15 Feb How to Prepare for a Skype or Phone Interview
Gone are the days when the only option for a job interview was a face-to-face meeting in the employer’s boardroom. Skype and phone interviews are now very much common-place when hiring graduates – but this doesn’t mean you have to be any less prepared or presentable if your next job interview is by Skype or phone.
Here are 5 tips on how to prepare for a Skype and/or phone interview:
- Before anything else you should be ready and set up ahead of time, making sure that you have downloaded and tested your Skype app well before your interview time is scheduled. If you are setting up Skype for the first time do take care to choose a professional user name, preferably your own name. It may seem boring to you but anything that is difficult to read or a teenage nickname can create a bad first impression.
- Be aware of your background and location. If you’re at home, set up a neutral background with good lighting. Avoid public places like coffee shops if you can. If you don’t have internet and have to use a public place, wear headphones and let your interviewer know at the start of the call. In fact it is a good idea to use a headset with a talk-piece regardless of where you are as the computer will pick up background noise, even at home. By using a headset your interviewer will be able to hear you more clearly and not be distracted by background noise.
- Dress properly for the interview. Just because you’re not leaving the house, it doesn’t mean that you can slouch in an old tee-shirt or a college hoodie. Wear what is considered appropriate for the job you are applying for. If a suit is called for, then wear one. For less formal positions a smart/casual shirt and trousers may be suitable attire. Dressing correctly will not only give a good impression, it will help you prepare mentally for the interview.
- Practising before the interview, perhaps with a friend of family member, will pay dividends. Act as you would in a live face-to-face interview. It is important to maintain eye contact; as awkward as it may feel, remember to look at the webcam, not the screen, and don’t let your eyes drift to the view of yourself in the bottom corner. Try elevating your laptop or iPad by placing it on top of a pile of books to set the camera at eye level. It will feel more natural, like speaking to the person across the desk, rather than looking down at the screen – it’s a more flattering angle too! Be aware of your body language; it can be easy to forget that the interviewer can see your every action. Pulling a face at a tricky question or twiddling with your hair while listening can be off-putting to them!
- Be prepared if something goes wrong. Technology can often have a way of letting us down when we need it most. Things can go wrong, your interviewer knows this. The important thing here is how you deal with it. Remain calm, don’t be afraid to ask to hang up and call again if the connection isn’t good. Have phone numbers to hand so that you can call from your phone if your internet or computer fails you completely. Staying calm will show you can handle a stressful situation, a quality many employers look for in interviewees.
Finally, like any interview, know your stuff. Research the company and the interviewers. Have questions ready to ask. You can even have some brief notes close by, but out of sight, to help you out.
Why not get involved with Gradvert’s #GradsHour chat on Twitter? Designed to bring employers and graduated closer together, #GradsHour Twitter Chat is a great way to stand out from the crowd. Find out how it works here.
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