Phone and video interviews have  become a common first step of the interview process and should be treated just like a face-to-face interview.

Here are a few tips to help you get it right.

Have hard copies of the following:

  • Job Description / Job Advert
  • Profile of the company - basic description, geographical scope, number of employees, growth history. This will let the interviewer know that you have prepared for the job interview and you are keen
  • Copy of your CV
  • A bulleted list of items you want to cover in the interview

Disable extra phone/video program features. Whether it's another video platform, emails or other websites, turn them off. These extra noises can be a distraction and cause embarrassment, sabotaging your chances to move the interview forward.

Make the call from home. It’s important to make the call in an environment with minimal noise and where you can speak at a reasonable volume. The more controlled the space you’re calling from, the less room for distractions or other unanticipated events. Be aware of any pets or young children and ensure everyone knows that they should not disturb you during the call.

Give yourself time. Many job seekers make the mistake of trying to fit a phone or video interview during their lunch hour at work. But what if the interviewer is running late or the call takes longer than expected? Make the call when you have a minimum of 45 minutes free. Most phone interviews don’t last that long, but if you end up hitting it off with the interviewer the last thing you want to do is have to cut them off. 

Answer the call with your name. Take charge by answering the phone or video call by stating your name. This lets the person on the other line know exactly who you are and saves them the trouble of asking you. It also helps to know exactly how you will greet the caller and start the conversation.

Smile. Even if you are on a phone call, smile, when you speak it brings energy and excitement to your voice. When speaking on the phone your voice loses half of its energy during the transmission. Make sure your enthusiasm gets across by overcompensating. Since no one can see you, pretend you are in a soap opera and overact.

Wear a suit, a full suit. If you wouldn't wear to an in-person interview, it's probably not a okay for a phone or video one. Even if your interviewer is dressed more casually, it is always better to be overdressed. 

Watch your body language. Everyone has different call body language habits. Some people pace, tilt their heads down and others, sit still as a statue. Find the middle ground and pay attention to your body language. Hold your body upright and don’t be afraid to use your hands to be expressive. If you are the type of person who is on the move when on the phone, give yourself an enclosed area that is large enough to avoid wandering from room to room.

Mute. It’s always a good idea to have a glass of water during an interview, if you need to take a sip, use the mute or hold button.

Say thanks, fast. Unlike a face-to-face interview, there is no opportunity to build rapport on your way out. Send a thank-you note an hour or two after the interview. This helps you close the loop and reiterate your interest in wanting to meet the interviewer in person. The goal of a phone interview is to get a face-to-face meeting. If you can’t send the email right away make several notes about the call while they’re fresh in your mind. These will come in handy when you send the thank you note later that day.

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