It’s often nerve-wracking sitting for a job interview, especially when you’re seated opposite a panel of interviewers. But what if the interview you are about to attend is a telephone or Skype interview? Is it less stressful? Is it easier? Can you get away with more?
Technology has brought many, many positives to our interpersonal communications. But there are just as many pitfalls to consider that you may not even be aware of. That’s why we’ve prepared this little guide, to make sure you’re not caught off guard when you’re talking over Skype or the phone.
Don’t fall into a false sense of security
It is easy to feel that you have certain advantages not being in the same room as your interviewers, but it isn’t always the case. Do your due diligence, and prepare your space.
Make sure the room you are set up in to take the interview is clean and tidy, and that you remove any old coffee cups, scraps of paper etc. If you’re sitting down to a phone call, try not to have anything around you that will distract you from the task at hand
Always wear corporate attire for a Skype interview
Just because you’re sitting behind a screen and all that can be seen is your top half, doesn’t mean you can forget the bottom half! Anything can happen on a Skype call; the connection can disappear, the camera can slip, the sound can cut out.
Now, most of these are technical problems which are out of your hands… but one thing you can control is being fully clothed.
Make sure you are in a quiet room (or house)
The interviewers need to hear your answers in order to assess you. They also want to feel that they are being heard. For a better experience ensure that for the hour or so of the interview, you will have peace and quiet.
For instance, if you live with other people, confirm that they’ll be out of the house. Or if you are at work in a meeting room, makes sure that the room is booked for you and you alone!
Stay away from the CV!
You should be familiar with your CV from cover to close. After all it is a true account of your career. You don’t want to be seen trying to remember each role and what tasks you performed. Commit your CV to memory so you can talk about your experiences in depth, yet in an off the cuff way.
Never have a CV with you on the phone (you can hear pages turn!), and remember there can be glitches with iPads, potentially leaving you swiping manically mid-sentence looking for your place during while your PDF reader app recovers from a crash. Obviously, this applies to a Skype call too.
Slow it down!
It is natural for people to speak faster than usual when nervous, and an interview is no exception. Make sure during a telephone interview you take care to slow down your speaking. You don’t want the interviewers to miss any important information – you don’t have the luxury of conveying messages with body language!
Have a smile on your face!
As mentioned above, you can’t use all the nuances of body language to add more to your interview, so make sure you have a smile on your face in a telephone or Skype interview. That’s right, smile even on the phone. You will sound more naturally energetic and vibrant. And after all, this is what employers want – friendly, motivated go-getters!
Whether you are in a face-to-face interview or otherwise, one of the most important things you can do is listen to the interviewers. What are they asking you? What are their responses to your questions and answers?
And remember: while you should answer the questions in details, you should also know when to stop. If you’re only concerned with what you have to say and are simply waiting for your next moment to speak, you may end up talking over the interviewer… or going completely off topic!
It’s much easier to pick up on these signals in a face-to-face interview, so do some reading around the notion of active listening and pay attention. A good way to gage your answer is ask – “did that answer your question, would you like further details?”
A changing world
As you can see, there’s a bit to consider in order successfully close any interview that is not face-to-face. The simple fact is however that in this mobile world, they are happening more and more – especially with organisations operating across multiple geographies – so knowing how to ace such interviews is becoming mandatory. That why it’s more important that ever to start preparing and… put some pants on!