Artisan Blog

7 Tips for your Skype Interview

Friday, September 02, 2011

7 Tips for your Skype Interview

With a growing number of employers open to telecommuting positions and more hiring being done from corporate locations based elsewhere in the country or world, many jobseekers are finding themselves preparing for interviews via Skype.

As we’ve helped prepare several of our candidates for these types of interviews – we’ve found the following list helpful in preparing:

  1. Monitor your surroundings.  Your computer should be set up in a room that is quite, well lit and clean.  Ensure your background does not have distracting posters, pictures or wall paper.
  2. Test your equipment.  The night before your interview, ensure your software, microphone, camera and internet connection are working correctly.  Test your internet connection again 15 minutes before your interview to ensure you’re call can begin on time.
  3. Dress for success.  This is an interview – dress as you would for a face to face interview – professional and polished, with a hint of personality.
  4. Be prepared.  Like with any interview, make sure you’ve done your research, prepared anecdotes to demonstrate your skills / success and developed a list of questions and/or talking points to refer to when conversation lulls.
  5. Look at the camera, not at the screen.  When the interview starts, just as in a face to face interview, you want to establish proper eye contact and maintain it throughout the interview.  This helps you better connect with your interviewer.
  6. Prepare your desktop.  If screen-sharing will be part of your interview (perhaps to showcase your portfolio of work or review websites), make sure all other windows, programs and files are closed.  You should have a professional desktop picture and limited folders on the desktop.
  7. Be Yourself.  Remember, this is your only chance to make a first impression.  Don’t let the technology scare you!  This is about people making a connection.  Let your interviewer(s) see the real you.  Be genuine about your skills / experience and enthusiastic about the opportunity for which you are being considered!

We wish you the best of luck!

Jess Bedford, Marketing Manager

Dressing for Success: How to dress for an interview with Creatives

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dressing for Success: How to dress for an interview with Creatives


A colleague of mine in Accounting recalls how she arrived at an interview for a large financial corporation wearing black suit pants, a dressy black sweater, silver flats and a matching silver purse.  After a great interview, she was told by HR that her “casual attire” was evidence that she didn’t understand their corporate culture and they would not be hiring her. 

A few weeks later she wore the same outfit when she interviewed with our company – a Creative and Marketing Recruiting agency.  Her outfit (which hinted at her creative personality) paired with her great accounting skills, helped us realize she was the perfect fit for us.  We made the hire and she’s been here for years now! 

Moral of the story:  What you wear to an interview can be a big factor in the impression you leave behind; make sure you leave the right one.

Whether we like it or not, research suggests that more than half of another person’s perception of you is based on how you look.  Therefore, if you don’t fit that “look” a company subconsciously expects of its employees, you will have to work much harder to prove that you are still the best person for the job.

This is why researching the company culture is vital before an interview.  If after conducting your research you are still not sure of the best attire, check with the Hiring Manager, Human Resources Representative or Recruiter who scheduled your interview. 

In the Marketing & Creative world, client environments can run the gamut.  In some organizations suits are still the rule, in others it’s business casual.  And while in most agencies jeans and graphic tees are the uniform of choice, there are still a few shops where board shorts and flips flops prevail. 

With every creative company being so different – is there any way to appease the masses? 

As a general rule, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. A safe bet when interviewing with a creative company is to don a slightly more conservative version of the typical “every day attire” in your target company’s office. 

A few tips:

  • Solid colors are usually better than busy patterns; Same goes with darker colors over lighter ones.
  • Jewelry should be limited to one or two key pieces
  • Make-up, hair and nails should be neat and well-maintained
  • Go easy on the perfume, cologne and aftershave

We also recommend that you find a way to show a bit of your personality – be it with a fabulous fashion accessory (shoes, glasses, purse or jewelry) or stylish haircut.

Jess Bedford, Marketing Manager

How to Use Research Effectively in Your Job Search

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


Research.  The word probably conjures up bad memories from your school years where you spent hours in the library, leafing through books and periodicals to complete that paper you’d waited until the last minute to start.
Fortunately, with improvements in technology, more information is right at our fingertips via the world wide web then ever before.  We can access information about almost everything from our computers, tablets and phones.

So with all this information so easy to find – why are most jobseekers waiting until their interview to start researching?

Certainly, once an offer has been extended, it’s an excellent time to research a company’s history, annual reports, industry and events. However, knowing this information really doesn’t make you stand out above your competition.

Here are a few recommendations for using research throughout your job search to help you gain a competitive edge:

Find a problem you are qualified to solve, and use research to craft a custom resume to demonstrate it.  Show how you have previously:

  • Solved the problems a target company is facing
  • Capitalized on opportunities a target company is currently exploring
  • Overcome problems or roadblocks to achieve goals similar to that of your target company

Ask questions during your interview.  Engage an interviewer to discuss challenges that you have already solved.  

  • Figure out how you can turn company roadblocks into questions that address the problem.
  • Consider how to monetize the issue (“how much will you lose if the opportunity is missed?”) to further demonstrate how your experience is a relatively inexpensive solution to their problem  

Research the company culture to discover clues about the best communication style for your resume and in person interaction.

  • Review pictures on the company’s website and annual reports, read employee quotes, review LinkedIn Profiles, visit their company YouTube Channel, anything that can help you figure out the best dress style, office setting, level of formality, etc.

Now that you’ve seen how research can help your job search, here are a few places to help you find information on your target companies:

  • Organization Website
  • LinkedIn
  • The company's YouTube Facebook or Twitter pages
  • Pres Releases
  • Organization Blogs / Industry Blogs / Competitor Blogs
  • Glassdoor
  • Google
  • Quarterly / Annual Reports (for Public companies, regulated industries and some Non-profits, Hospitals and Educational institutions)

Best Practices: Preparing for your interview

Monday, July 11, 2011

Best Practices: Preparing for your interview


I once read that if you do something 10,000 times - you are an expert. So with 15+ years successfully helping make matches between companies and candidates, I am well on my way to becoming an expert! 

I have to admit that the favorite part of my job is preparing people for their interviews.  Since not everyone has had the opportunity to work with a recruitment professional, I thought it would be valuable to share some keys pointers I've learned over the years. CONGRATULATIONS!  You got the what?
Do some research! 

I am often surprised to hear stories of how candidates have shown up unprepared....Regardless of the position, everyone must do the research! 

Here is what I suggest:
  • Read the company's website! You need insight into their culture and values, this is the best place to get it.  Pay attention to the ABOUT US section.  Do they have a Twitter or Facebook fan page?  Make sure  you know how they do what they do and where they are in the marketplace.
  • Research the people that you are meeting with.  You are not stalking them - just simply finding out more about them!  Maybe there is a common background or interest that you share and can feel comfortable about bringing up.  Use common sense though - don't bring up anything that could be sensitive or too personal!  The most effective tools I use include LinkedIn, Facebook, Google and Bing
  • Check out the company's location.  I like to use Google Maps.  See what companies, businesses and other venues are nearby.  Get a sense of their surroundings - as it could help you figure out what life working with the company might be like.
  • Write down talking points to bring up during the meeting.  This compliments all the research you do.  Just the fact that you did some research could make a big difference in you getting the job.
I hope that this helps to prepare you for your next interview! 

Carol Conforti, Sr Account Manager & Recruiter


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