Telephone and Skype interviews are a necessary recruitment tool that allows organisations and candidates to form initial impressions of one another before committing to a face-to-face interview. They can be challenging from both sides, so here are a few tips on how to present your best self through these platforms.
1. Make sure you have a strong phone signal or internet connection
You want any job interview to go as smoothly as possible, so it’s important to minimise the possibility off connection issues. If you often have signal issues in your home, go to a friend’s house. Quite often, libraries and universities have rooms you can book for telephone and Skype interviews if your home isn’t suitable.
2. Find a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted
Another reason your home may not be the best place is the possibility of interruptions. Make sure there will be no distractions from your family, your pets or any other potential nuisance – it may be a good idea to make people you live with aware of when and where it will be happening. There is nothing worse than trying to conduct a job interview and trying to manage repeated distractions simultaneously.
3. Still dress professionally
This sounds unnecessary, particularly for telephone interviews, but being in professional attire can make you feel more confident and authoritative in your answers as it gets you in a professional mindset. For a Skype interview, make sure you dress as you would for an ordinary interview – there is always a possibility you may have to get up during a job interview, so you should be dressed appropriately from head to toe.
4. Have a glass of water ready nearby
In case you have a tickle in your throat or get dry mouth from nerves, having a glass of water ready nearby can help you avoid any awkward coughing scenarios. Just make sure it’s not somewhere it could easily get knocked over!
5. Don’t rely on a search engine
Many candidates use telephone interviews as an excuse to Google every question they’re asked, but you should be as prepared as you would be for a face-to-face interview. Make sure you do ample preparation, so you won’t be tempted to rely on the internet. The interviewer will still be able to infer your confidence over the phone, so make sure to be organised and composed.
6. Equip yourself with useful documents
You can, however, use the fact you aren’t in a room with them to your advantage. Print out your CV and the job description so that you can refer to them during the interview. Highlight key achievements that are worth mentioning, so you can easily scan and find the information you need.
7. Prepare answers in advance
It may also be useful to make some notes on how you would answer common interview questions, so you can be ready with relevant experience and achievements. You may want to prepare questions to ask at the end of the interview as well. Anyone can panic under the pressure of an interview, so giving yourself a safety blanket can be helpful and reassuring. It will also indicate to the hiring manager that you’re prepared and interested in the role and company.
8. Know who is calling you
You should always find out who is interviewing you beforehand. This way, you can look them up on LinkedIn or the company website and find out who they are and what their position is so you can tailor your answers to them. If you’re using an agency, you can talk to your recruiter about this as they will often know the interviewer personally and can give you better insight.
It may sound strange – but smiling will alter the tone of your voice and make you sound confident and less stressed. It will also help you to come across as more enthusiastic about the role and the interview.
10. Listen carefully
In your home, it can be easy to lose focus and zone out. Make sure you give them your undivided attention, so you don’t miss any important information. Keep a notepad and pen so you can jot down key details during the interview. It also prevents you having to ask for information later that they’ve already given you.
11. Don’t interrupt
Hand-in-hand with listening carefully is not interrupting the interviewer. Conversation is always more difficult without visual cues to guide you, so make sure not to start speaking until the interviewer has finished the question. If you think of something you need to say, write it down and bring it up at a more opportune time.
12. Take your time
As with any interviewer, it is better to take a few seconds to compose your answer than to blurt out something irrelevant or not thought through. While you should avoid lengthy silences, taking a pause to collect your thoughts is advisable. For more difficult or unexpected questions, you can also ask them to repeat themselves to give you a few vital extra seconds to think.
13. Follow up afterwards
At the end of the interview, you should always ask for an email address if you don’t already have one. Shortly after the interview, email them to thank them for their time and tell them you look forward to hearing back from them. If you’re using an agency, follow up with your recruitment consultant to let them know how you felt it went, as they will continue to represent you to the client.