Phone interviews are standard operating procedure for most companies today. This video will tell you why phone and video interviews are different than in-person interviews, how to prepare for both of types of interviews, and best practices for a successful phone or video interview including body language tips and how to be comfortable with pauses and silence.
- Phone interviews are already standard operating procedure for most companies, and video interviews are growing in popularity, especially with the rise in telecommuting and remote jobs. It would be a mistake to prepare for these interviews in the same way that you'd prepare for an in-person interview. The experience is just too different, and it requires its own tactics. And that's what we're going to cover now, the dos and don'ts for nailing phone and video job interviews. First, let's cover the dos and don'ts that apply to both types of interviews.
You'll want to pick a quiet spot to have the interview and remove any distractions. Clean up random objects on your desk, put the dog in the other room, and shut the door so your kids don't walk in. Then gather your necessary documents. The only things you'll need are a copy of your job description, your resume, a list of talking points for common interview questions, a list of important information about the company and your interviewer, and your phone or computer. Always test your technology ahead of time, especially for video interviews.
Make sure you're sitting in a place with reliable phone reception, or if you're using a landline, that's even better. Test your internet connection for a video interview, and if possible, do a few test runs with the video conferencing software you're going to use, such as Skype. Turn off notifications, alerts and sounds that might pop up on your phone or computer, and finally, teach yourself to be comfortable with pauses and silence. There's no visual cue to tell you when you've sufficiently answered an interviewer's question, so when you've said enough, stop talking and give them a chance to chime in.
Now let's focus on phone interviews. Play along with me for a second. Imagine you're in an office in the middle of a job interview. Now close your eyes. All of a sudden, you can't see the people interviewing you. You lose key visuals, like someone's crossed arms, eye contact, or smile. Is it easier or more difficult to continue the conversation? For most of us it would clearly be more difficult, and that's what we're all faced with during a phone interview. Let's go over a couple best practices for phone interviews.
Even though the interviewer can't see you, make sure you smile. Not in a crazy, constant kind of way, but when you're talking about positive things, smiling while speaking helps your inflection, making you sound friendly and positive. Have a pen and paper on hand to take notes. Don't use a keyboard to type the notes, because the clicking of the keys is distracting over the phone. Instead, write down important names, phone numbers, email addresses, or facts about the job or people you'll be working with. For video interviews there are also a few considerations, so let's go over those now.
Before the interview, try to eliminate any technical difficulties that might pop up. Get familiar with the video software beforehand, and optimize your computer, camera, and microphone for the interviewer. Ask a friend or family member to help you test them. If your audio doesn't sound good, consider using a small headset with a microphone to improve the quality. Next, choose the best space for your video interview. You'll want a room with a lot of light so you show up clearly on the video. Also, make sure that the area that will be seen in your computer's camera is clutter free and clean.
Try to find a neutral backdrop like a blank wall or a nice painting. Pay attention to your posture and eye contact. Sitting up straight helps you breathe easier, and it looks better on camera. Try to look at the camera as much as possible, more so than the screen. It's awkward, but to the interviewer, it'll look like you're making eye contact. So remember to pay attention to your environment, eliminate distractions, and keep only the bare necessities out during your phone or video interview. Practice ahead of time and double check all your technical components.
Taking these extra steps to prepare for a phone or video interview will make a huge difference in the quality of your performance and help you stand out as a top candidate for the job.
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