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can you do the digital handshake?

With the growing number of video interviews, there’s not a good reason to assume you won’t be asked to be part of one. Business video chats are not in the same category as a Skype or Google hangout because there is a level of professional behavior expected from all parties. Many business meetings are being held in a video conference, too, so these skills are going to be essential in most careers.

One of The New Secrets to Rocking Your Skype Interview that Scott Dockweiler gives us on The Muse is the “digital handshake.” This substitute for a physical shaking of hands is a way to show you are friendly, professional, and ready to get started. This is how you do the first impression successfully, laying the foundation for good communication during the rest of the meeting. Without that good first impression, the rest of the meeting is an attempt to overcome bad vibes.

Components of The Digital Handshake

  • Look at the camera
  • Lean slightly forward, shoulders & eyes focusing ahead
  • Nod your head in a slow, confident, deliberate gesture without breaking eye contact

Now I can hear some of you saying…”I’m looking at a camera! What’s the eye contact there?” You need to remember, in a video meeting that the camera is where you look when you are speaking. When the other party speaks, look at the screen, but when you speak, look at the camera. Some people use a photograph with a hole in it for the lens to put over the camera as a reminder.

Why A Digital Handshake Is Important

The whole video business meeting dynamic is inventing itself, and we are still seeing things change. But even a few years ago, global trends indicated that business and video conferencing were only going to increase. Since the use of video eliminates some of the geographic limitations, we are going to have to be prepared for some cross-cultural challenges along with the ordinary challenge of impressing a remote viewer with your professional abilities.

That simple nod and the body language accompanying it says you are ready to listen and contribute to the meeting — so it can start. 

 

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The movie Legally Blonde showed Elle Woods, a young woman wowing Harvard Law School with a video résumé outlining her unique and interesting talents. While video résumés are still not the norm, many wonder if the best way to differentiate themselves from others is to use video instead of the traditional paper résumé. While an effective video résumé can help a person seeking a job or slot at a prestigious college, there are definite pros and cons.

Job seekers are accustomed to making themselves look good on paper but it is harder to make yourself look good on video. Paper résumés make your case before you walk into the interview. It is easier for a recruiter or interviewer to forgive any fidgeting in person because your paper résumé has already told them that you have the skills for the job. If the interviewer has to sit through a video with several minutes of rambling dialogue, accompanied by nervous tics, and the sound of traffic or air conditioning in the background to be able to hear your skill set, you may not get to make your case before you lose the interviewer’s interest. Since video résumés are still new, there is no real standard set yet as to how these résumés should appear and how information should be presented. It can be easy for applicants to go wrong.

Additionally, video résumés pose a risk to companies that paper résumés do not, legal risks that have caused some companies to discard all résumés that are accompanied by videos. When some companies these days black out names on résumés to avoid potential race or gender bias among those who review résumés, video résumés open employers up to potential claims of race, gender and age discrimination—even how the applicant looks in the video résumés, in some instances, can clearly cause more problems for the applicant than they solve.

Additionally, if companies are reluctant on a legal basis to view the video résumés sent to them for specific job openings, such companies do not go to online video hosting sites to view video résumés in the hopes of somehow finding the perfect person for their job. They are even less likely to search online when it means sifting for job candidates amongst films of people’s pets and music videos.

However, technology has changed much of how people search for and get jobs, and as online video becomes more and more ubiquitous, some companies are changing the way they handle video résumés.  Job listing sites have combined forces with social networking sites, and online résumés in such venues are often combined with video résumés. Sites that specialize exclusively in hosting online and video résumés make it far more palatable for employers and recruiters to search for résumés.

Some companies have popped up to help interviewers and job seekers make the most of this new technology. These companies help applicants put together a professional, edited video. Some have contacts with specialized areas of the job field – engineering firms, non-profits, etc. – and can send your video résumé to companies interested in such résumés. Many employers are opening up to video résumés because in some cases they serve as the “first round” of interviews, saving the company money and time.

Properly used, video résumés can be an excellent format to showcase job experience as well as polished communications skills. There is still a novel aspect to video résumés so making still shows a willingness to embrace new technology and think outside the box. As long as applicants understand a company’s résumé submission policies, as well as ensure that their video is professional and in a venue a potential employer may frequent, it increases the chances this new form of résumé can help and not hinder their chances of finding employment.

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How many times this week has the phrase, “this economy stinks” come from your mouth? How many times this week have you thought, “in this economy, I’ll never get a new job”,

or “I better hold onto my job, even though I hate it, and just be grateful I have one!”.

After you think these thoughts, how do you feel? I can guarantee it is not hopeful or positive. What do you think this does to your chances of finding a job? Would YOU want to hire you? Think about it. You are feeling gloomy and decide to cold call a company about a possible position opening. How is the tone of your voice? Upbeat or down? What is your attitude like? Did you know our mind and body transmit energy frequencies that can be felt by other people?

 

When you go to an interview and you are thinking, “I know I am not going to get this job. Why would they hire ME? I just KNOW they aren’t going to call me back”, what do you think the interviewer is feeling? “This person is not the right fit for the company. I won’t be calling them back.”

Think about the times in your life in other situations when this has happened. When things went EXACTLY as you thought they would.

It is very natural to worry about the economy and the job market. Anyone who turns on the news would agree. But what does all this worry do for you? For your health? For your job searching state of mind?  Remember, you can’t change what is happening out there, so worrying does no good. When my Dad passed away unexpectedly, my Mom said, “I worried for 40 years about something happening to him on the road (he traveled for work), and he ended up dying at home.”

We can’t change things that happen to us, but we CAN change how we react to it. It is very easy to stick our heads in the sand and just hope things get better with the economy, OR we can pick ourselves up and create a healthier attitude about it.

 

So what can we do?

 

If you are in a job presently and you’ve put feelers out and opportunities haven’t popped up yet, then focus on your job in a positive way. Do whatever you can to be the very best you can be. Focus on strengthening relationships with co-workers, vendors, etc. Not only do positive relationships perk up our mood, but they also will let you know if a job has opened up somewhere.

 

If you are job searching, stop worrying about the competition or the ‘lack of good jobs’ out there and focus on your brand and what values you offer to an employer and how you will articulate that in an interview. Expand your job search into new areas: go to networking lunches/dinners, freshen up your resume, and get excited about your job search. You are unique. Sell yourself.

 

Take a chance. Try a new career path. You never know if you might be better suited for something else. But most of all, stay positive and hopeful. Don’t be a victim like everyone else. Stand out from the crowd and be confident. Remember, your vibrant energy shines through and is felt by those around you, including hiring managers.

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