Before you meet face to face with the decision makers in your interview process (or maybe after), you will have to go through the phones first. Phone interviews, and more recently, video interviews, are the most common type of initial interview. This is especially true for jobs that are in high demand. Generally speaking, busy hiring managers choose to narrow down the number of candidates via the phone before investing hours and hours conducting face-to-face interviews.
Your job on the phone or video interview is to get yourself in front of the company's decision makers. Here are the tips you need to know.
- 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 video interviews, think about the setting you create behind you. It’s best to sit a few feet from a wall, and if you are able, use one or two tasteful decor items behind you (think a painting or a plant). Also, make sure to put any light source in front of you, not behind you. Sitting in front of a window or a lamp will likely black out your face.
- Have notes ready. If you are interviewing over the phone, there is nothing wrong with having a few notes at your fingertips. However, whether you are 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.
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.
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