Meeting face-to-face is still the most common way that job interviews are conducted. Still, there are times when companies will resort to doing phone interviews. Or sometimes an interview over Skype.
This is mainly if one of the parties would have to travel to make the interview.
Most job seekers aren’t going to travel at their own expense for an interview whose outcome is uncertain.
Although many companies will pay travel expenses for some candidates and in some circumstances, that is becoming less and less common. Especially now that phone and video conferencing is so widely available.
Even if you’re not applying outside your area, you may be interviewed by an executive who is traveling or by someone at some other company location that may be far away.
If you are asked to do an interview by phone, there are a few simple keys to making it successful:
- Try to paint pictures with your words, especially if the interview is by phone (without video). Be descriptive. Use lots of industry-appropriate terminology to demonstrate your experience.
- Treat it like the real interview that it is. Don’t be tempted to take it less seriously just because the format is different. Find a quiet place where you won’t be distracted or interrupted.
- If you are using a cell phone or laptop, make sure you have a strong signal and that your battery has a full charge. Plug in if you can. Don’t take chances. You have no idea how long the interview may last.
- Even with a good signal or a strong connection, speak slowly and clearly. Especially if using video as there may be some lag.
- Have notes and keep them in front of you but try to use them only for reference. Speak naturally and your sincerity and enthusiasm will be more apparent.
- Dress as though you were meeting in a regular, face-to-face interview. Even if you’re not going to be on video, dressing up will make you feel more professional and more prepared.
- For the same reason, sit up straight and smile often.
- If you will be interviewing via Skype or some other video conference platform, find a place with good light. Move extra lamps into the area if necessary. Have more light than you think is normal since cameras need more light than the human eye.
- Sit in front of a simple background. Aim for it to be as plain as possible. Some patterns may “jump” on camera. You won’t see it but the interviewer will and it may affect his perception of you.
- Test your camera and microphone beforehand. You don’t want technical glitches to make them question your competence.
- If there are technical problems, weather them with humor and resilience. This will show the interviewer how you deal with stress and daily crises.
- Before answering a question, make sure you’ve heard and fully understood the entire question. Ask for clarifications if needed.
- Try to avoid talking at the same time as the person interviewing you. Most video conference platforms and even some regular voice telephone connections don’t handle this well.
- At the end, thank the interviewer for meeting with you. Show him that you appreciate the time and effort spent.
This only scratches the surface but it should be enough to get you through a phone or Skype interview successfully.