The ease of technology and virtual offices have made the phone and video interview a necessary step in the overall interview process.Some firms even go as far as requesting video resumes!
For many of us, interviews can be stressful—and undergoing the first interview by phone or video doesn’t make it any easier. In fact, sometimes it can be more challenging due to technology mishaps or the inability to see the other person’s reaction well.
Whether your first interview with a prospective client or employer is in person, over the phone or via Zoom, the same rules apply: do your best so you can advance to the next stage.
With over 20 years of helping candidates prepare for these types of interviews, we wanted to share some best practices with you:
The Phone Interview
- Confirm time zones in case the interviewer is in another state or country.
- Research the company, follow on social, and look up your interviewer’s Linkedin profile. You may find some things in common!
- If you are taking a call at a specific time, ensure that you are in a quiet place.
- Try not to walk and talk at the same time—you may sound winded, or lose reception going from location to the next.
- Make sure your device is fully charged or plugged in during the interview
- You’ll be using your voice and tone to communicate— be sure to speak clearly and succinctly.
- Be friendly and smile while talking. It lifts and warms your voice, which helps you to connect with the interviewer.
- Be prepared to ask engaging questions about the company culture and the team.
- Have your resume close by so you can refer to it.
- Listen well and avoid talking over the interviewer.
- Don’t discuss salary or benefits at this stage.
- This is your first opportunity to connect and shine.
The Video Interview
In addition to the above steps, the following best practices also apply to video interviews:
- No matter the technology used (Facetime, Zoom, Skype, Google Hangout or others) adhere to this mantra: Test, and Test again. Test your device’s audio and video connections before the actual interview. Don’t wait until the interview day to download!
- Practice ahead of time on screen and record yourself if possible. Pay attention to your posture, voice, lighting and background and adjust as needed.
- Position the camera at eye-level and make eye contact with it! If you only watch the screen itself you’ll look like you’re not making eye contact with the interviewer.
- Dress and groom as if you were interviewing in person. Dress for the job you want!
- Check the lighting and move your computer as needed so that your face is illuminated without any shadows.
- Make sure your head and shoulders appear in the video frame – don’t get too close or move too far away from the camera.
- Pay attention to your surroundings—especially the background. Select a clean, neutral and distraction-free backdrop like a wall, screen or a panel of curtains.
- If you live with a roommate let them know you’ll be on camera to avoid an unexpected noise or interruptions.
- If you are a creative, have your portfolio loaded on your desktop in case screen sharing is needed. Make sure you have a clean, uncluttered desktop and if needed, change your desktop wallpaper to something creative but professional.
The techniques will become more natural over time. You’ll know that you’ve mastered the art of the phone or video interview when you’re invited for the in-person interview!
If you need help in your next job search, please connect with the a.team. We are celebrating 20+ years in staffing and recruitment of creative professionals. Over the years, we’ve learned a thing or two that we’d like to share with you. We hope you enjoy the 440th issue of our weekly a.blog.