Not sure how to prepare for a phone or video interview? Or just looking for some simple Skype interview or Zoom interview tips? Either way, you’ve come to the right place. Especially if you’re going into a so-called phone or video “screen” interview — meaning an early round interview, one in which the employer is looking to vet a preliminary talent pool — knowing what to expect in a phone or video interview is the only way to feel prepared.

tips for your next phone or video interview

Your next phone or video interview should be something you’re looking forward to — not a source of stress or anxiety. Read on for three essential tips on how to prepare for a phone or video interview, which should help you put your best foot forward.

1. prep the setting

  • Charge your phone/computer so that you do not have to make the job-killing excuse of having to do so during an interview. All else being equal, you are forcing the interviewer to go with a candidate who is more prepared.
  • Move to a quiet location. Make sure you eliminate any loud distractions or noise during the interview. Having to repeat yourself is uncomfortable for a listener and can become incredibly frustrating over the phone. Your knowledge of industry notwithstanding, communication is essential to creating a rapport with your interviewer.
  • Ensure a strong connection. You want to avoid a situation when your electronics drop the call. Find a location with a strong and reliable connection, then test the connection beforehand by calling one of your friends a day before the interview and an hour before.
  • For digital interviews, think about what your setting might communicate about your candidacy. It’s always best to sit a few feet from a wall — and if you are able, to arrange one or two tasteful decor items behind you (say, a painting or a plant). Also, make sure to put any light source in front of you, not behind you, because sitting in front of a window or a lamp will likely black out your face.
  • Worried about what questions you might be asked? We’ve got some resources, including 10 great answers to the most common interview questions, to help you out.

2. prepare your notes

  • Have notes ready. If you’re interviewing over the phone, there is nothing wrong with having a few notes at your fingertips. However, whether you’re on the phone or interviewing over video, do not shuffle through your notes, creating noise and missing beats in the conversation.
  • Study your notes beforehand. Even though you may not be visible to your interviewer, your voice translates your look. Referring to notes does not mean relying on them. If you rely on your notes, you can be sure that your voice will sound less confident and not prepared. The interviewer will notice these verbal queues, good or bad.
  • Focus on your connection with the company. Having a few facts in your notes is a great thing, but overdoing it by too much fact-citing may turn off the interviewer and distract from the interview. Any and all information that you utilize should be relevant to the conversation.

3. speak confidently to create rapport

  • Remember, you are not trying to lay forth your entire resume in this interview. There is a reason that companies do not end the process on the phone/video interview, and instead use it as a first stepping stone. Focus on gaining rapport with the interviewer. You gain a rapport by solidifying your knowledge of the company, the job and the interviewer early on. Once the interviewer trusts that you know your stuff, you can actually begin to create a relationship.
  • Every question is a test. Do not gloss over the easy stuff at the beginning. "Did I catch you at an inconvenient time?" is code for "Are you prepared for me at the time that we set?" Look to build trust and rapport with every answer that you provide.
  • Smile. Your smile projects confidence over the phone. People can hear a smile. If you are on video, your smile will communicate your willingness to participate in the interview and your excitement for the opportunity.

Now that you know what to expect in your phone or video interview, you should be all set to rise to the occasion — and land your next great opportunity.