Telephone and Video Interview Tips

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Employers are successfully using telephone or video interviews as a quick and effective way to search for suitable candidates. 

The possibility of being invited to a telephone or video interview is on the rise especially during the global pandemic. This will either fill you with relief that you won’t have to leave your house, or you may be fearful of the unknown. Below we have shared some specific telephone and video interview Do's and Don'ts to help you get started.

Do

1. Your research

Start by finding out as much as you can about the company, just like you would at face-to-face interviews. The best place to start is the employer’s website and social media channels, as well as looking out for any mentions of plans of growth in expansion in news articles. 

2. Have a CV to hand

It's highly likely the recruiter will have a copy of your CV, the interviewer may open the interview by asking questions about your skills and experience. So it’s handy to have your CV to hand. 

3. Take notes

It’s a great idea to have pen and paper to listen and take on board all elements of the questions, and make note of anything that seems of particular importance, just in case they refer back to it later. 

4. Prepare any questions you want to ask

These questions could be about the role, the company or even progression. However, don’t rely on them too much. Looking at notes and questions are acceptable during a video call, as long as you do it subtly, remain looking at the camera and don’t use them as a script. 

5. Look appropriate

Ultimately, a video interview is supposed to follow the same rules and format as a face-to-face interview, so it’s a good idea to wear the same outfit you’d wear if you were going to the workplace. Even on the telephone, being professionally dressed will also put you in the right mind-set.

Remember body language is still a thing. Although you’re not in the same room as your interviewer physically, body language remains important. Sit up straight, look attentive and enthusiastic.

6.  Smile

You don’t want to show the interviewer you’re bored or lacking interest. Try to sound positive, and avoid yawning or mumbling your responses. Don’t cover your mouth, remain conscious of your hand-to-face gestures. Even on telephone interviews, although they can’t see you, always try and remain smiling throughout the conversation, it helps ensure you sound upbeat. 

7 . Prepare your surroundings

Make sure the area looks presentable, and you choose a quiet space for the interview. It’s always good to have a clear, uncluttered space to help you to concentrate, and to remind you that you’re in a formal situation.

Remove any potential embarrassing or offensive belongings lying around. Your interviewer will be able to see more than you think, and the smallest distraction in the background that you thought wasn’t in view could give too much away about your personal life, or reflect badly on you.

8. Practice

Testing your equipment, such as sound quality, checking the best angle of your webcam, the best height of your chair and the speed of your connection, is important. Technology isn’t always trustworthy, so having a trial run allows you to practice before any potential malfunctions. You wouldn’t want a quiet, blurry and constantly freezing interview. 

9. Consider eye contact

Eye contact is important in any kind of interview, but video calls make it a lot harder to follow, because, where do you look? Look at the camera, not the screen. If you look directly at the interviewer on the screen, it might feel like you’re giving good eye contact, but all they’ll see is you looking down. Focus on looking directly at the camera instead, at least for the most-part of the interview.

Don’t

1. Treat it differently

 Telephone and Video interviews are still professional, so don’t treat it differently from a face-to-face interview. Ensure you follow all the methods above, to ensure you are still providing the best version of yourself and making a good impression. 

2. Get distracted

 You need to remain focused at all times. Avoid any potential interruptions, by ensuring those you live with are aware you are on an important call. Always turn off the TV, music, and close other programmes, to discourage any background noise.  

Awkward interruptions that interfere with the interview are best avoided as much as possible. You want an interviewer to see you’re serious about their role, so show you’re prepared.

3. Eat or drink

Ensure you aren't eating or drinking during your interview. You might think you’re being quiet when snacking or chewing gum, but the chances are that the microphone is picking up every sound. To avoid any embarrassing belly rumbles, it’s important to ensure you’re not hungry. A mumbled answer because you have your mouthful, is extremely unprofessional. 

4. Interrupt

The easiest way to avoid interrupting is to let the interviewer finish their sentence, so always allow for a gap before you begin answering. Not only will it give you time to think of a logical response, it will also mean you don’t speak over the person you’re trying to impress and irritate them. However, ensure you don’t leave the gap too long, as it could become an awkward silence.

We wish you the best of luck with any upcoming interviews over the telephone or on a video call. If you are feeling extremely nervous, be sure to get in contact with our Careers Team via our Careers Hub and they will be on hand to offer support.