With the Internet age upon us and remote interviews quickly becoming an e-cornerstone, every employer stands to gain something from a few Skype interview tips.
Here are five tips (that don't involve hidden Skype Emojis) to help you navigate a video job interview -- and keep things legal -- in the digital age:
Choose a relevant backdrop. Sit at a desk or table, against a neutral background without clutter. Keep your half-empty (half-full?) wine/coffee/scotch/OJ glass out of the shot. Is there a local piece of art on the wall that reflects the company's sense of community, joy, charity or verve? If so, bingo.
Wear your company culture on your sleeve. You should never dress unprofessionally during an interview, but you should also avoid dressing too formally if the workplace is laid-back. Your get-up should give the applicant a bird's-eye webcam's-eye view of life at your company.
Use a reliable, high-speed Internet connection. For the sake of a smooth Skype session, it's important to use the highest-speed Internet connection that you can. If there's still an awkward lag time, stop the call and redial. It gives the applicant a breather and you a chance to reboot. (Also make sure you don't get interrupted by other Skype contacts trying to call in during the interview, as happened during the George Zimmerman murder trial.)
Make "eye contact." Look directly into the camera, not at the image of your applicant on the screen. Looking directly into your webcam will be seen as direct eye contact on your applicant's end, according to U.S. News.
Don't ask questions that are legally off-limits. Remember, there are certain questions you can't ask applicants during an interview. If your question broaches the topic of a legally protected group, medical issue, credit history, or a criminal background, don't ask it.
Bonus: Consider using a conferencing app in lieu of Skype. Skype is a great remote interview tool for employers because it's free and readily accessible, but there are a number of conferencing apps that are more secure. If you're discussing sensitive information, you may want to look into a conferencing app instead.
No matter what service you're using for your video interview, it's always a good idea to do a test-run first. For more legal tips on how to handle job interviews in general, check out FindLaw's comprehensive section on The Hiring Process for small businesses.