a picture of a disorganized person who lets things pile up," Bill Horne of William Warren Consulting, told CBS MoneyWatch.

Do pick the right location
Rather than sitting in front of a cluttered backdrop, job candidates should select a clean and organized space that will show interviewers they are mature and responsible adults. This means a home office or living room, and certainly not a bathroom.

In addition, individuals need to keep their family, roommates or pets out of the background for the duration of their interview or risk a few comical, but ultimately detrimental, distractions.

"I was once interviewing a candidate via Skype who was perfectly presentable with regard to her physical appearance, but her cat kept walking across the background," Jennifer Johnson Scalzi, the founder of J. Johnson Executive Search Inc., told the news source.

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