Photo by Michael James

Sydney Halinski, a fourth-year STAC major specializing in Media, knows how awkward a Skype job interview has the potential to be.

“Last spring, I had a Skype interview with ESPN. My first piece of advice? You shouldn’t have a picture of yourself and a hamster as your Skype profile picture,” Sydney began.

Halinski remembers more about her Skype job interview, in which the computer glitches caused more calamities to take place.

“There were tons of awkward pauses where they wouldn’t say anything and of course I couldn’t see them because my screen froze,” Halinski said. “The entire time all they were doing was staring at a picture of me and my hamster because, let’s be realistic, who Skypes anymore?”

Needless to say, the forty-minute interview was not her best.

“I have no idea how I didn’t get the job. I clearly deserved it after this performance,” Halinski said.

However, Halinski’s experience is one of the hundreds of millions in the pool of digital job application processes. Through Skype, online chat and email, employers are now consistently reaching out to potential applicants through any- and everything but face-to-face contact.

Tech has maintained its position in this realm by hosting its “Virtual Career Fair” once again this fall, in addition to the standard meet-and-greet job fair hosted last week in the Campus Recreation Center.

Fourth-year BA major Julienne McKee discussed her experience at the standard 2013 fair last week, which had its positives.

“I do believe I gained something out of the fall fair,” McKee said. “I had a great conversation with the recruiter and it was good preparation for interviewing as well as coming out of my introverted shell.”

While these skills and the experience prove to be invaluable, it is not shocking to learn some students felt as though they came up short. A common objective entering the fall Career Fair is to leave with an interview request, or even better, a position offering.

However, for the great majority of students unable to achieve this, the Virtual Career Fair offers another chance.

The 2013 Virtual Career Fair will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 24 and Wednesday, Sept. 25. Similar to the fall Career Fair, the Virtual Career Fair is open to all types of majors and degree levels for students.

A virtual career fair takes place online, where employers and those looking for jobs meet in a virtual environment.

Typically, these meetings occur through chat rooms, but other means of communication exist, including webcasts, teleconferences and email. Employers may have specific chat hours, while others may just use the fair as a method to collect resumes.

Ultimately, students seem to have varying opinions on the concept.

For some, the Virtual Career Fair stands to be more favorable as far as the meeting between you and the recruiter, in comparison to the regular fall Career Fair.

“I think a lot of college-aged students in today’s world are more comfortable with technological interaction than real-life communication,” explained Becca Raffaele, a second-year IE major currently co-oping with Georgia Power.

In a chat room, the meeting with an employer is direct and to the point. There is an immediate exchange of information that the company needs from the candidate and the information the candidate needs from the company.

Plus, it is perfectly acceptable to wear non-business casual attire and comfortably relax in the privacy of one’s own space.

“At a regular in-person career fair, the competition and commotion of the other employers and the excessive amount of students can be stressful and distracting,” said Ellen Skelton, a third-year BA major.

In these situations, it is not unusual for the exchange to simply turn into the exchange of a resume for a free water bottle, bottle opener or other form of free company swag.

Yet, pitfalls other than the aforementioned also exist, one possible hindrance in a chat room being the inability to truly project the entirety of one’s personality to potential employers.

Plus, recruiters will be extra attentive to everything offered within the confines of a video call, especially items in the background that could potentially raise the interviewer’s eyes. Body gestures, eye-contact and eloquence are all the company has to judge beside a profile picture.

It isn’t the first time Tech has hosted the new job search concept, and it surely doesn’t appear as if it will be the last.

At the very least, however, even to those who have differing opinions about the virtual career fair, the additional experience and face-time interviewing cannot be neglected.

More information on the general schedule of employer hours is available at gatech.careereco.net.