More and more employers are conducting job interviews over Skype. Here's how you can gain an edge over the competition.

Choose a Tidy Backdrop – You’re showing the interviewer your home, so it's important to put your best "space" forward. Choose a clean staging area far from the filth-littered couch you’ve been motionlessly occupying for weeks. Take special care to remove anything that screams “shiftless unemployable halfwit” (like mom’s boyfriend).

Use Props – Using props goes a long way when you're trying to set the mood. For example, keep a sundae in frame. The image of a slowly melting sundae is a fun way to remind the interviewer to keep things humming along because, hey, no one likes ice cream soup! (Everyone likes ice cream soup.) Also, dripping ice cream serves as a universal metaphor for the inexorable death march that is time, allowing you to bond with your interviewer over your shared mortality. (You could use an hourglass, but it’s a little on the nose and just makes you look like a bitchy wizard.)

Pick Your Pictures – You're going to want some flattering photos in the background. Photoshop some pictures of yourself meeting presidents and place them in plain view, but avoid anyone too polarizing! Shoot for universally revered presidents like Abraham Lincoln, Grover Cleveland, or Calvin Cool Whip. (President of your sundae. What’s this!? A coup by the Maraschino family! The streets run red with syrup! Mmmm… political intrigue.) If you’d rather steer clear of politics, shoot for photoshopped pictures of you winning awards instead. Remember who won the 2013 Latin Grammy for Best New Artist? Neither does anyone else! Who’s to say it wasn’t you? (Plucky Guatemalan singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno is who.) ¡Caliénte!

Ladies, Get Webcam Makeup – Webcam video is notoriously shoddy, and your "makeup" can wind up looking like "makedown"! (It's a thing, spread it around.) Poor resolution means you have to exaggerate everything, so opt for blinding neon colors and don’t be chintzy with the glitter. When you look like whichever clown traumatized a young Nicki Minaj into being the way she is, you’re on the right track. 

Hats – To quote former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, "Hats, hats, hats!" Ideally you want to show off a variety of headwear to display your versatility (it says “I wear many hats” without saying it explicitly). Make transitions seem natural by performing quick cut away shots to the sundae during your “costume changes.” Note: Subtlety is key! DO NOT actually say “I wear many hats.” In fact, draw attention away from your head entirely by loudly and repeatedly mentioning your shoes.

Talk With Your Face – A look can convey your feelings more forcefully than your words. Practice in a mirror to make sure you master expressing the seven universal emotions (Angry, Surprised, Happy, Asleep, Drunk, Coquettish, and About To Sneeze). You probably have most of these down, but you’re going to be on webcam, so you’ll need to exaggerate them (see the makeup section above). If necessary, use title cards to let the interviewer know precisely how you’re feeling. For example, while casting a sidelong glance at your sundae you should hold up a sign that says, “HUNGRY/ANXIOUS.” With any luck, the interviewer will take your growing hungxiety as a cue to proceed promptly to the hiring stage!

Be On Your Guard – Because you’re not in the same room, your interviewer may feel more at ease trying to trip you up. A popular trick is to get you to admit that some items on your resume are slightly embellished by asking you what percentage of your resume is true. THIS IS A TRAP! There is no such thing as “objective truth." Hide your face in your sundae bowl and wait until they log off.

(by Jake Currie)