For Skype interviews, get a space in the library

Yesterday The Consumerist linked to an article called “10 Tips to Shred the Competition in your Skype interview.” Author Jenny Foss’s 5th tip reminded me of a conundrum I had toward the end of my sophomore year when I was interviewing for summer jobs and internships. Here’s the tip:

Don’t even think about doing it in a coffee shop. Quiet, clean room. Absolutely no environmental hustle and bustle, none.  Oh, and when I say “quiet, clean room?” Assume I mean “quiet, clean room with no weird crap in the background.”

Two years ago I interviewed for a lead instructor position at a kids’ tech summer camp. Since I was still finishing my spring semester in college in New York and the job would be back home in the Bay Area, we did the interview on Skype. However, living in a dorm with a roommate and lots of friends who came when they pleased meant that my living space wasn’t going to cut it as an interview location. (The dorm room also violated the “no weird crap in the background” advice.)

I considered academic buildings and dorm parlors, but since I couldn’t reserve them, I still ran the risk of interruptions. When I mentioned my dilemma to my advisor, she suggested I reserve a study space room in the college library. Not only did that space let me have an uninterrupted block of time, but it also had bright lighting, a well-maintained internet connection, and the added bonus of shelves of books for my backdrop.

Libraries are a great option for non-college students, too, but make sure your local library’s study rooms are well lit and offer internet and electricity before you reserve one.

I can’t guarantee that the interview location will make or break your application, but it worked for me – I got the job!

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