The Finito Guide to Interviews: Phone / Video Conference Interviews

Take It Seriously

A phone or video conference interview is just as important as a face-to-face interview – so treat it like one – which means put aside enough time to prepare properly in advance of the big day, conducting all the usual research you would do in advance of a traditional interview, and make sure you’re fully-rested. If you’re scheduled for an early morning interview, ensure you have enough time to wake up properly – get your vocal chords warmed up, brush your teeth, make a cup of tea. Change out of your pyjamas. This is obviously important on a video call, but even if the interviewer can’t see you, it’s all about getting into the right headspace. It doesn’t hurt to put on a formal outfit – even just for an hour. But not getting dressed could really hurt your chances of success.

Go for a Test Drive

Technical difficulties happen to the best of us, but with so many companies putting a real emphasis on tech savvy at the moment, you want your video call to go off without a hitch. Test your setup in advance, checking your internet connection and the hardware you’ll be using. Take some time to double-check you know how to use the software program you’ll be using for the call, whether it’s Zoom, Skype, Hangouts or one of the many other options. 

Create a Space

Try to cut down distractions as much as possible – find a quiet spot and have all of your preparation materials – notes, a pen – to hand, so you don’t have to scramble to find them. If there’s a TV in the room, turn it off – even if it’s on mute, it can be distracting. If, like most of us, you’re sharing your space with somebody else, make sure they know you’re going to be busy, and you need some privacy. 

Smile

This is crucial for video calls – but equally important for a telephone conversation. In customer service, it’s standard advice to ‘smile and dial’ – because smiling affects the way you speak, to the extent that listeners can actually identify what sort of smile you’re giving, based entirely on sound alone. So, put your shoulders back, take a deep breath, and smile when you start the interview. It will immediately lift your tone and make you sound more friendly and engaging.

Move It or Lose It

If you’re on a video call, sit with both feet firmly on the ground – it will make you feel more secure and confident, but also helps you go back and forth easily between the limbic reptilian brain and the neocortex brain, which are responsible for creative and rational thinking. However, if you’re on the phone, you might find it preferable to get up and move around while you’re talking. Similar to planting your feet, pacing around can help sync the left and right sides of your brain, which can sharpen your answers.