Tracy Lee Curtis

Interview by Skype is too much hype – I need live action

Tracy Curtis
Tracy Curtis jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

My 20-year-old niece was applying for an internship out of state and was asked to do an interview via Skype. I can say with 100 percent certainty that I would rather shower, dress and show up in some conference room to be grilled in person than try to pull off a video job interview.

I can’t imagine getting ready for something like this. It’s not likely I would get professionally dressed head to toe. I mean, I’d feel pretty silly getting all dolled up in a suit and heels, only to arrive to my interview in my kitchen.

Like I could even do it in my kitchen – I’d have to clean it first. I’d have to bus the dirty breakfast dishes and toss the frozen pancake box. I can’t have an employer thinking I don’t make breakfast from scratch. In fact, I’d probably run out and get some flour and baking powder and leave it out on the counter with a carton of eggs just for show.

Problem is, all four walls are a dead giveaway that I’m quite unprofessional. The interviewer would see behind me either the stove, the sink, the pantry or the bulletin board with a list of things for the kids to do that ends with “Kiss Your Mother.”

I don’t know where I could do it. I’d have to rearrange the furniture, turn off every appliance that makes a humming sound and design an entire lighting concept before I could just plop down and act natural.

I asked my niece where she did her interview, and she said in a classroom in front of a white wall. She said they were going to get back to her. You mean, when you get out of prison? Because that’s probably where they thought you were. There, or in a padded room. Either way, I doubt you’ll be hearing anything.

And how do I frame myself? Close up? Head and shoulders? Or a wide shot of me sitting at a table, as if we were in that conference room, like in real life, having a real conversation? I mean, this is a job interview, not Match.com. They need more than a glamour shot and a love of the outdoors.

And what if the phone rings, or the cat jumps in my lap, or a Girl Scout comes to the door? It’s not like I can get the door; I’m wearing pajama bottoms. I went with head and shoulders. And, less obvious, I’m reading off notecards.

But one advantage to the Skype interview is that my niece said she could see the entire office behind the interviewer. And I promise you, if I had seen some of the places I interviewed ahead of time, I would have pulled the plug faster than I could say, “Hey, there’s no plug on this thing. How do you disconnect Skype?”

Good thing all the jobs I would want are local.

Curtis: tcurtis@charlotteobserver.com

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