Trumbull author tackles tips, tricks of the digital interview

A Trumbull resident is helping job seekers and executives alike navigate digital communication in his newest book.

Paul J. Bailo’s second book, The Essential Digital Interview Handbook, is tackling the digital interview, from Skype to Google Hangout and more. Bailo’s book is being hailed as the first of its kind tackling the subject, being featured on several radio stations, in Forbes, the Chicago Tribune and many more. Skype has even ordered copies for its company, according to the author.

Virtual meetings are here to stay and likely to become more and more common, according to Bailo, but no one out there had created a rule book for how to use them the right way.

“No one has done this before,” Bailo said of the subject. “My analytical marketing sense said, Wow, people are doing this wrong and there’s no quantifiable research on it — until now.”

His book, published at the end of December by Career Press, is his second. The first was The Essential Phone Interview Handbook, which he self-published. Bailo, who has lived in town for more than 13 years with his family, s a digital technology executive, with a master’s of business administration degree in management and marketing. He is CEO of Phone Interview Pro.

Tackling face-to-face digital interviews was an obvious next choice for a book, he said, since even people who feel comfortable with the technology aren’t using it the correct way.

“You have young people flipping up their laptops and yapping away — not coming off professionally — and you have senior level executives with a web camera shining up their nose,” Bailo said.

The book is data-driven and methodical, providing practical advice to impress your audience or your interviewer.

 Tips and tricks

“The No. 1 thing people do wrong is they think the way they communicate is effective,” he said. “They aren’t realizing the channel they are using doesn’t communicate what they are trying to convey. The way people communicate in the digital world hasn’t been modified — we use it talk to people as we would if they were in front of us.”

One of the biggest problems is lack or preparation and not having the right equipment. Spending a little bit of money in order to have the correct setup to use communications like Skype is worth it.

“You have to be your own director, writer, costume designer,” Bailo said. “You literally have to build your own little studio.”

Tips on the right lighting, background and more are all in the book, and can help convey a good appearance to an interviewer.

“A number of people come off looking like the Phantom of the Opera,” Bailo said. “They are 30 years old and look 90.”

Cut out background distractions.

“No one cares about your kids or your dog — it’s a distraction,” Bailo said.

Bailo shared the story of one person who was interviewing a candidate for a position at a university. The candidate was a perfect fit, but the background during her digital interview was her bedroom, and it didn’t give a good impression. Bailo suggests hanging seamless paper behind you during the interview, to cover up the clutter.

You can also use body language to your advantage.

“A digital handshake is a bow,” Bailo said.

Modify your hand movements and lean forward when you are engaged.

“Don’t look at people’s eyes, look at the camera,” Bailo said. “It’s very unnatural, but a tip I give is to go to LinkedIn, find a picture of the person, cut a hole in it and put it on the camera — that makes it more human.”

The book itself is filled with many more tips and tricks for an effective meeting or interview.

Making waves

The digital interview book was released at the end of December, and Bailo has been surprised by its quick success in the media. He has also been asked to present at NYU.

Bailo said he already has his next five or six ideas for upcoming books.

“My brain isn’t local, it’s global,” Bailo said.

All it takes is looking at something in a different, new way, Bailo said.

“I’m just a middle class guy from Queens — that’s the coolest part.”

Copies of The Essential Digital Interview Handbook are available at any bookstore or at online booksellers.