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How to Master Your Video or Phone Interview

A man in a job interview.

Before the rise of video conference services, interviews were almost always given in person. There were simply fewer options for people to connect aside from the telephone or going to an in-person interview. The adoption of the Internet has allowed for interviewers to meet potential applicants online.

Skype- and other video conference services- allows interviewers to talk to potential applicants face-to-face, even when they are not able to be in the same room.

Phone and video interviews are very similar, and many initial screenings with potential applicants help ensure the employer that they want to take the next step and schedule an in-person interview. It’s a way for organizations to save time and money, and weed out potential applicants that are simply not a good fit for the job.

Acing these interviews is a little more difficult because you don’t have that in-person charisma available. But you can ensure you're at your absolute best by following these tips.

Video Interview Tips

While a video interview may serve the purpose of an initial screen, you still want to view it as an important part of the hiring process. In other words- it counts! You want to go into the interview looking professional, and ensuring that all outside disturbances are eliminated. Let’s talk about two must-know tips, and help you ace the interview.

Technical Difficulties Ruin Interviews

Being prepared for your video conference requires that you avoid any technical difficulties that may occur. Yes, there are some difficulties that will simply be outside of your control. If your Internet connection goes down, there’s honestly nothing you can do to avoid this.

But you can do the following:

  • Ensure that you have the proper software installed and the correct equipment available.
  • Perform a sound check with a friend or with the free test call available.
  • Make sure that your speakers are working properly, and that your microphone is working properly.

The two main components will be your audio and video. If the interviewer can hear you, and you can hear and see them, you’re off to a good start.

Follow Proper Etiquette

Many interviewees fail to follow proper webcam etiquette during an interview. You want to make sure that you’re looking into the webcam to maintain eye contact, and then conduct a pre-call check to ensure that you're positioned properly for the viewer.

You also want to sit with your back straight, and ensure that you’re not too close to the webcam.

Interviewees should:

  • Never use foul language.
  • Speak in a professional tone.
  • Prepare answers to common questions so that they can respond quickly and confidently.

Treat a video interview in the same respect as you would an in-person interview. You want to be polite, professional and confident during your interview.

Phone Interview Tips

Phone interviews allow for an easier, more relaxed form of communication. When you’re on a webcam, the interviewer will be able to judge your appearance, mannerisms and actions much differently than while on the phone. There are few things you want to do to ensure that your phone interview goes as well as possible.

Stand and Smile

You need to have energy and confidence in your voice. When you’re talking, stand up and smile to ensure that you have the right attitude going into the interview. Smiling will be reflected in your voice, and you also want to make sure that you speak at a proper pace and in a confident tone.

Use a Headset

Taking notes may be required, so you may want to use a device headset to keep your hands free during your interview. This will allow you to sound and feel more comfortable when you’re on the phone.

Stay Focused

An interview needs to be done professionally. This means that you cannot be driving and conducting an interview at the same time. Instead, you want to stay focused and dedicate some time before and after your interview as a buffer. You want to be ready to go before the start time, and give yourself extra time should your interview run longer than expected. You should be free of distractions, and ready to take on the interview in a professional manner.

General Interview Tips

There are a few general interview tips that you will also want to follow. You always want to make sure that you:

Eliminate Distractions

Interviews are part of your professional career. You want to make sure that you are in a private place that is quiet and secure. This means ensuring that your fussy child is quiet and calm during the interview, and that your dog doesn’t start barking while you’re in the middle of an important discussion.

Be Alert and Awake

You need to be alert and able to pay careful attention during your interview. Wake up early, and follow the morning routines (cup of coffee or tea, yoga) that get you going.

Be Concise

When going to any interview, you also want to be succinct. This means that you need to answer questions appropriately without going into too much detail or going off topic. You need to be precise, but thorough at the same time.

In today’s fast-paced world, video and phone interviews are becoming the norm. Interviewees need to treat phone and video interviews with the same rules and etiquette that is needed to succeed with an in-person interview. Prepare ahead of time to ensure technical difficulties do not occur and that you’re ready to answer the interviewer’s questions with confidence.

About the Author: Helen Evans has been in the career development field for 5 years. She is a Marketing Manager at JobTonic and likes to share interesting tips to help people find their dream job. Her goal is to share what she has learned about job searching. 

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