How to set the perfect background at home for a Skype interview

April Kennedy April Kennedy
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A Skype interview just might be the first step towards your dream career. So learning the essentials of Skype etiquette is an important part of getting ready for your job interview.

While the technology of the hiring process may be different, the basics of actually landing that job haven't changed one bit. As with any job interview, it's crucial to project a confident, capable and assuring persona. This means that although the job interview may be happening in your home, it's crucial to remember that a Skype interview should be treated just as any other in-person interview. Basically you need to prepare as though you are going to be in the same room as the hiring manager.

While this kind of interview was once a novelty, but it has quickly become common practice and there are lots of tips on how to prepare your space for the interview. Keep reading for a few of the most important tips and lots of visual inspiration.

Rid the area of personal items

minimalistic Study/office by RSRG Arquitetos
RSRG Arquitetos

Apto. Rio de Janeiro

RSRG Arquitetos

No one would turn up to a job interview and show off family photos or talk about the trashy magazines that are their guilty pleasure. Similarly, the background to your interview should be completely void of personal items. These items do not just project an unprofessional persona, they may also reveal too much of your personal life. These small things such as reading materials or favourite personal pursuits may lead the hiring manager to make presumptions about your work habits. Just think that these are the things you might reasonably hold back from sharing in a professional setting, particularly during an initial meeting. In a beautiful home office like this, the folding doors would be best closed.

A cluttered background may distract your audience

Avoid glossy, highly reflective or strong colours or patterns. A plain white background is perfectly fine, but if you feel like the all white background is a bit stark, add a plant or background artwork as long as it's not too distinctive. Something like the simple, graphic items in this bright room might suit your purposes. One key issue to avoid is having a strong horizontal line intersecting the space around the head.

Be careful with the webcam

Most people set up a camera or webcam at a distance for them to read a screen. This usually means that they are far too close for the purposes of a skype interview. A potential employer doesn't want to look up your nose and being way, way too close presents a little too much information! It's really important to set up the angle and distance with a mirror and do a test interview. As with anything, practice makes perfect. A test interview with family or friends will help iron out any technical glitches as well.

Tip: if you might need to share information or do a test, practice using Skype's send and share options. Also, update your software for optimal performance.

Use plenty of light

A strong overhead light is incredibly unflattering and has the potential to make you look like a fugitive! At a minimum it will add deep shadows beneath your eyes. A much more preferable option is to position yourself facing a strong window light and have the camera or laptop positioned between yourself and the window. If you don't have decent natural light, get a strong lamp like these ones and angle it to face you. Just make sure it doesn't create harsh shadows or a direct glare that will be distracting or uncomfortable. It's crucial to check the lighting yourself because it will be impossible to guess what works. Try a few test shots or use a mirror.

Find the right table

It's not particularly important if you have a desk like this one by Arredoufficio or a simple table. What's most important is having lots of room to spread out your notes so you can refer to them without shuffling them around. It's easy to forget how nervous we often get during an interview. A Skype interview has that potential to be a little more nerve-wracking because it may be unfamiliar, so any props like a good table are a good choice.

Pay attention to hair and clothing

It's good to keep a mirror close to hand. A camera will often make you look a little washed out so women may want to wear slightly stronger makeup. Both men and women could do with wearing something a little brighter to exude energy and confidence. Stripes and strong patterns don't display well on a computer screen so they are best avoided. Although if you really want, there's no reason you can't wear your pyjamas so long as they are out of frame! But it's not really recommended. Imagine how embarrassing it would be if you needed to adjust your seating or the camera. 

Also, change the configuration on your display so your potential employer fills the screen and you're not staring at yourself the whole time. Finally, don't forget to have fun. If you're having a Skype interview it often means you're in with a real chance of getting the job. Good luck!

If you are interested in home work spaces, you would love this Ideabook The perfect home office.

What do you think of these backgrounds for your Skype interview? We'd love to hear in the comments below.
modern Houses by Casas inHAUS

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