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Is Ctrl-Alt-PgUp the New Interview Handshake?

Robin Wilson at the Chronicle of Higher Education highlights the increased use of videoconferencing services — such as Skype — by hiring committees when interviewing potential employees. This is due in part, she reports, to diminished budgets. Job candidates are now, at least partially, at the mercy of the technology and its potential limitations. One applicant who was interviewing with an academic department while visiting family in Florida lost power due to a storm during a Skype interview, and, according to the Chronicle, had to complete his interview over the phone the following day. Another interviewee's image was distorted on the screen, much to the confusion of the interviewers, Wilson writes.

Wilson reports that applicants may have to be flexible when interviewing from afar by paying fees to use the videoconferencing equipment at FedEx Office outlets, or by purchasing such equipment for themselves. One applicant told the Chronicle that he wasn't willing to buy a webcam specifically for a job interview. "My first thought was, 'Why are you assuming I have access to that technology? I work on a teaching-assistant stipend,'" he said.

And at the Georgia Southwestern State University, the hiring committee and candidates have converged on the idea of filling academic positions sight unseen, according to the Chronicle — that is, the applicant doesn't set foot on campus, and therefore the employer and employee don't meet face-to-face, until the new-hire arrives to begin work.

All of this makes us at GenomeWeb Careers wonder: is Ctrl-Alt-PgUp — the shortcut to answer a Skype video call — the new interview handshake?

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