When interviewing over Skype, make camera contact—not eye contact

I had my first Skype-facilitated job interview this week. It went well. So well that just thirty minutes after the interview, I was offered the position. Talk about quick turnaround!

One thing I'm pretty sure helped me stand out from the pool of candidates, one thing that helped me make a positive impression on my interviewers: eye contact…ish.

Let me explain.

When you make a Skype call, the natural inclination is to look at the person on the screen. After all, it is a video call, and you want to see who you're talking with. But when you do that, you end up looking something like this:

Don't worry — I didn't wear a robe during my interview.

Don't worryI didn't wear a robe during my interview.

You may think you're making eye contactbut really, you're making screen contact.

The trick is to make camera contact—that is, to make contact with the webcam. When you do that, it looks much better:

It's not that it just looks better. It's that it feels better, for your interviewers. From their perspective, they feel that you're present, that you're attentive. That you're here.

This can take some getting used to. It helped me to make a couple of test Skype calls to my friends, with whom I could practice making camera contact.

And here's a little trick: when it comes time for the actual Skype interview, minimize the Skype window entirely. That way, you don't have to choose between looking at the camera and looking at the people on the screen—because when the Skype window is minimized, there are no people to look at (and also no eyes to unnerve you). There is only a camera, and that is all you need.