Quick phone/video interview tips to keep your presentation snappy and score that offer!
As you begin your first job search, we have some news for you: phone and video interviews are definitely here to stay, pandemic or no pandemic. It has become fairly standard practice to screen employees via digital means before inviting more suitable candidates down for an actual face-to-face interview. And if the job you’re applying for is home-based, it’s entirely possible that all interviews will be conducted via a videoconferencing platform of choice.
The basics of job interviews remain the same – do your research, prepare yourself, be confident. However, whether “distanced interviewing” isn’t your preferred milieu or you’d just like to be fully prepared for anything, you can’t go wrong with these basic tips for phone and video interviews!
- Smile, even when they can’t see you! Smiling does wonders for your confidence and self-presentation. Trust us, the interviewer can “hear” your smile over the phone and will form a positive impression of you based on that.
- Limit distractions. Shut off your TV, make sure your door is closed, don’t let the cat in… Minimising distractions will make sure you concentrate on the interview and only the interview. During phone interviews, it’s tempting to doodle, pace or type on the computer as you can’t be seen, but we advise against that. Keep your mind on that important call.
- Pause when you speak. If you’re asked a question you prepared for extensively, don’t immediately launch into your answer and rattle it off like a shopping list. In a phone interview, there is no visible body language to rely on, so it’s even more important to pause for interruptions and let the interviewer speak. Insert organic pauses into your dialogue and wait for that “mm-hm” of affirmation before continuing.
- Focus on having a conversation. We’re all pretty used to videoconferencing by now, so bring that expertise to the fore by presenting yourself naturally during the interview. If you gesture with your hands to express yourself, go ahead! Let emotions play across your face, and remember to smile!
- Check your tech. We say this a lot, but a lot of people forget this step and end up wasting the first five minutes of an interview trying to get their mic to pick up sound. Other than the time wasted, such basic errors reflect badly on your presentation – the interviewer will have the impression that you’re unprepared and unmotivated, never a good thing.
- Have your documents ready. On-screen or on-hand, have your CV, portfolio, work samples and testimonials all ready. Video interviewing allows hiring managers to see your work much more easily and many of them are taking advantage of this. Expect to be asked to share your screen, and prepare some hyperlinks to notable projects in case the company is interested.
- Dress for success! Dress properly for the video interview as you would for a face-to-face one. A good rule of thumb is to do some research into the dress code of the office, and try to imitate that same style or go slightly more dressed up. And don’t half-dress! This is not the time to risk pairing a blazer and shirt with your pyjama pants.
- Prep the space. Frame yourself with clean surroundings in order to convey an image of calm, order and professionalism. Some interviewees, especially students, rent library rooms or study rooms for their video interviews. Don’t neglect the digital interview space, either! Screen sharing is common practice during video interviews, so close unnecessary tabs and windows beforehand, have a generic wallpaper, and make sure you don’t have any other chat windows open.
Give yourself your best possible chance by brushing up on phone and video interviews, and make sure your job search ends with a job!
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