In an effort to save time and streamline hiring, more and more employers are choosing to conduct interviews via phone or video. These interviews are just as important as in-person formats and are often more challenging because candidates don’t have the advantage of giving and receiving clear visual cues. With that said, we’ve compiled some fantastic tips to help candidates prepare for a phone or video interview to increase their chances of moving to the next step in the hiring process.
- Compile a list of what qualifies you for each aspect of the job. For phone screens, keep this and a copy of your resume nearby so you can refer to them as needed. For video interviews, consider taping a copy of your resume beside of or behind your camera so you can look directly into it and avoid looking down for the duration of the interview. When you rehearse your answers for typical questions, practice speaking without using “um”, “uh”, “okay” and “you know”.. These non-words and delays are even more noticeable over the phone or on camera.
- For phone interviews, use a landline when you can or a reliable cell service location. Bad connections are not a good first impression.
- For video, test your connection and set up, including camera, microphone and speakers, in advance with friends and family. Use favorable lighting and a background that isn’t distracting. Take note of where you are looking versus where the camera is to find ways to make eye contact whenever you can.
- Remove all distractions. Interviewing in a quiet place will help you devote your full attention to your interviewer.
- Have a glass of water handy in case you need it.
- Take notes that are brief, but thorough enough to remember key items discussed for later use in your thank you note and face to face meeting.
- Focus, listen and process the questions carefully. It is easier to lose focus when you are not face to face. Ask for clarification if needed and be careful not to interrupt the interviewer.
- Enunciate, answer the question and be concise. If you talk too long, it won’t be as easy via phone or video to see that you’ve lost their attention. You can always pause and ask if they need more information.
- For all interviews, including over the phone, sit up straight and smile (even if they can’t see you via phone). Why? Because you will breathe easier, be more relaxed and have a more positive inflection in your voice.
- Your clothing, jewelry, grooming and posture matter just as they do in person. Conservative professional dress is always a safe choice.
Don’t underestimate the importance companies put on phone and video interviews and keep in mind, many of the interview skills shown above also apply in a live interview scenario.