How To Prepare For Your Phone Or Video Interview
Today the hiring process often begins with a brief phone screening with a third-party recruiter or HR associate. The employer’s main purpose is to get some basic information: your salary requirements and availability.
The interviewer also is trying to get a sense of who you are and how you might fit into the company culture. Smart candidates use an initial interview as an opportunity to learn more about the employer as well.
In some respects it’s like a first date: each party is evaluating whether or not he or she wants to take the relationship further.
If you make it through the initial screening interview, you’ll probably be scheduled for a more in-depth conversation via phone or video.
On the surface, virtual interviews seem like they are easier than in person. You don’t have to sneak out of the office for several hours for a half-hour interview. You don’t have to worry about finding the office.
Unfortunately, because you’re not meeting face-to-face, it’s tempting to think that a phone or Skype interview is just a formality. Don’t make that mistake.
Spend time preparing for any virtual interview: phone or video.
1) Make sure you’re in a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. If you’re working on-site avoid the urge to interview in your office (even if you have a private office) or in a well-trafficked area like a stairwell. The day you’re interviewing with a recruiter will be the day that your boss decides to take the stairs.
2) If you’re scheduled for a phone interview it’s always preferable to use a landline but if that’s not possible be sure that you’re someplace where you have good cell reception. It’s nearly impossible for a recruiter to conduct an interview when your voice is garbled, or your phone keeps cutting in and out.
If you’re scheduled for a video interview test your camera, microphone, and Internet connection well before the interview. If you’re using a laptop, make sure the battery is fully charged. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, losing your cell-phone connection or being unable to connect via video doesn’t speak well for your ability to plan ahead.
3) Research the company and the person who will be interviewing you. Spend some time reviewing the company’s website. Look at their LinkedIn page and social media outlets. When the interviewer asks if you’re familiar with the company they aren’t expecting you to mutter “no” they’re expecting some intelligent comments.
Take the time to visit the LinkedIn profiles of the people you’ll be talking with. It may help you find common ground. Prepare notes about the company and have them on hand for your call. Notes should include: information that you’ve gathered about the company; information about the person or persons you’re interviewing with; and any questions you have about the company and the position. Be sure to have your resume on hand to prompt you with names, dates, and accomplishments.
4) Prepare notes about the company and have them on hand for your call. Notes should include: information that you’ve gathered about the company; information about the person or persons you’re interviewing with; and any questions you have about the company and the position. Be sure to have your resume on hand to prompt you with names, dates, and accomplishments.
If you’re being interviewed via video, make sure that your notes are not visible during the call. Also, make sure that the background is clear and uncluttered. You don’t want it to appear that you have a treadmill sticking out of your head.
5) Know your resume cold. Also, be prepared to talk about everything you claim on LinkedIn and other social media sites as well. This is particularly important if you have your documents prepared by a professional writer. Everything on your resume and that the hiring manager can find online is fair game.
Bonus: A Few More Tips for Video
- Make sure the light is shining on your face rather than behind you to avoid looking like a silhouette.
- If you share space with others, give them a heads-up and ask them to be quiet as possible,
- Turn off notifications on your computer, turn down the volume on your cell, and if you still have a land-line take the receiver off the hook if you can and move it into another room. Phones seem to always ring when you’re on video.
- Choose your clothing carefully. Think TV anchor, solids not stripes which can create a weird optical effect.
Treat a virtual interview as you would an in-person meeting. Pay attention. Be enthusiastic. Sell yourself to the employer. Also, make sure to ask key questions. This is an opportunity for you to learn about them too.
Even if it’s only a 20-minute chat with a recruiter be sure to follow up with a thank-you email after the call. Express your interest and mention anything you forgot to say during the call. Acing the phone or Skype interview is the first step to being asked to meet face-to-face.